What's a Town Pastor?
A Town Pastor, working as part of a team and in collaboration with the police and local council, seeks to be a positive influence principally on the streets of the town centre and other night life areas. Town Pastors would typically be out at the weekends in these places from around 10pm until the early hours.
The role of a Town Pastor is not primarily evangelistic but rather about listening, caring and helping young people. It is about showing concern and offering assistance where appropriate, in a non-judgmental and unconditional way.
Town Pastors seek to be a positive presence on the streets, available to offer support to vulnerable people, de-escalate potential trouble and generally assist the police and other agencies.
For reasons of personal safety and to make the most effective use of the Town Pastors, they are monitored by CCTV in the town centre area and are in radio contact with the CCTV office.
Town Pastors have been on the streets of Bury St Edmunds since May 2008.
Expectations and Commitment
A team of four Town Pastors will be out on the streets at any one time. The team will then divide and patrol in pairs. The desire and ability to work as part of a team is therefore essential.
To be a Town Pastor you must be over 18 and a Christian who is part of a local church. Town Pastors are out in the town centre on most Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm to around 4am. On average, each Town Pastor is expected to be out one night a month.
Training is an essential part of becoming a Town Pastor. Effective training also ensures we can deliver a quality service in a consistent way. Each Town Pastor must have completed the basic training programme before joining a team and going out. Additional training will also be delivered and it is important that Town Pastors commit to participating in their ongoing training and development.
The basic training package will cover:
- The values, role and responsibilities of a Town Pastor.
- Alcohol and drug awareness training.
- Conflict management and personal safety.
- Basic First Aid.