Street pastors, who provide much-needed late-night help to people in local town centres, have had an impressive boost to their Fife ranks.
Volunteers from Fife’s four street pastor groups gathered with the local congregation at Leven Baptist Church to see the commissioning of 11 new street pastors for the Kingdom.
We’re not trying to lecture; we are here to help.Andrew Hutchison
In Levenmouth and elsewhere, uniformed street pastors have become a familiar part of the after-dark weeknd landscape since 2010, administering caring, non-discriminatory assistance and Christian understanding wherever and whenever required.
They offer blankets, flip-flops, water and basic first aid, mainly to people who’ve perhaps over-indulged in late-night revelry, or wait with vulnerable people while they find taxis or contact a friend.
They say it’s not about preaching to people – it’s about offering assistance, which was the essence of Christianity, and hopefully improving safety in the town.
The building was full for the service, led by Levenmouth Street Pastors co-ordinator, Elizabeth Hutchison, after the introduction by Pastor and Baptist minister Mark Pexton.
The young people’s talk was given by Wilma Aitchison, of CLOCK Street pastors in west Fife, followed by an address by Alison Nelson, who has been appointed to organise the group’s prayer programme.
Andrew Hutchison gave a Bible reading, while Sandy Scrimgeour, the Scottish representative of Ascension Trust (the umbrella body for all street pastor groups) presented a film which showed the work of the group on a typical night patrol in a town centre and the way in which they helped those who were vulnerable, largely because of the influence of alcohol or drugs.
This was followed by the main speaker of the day, Eustace Constance, deputy head of Ascension Trust, who outlined the spiritual work done by street pastors since their London Launch in 2003 and stressed the importance of this part of the service.
Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, recalled when Levenmouth Street Pastors went out on patrol for the first time and how she joined them on that groundbreaking mission.
Councillor Charles Haffey, of Leven, added they helped the emergency services too by taking on some of the routine work on the streets, so that the emergency personnel could concentrate on the more serious incidents that occurred.
After taking the oaths of service required by the organisation, the newcomers were then declared to be commissioned street pastors.
Andrew Hutchison explained: “Some people say ‘are you here to tell us what not to do?’ and we say ‘no, you do what you think you should be doing’.”
He added: “We’re not trying to lecture, we are here to help.”