“Getting someone into a taxi, before they end up in an ambulance”
Manchester Street Pastors are the presence of the Christian Church in the night-time economy of Manchester, serving in multiple locations across Greater Manchester as well as the City Centre.
In their blue uniforms, Street Pastors provide practical help to support people out on the streets at night, and someone to talk to. A night’s duty many involve giving a pair of flip-flops to a woman with a broken heel, giving directions to the train station to a lost visitor, or hearing the story of a broken heart.
Paul Keeble came to Manchester from Northern Ireland in 1978, and he was involved in setting up Street Pastors in Manchester in 2004, following the lead of the first Street Pastors founded in London by Les Isaac.
Paul said that people love to see the Street Pastors on the streets. He told Faith in Manchester, “People appreciate the fact that we’re there. Every time I go out with the team somebody… will say “thank you for being here”.” Paul, a part of Brunswick Parish Church, says the Street Pastors are motivated by their love of God and wanting to share it in practical ways, and also “to try to put across an image of Christianity and of Jesus which isn’t the one people will pick up from the media”.
Paul Keeble says Street Pastors is a simple act of “being there to care” and meeting the needs of the whole person, responding to people as Jesus did.
Street Pastors is now active in Manchester City Centre, North Manchester, South Manchester, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stalybridge and Stockport, Volunteers are welcome in any of these teams or to start new teams in other areas.