Over ten years ago my then next door neighbour invited me to be an observer for Street Pastors. I thought this is really not for me, but it will be good to find out a bit more about Street Pastors.
I found my first evening with a team really interesting and rewarding. I was amazed at the good reception we got from the public on the Streets, but still did not feel confident the role would be suitable for me. I joined a team as an observer for a second time and at the end of the evening, asked the team if they thought it worth me training? They encouraged me to go for it.
I really enjoyed the training, but it was very different from my day job working as a microbiologist.
One evening in the first year or so of being a Street Pastor a man came out of the shadows and told the team how Street Pastors had saved his life a while ago. He went on to describe a situation that left him injured, and Street Pastors were there to help him.
By then I had already been part of teams that had helped people in a variety of scenarios, some quite serious. I thought, some of these situations are incredible and it would be great to write about them. I had had many scientific papers published, and thought some of my scientific writing experience would be helpful to writing a book.
Ascension Trust (the umbrella organisation of Street Pastors) kindly gave me permission to start writing, but after a few chapters I realized the book would benefit from input from another writer also. About this time a friend of mine, Sue Shaw, was heading off to help with Street Pastors Antigua. I thought a writing partnership, sharing our different perspectives and experiences, including Sue’s experiences of Antigua, would enrich the book.
Sue came on board and we each took on different chapters, both writing about half of the book each. Shortly after this time I was attending a meal with a talk at the end. At the end of the talk the speaker Manoj Raithatha (an advisor to Instant Apostle, the publishers of this book) asked anyone to speak to him if they wanted to write a book.
A few weeks later we sent Instant Apostle a few chapters, and they offered us a contract. I then did a short creative writing course to help move away a bit from a more formal scientific style.
If you buy Stories from the Streets we hope you find it interesting. If you enjoy reading it, please do give it a good review and tell others about it. Many thanks
Originally from Manchester, I decamped to Leeds to train as a teacher. After several years school teaching in a new town in north west England I went on to spend most of my working life in the charity sector working for local, national and international agencies based in the greater London area.
In between charity sector jobs I had a spell teaching English as a Foreign Language to young people on the island of Crete and working as a supply teacher in a number of London borough schools.
My longest commitment was working for Victim Support in the community and in a Magistrates court where I managed a diverse group of volunteers. In 2014 I trained as a Street Pastor and took on the role of Assistant Coordinator for my local scheme. In due course I became Acting Coordinator working with a vibrant and lively team of ninety or so volunteers.
As I approached retirement age I jumped at the unexpected opportunity to go overseas with Street Pastors. Much to my amazement the voluntary post was on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean.
Before I left Luke invited me to contribute to a book about Street Pastors. Back in 1990’s I had had several children’s books published. I also wrote four life stories of famous Christians, Eric Liddell, Jim Elliot, Joni Eareckson Tada and Corrie Ten Boom as well as ‘Cliff Richard’s Book of Favourite Bible Stories,’ (links will be active if books are still available, as they were in August 2020 - follow Sue on Amazon). So naturally I was delighted to have another writing assignment. I was also very excited to think of all the memorable stories from Antigua and elsewhere that could be shared more widely.
To misquote an old advertising slogan God has guided Street Pastors to ‘reach parts that others cannot reach.’ Our book contains many true stories of vulnerable people being cared for and valued in a non-judgemental and compassionate way. I hope you will be inspired and heartened to read how God is at work on the streets through the Street Pastor movement.