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Cheltenham street pastors to double patrols

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: September 02, 2013

Comments (39)

GUARDIAN angels who have helped to protect about 12,000 party-goers and revellers on the streets of Cheltenham are beefing up their ranks.

The Cheltenham Street Pastors, who have been mopping up after weekend drinkers since December 2009, want to put a second Saturday team in place to patrol the streets.

They have handed out flipflops to the barefooted, water to the dehydrated and cleared up discarded drinks bottles to prevent them from being used as weapons.

And a second team on a Saturday night would enable the pastors to get to trouble spots quicker.

Chairman Nigel Bennett, said: “We aim to provide two teams on a Saturday night in 2014, which gives a much faster response time when someone is in need.

“Our role is to help victims of crime or perhaps those who have got separated from friends and feeling vulnerable.

“Cheltenham is the third largest night-time economy in the South West.

“It is about listening, caring and helping people in need.

“We have an area that covers from Montpellier right down to the new cinema complex and the parks.

“If we get called somewhere by CCTV operators, by the time we get there, the person has often disappeared.”

Street Pastors, an initiative of the Ascension Trust, has about 50 trained church members on the streets over the weekend.

Mr Bennett, from Bishop’s Cleeve, was on patrol on Saturday with Mayor of Cheltenham, Wendy Flynn.

The team came across a couple having sex in a doorway and cleared up discarded drinks bottles.

He said: “The people we saw were in pretty good humour. Cheltenham is a fairly safe town, which gets people coming in from outside.

“We get people being ill, being completely drunk.

“It becomes a question of trying to be there and listen to them.

“For the girls, if they are on high heels, they are often walking barefoot by the time we see them. We give them flip flops.

“If it’s cold weather, we have thermal blankets.”

Mr Bennett said his teams have managed to prevent drinkers from getting into strange vehicles, arranged for parents to collect their drunken children or guided revellers to taxis.

“We’ve helped people who have been unable to help themselves,” he said.

Councillor Flynn said: “One of Cheltenham Borough Council's primary objectives is to strengthen our communities and I take that objective and have community as my theme for the mayoral year.

“There is no doubt Cheltenham Street Pastors have brought a dimension to the night time economy and it’s uniquely positive and delivers excellent results.”

To be a street pastor, you must be over 18 and attend a local church. For more information, contact cheltenham@streetpastors.org.uk

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39 comments

  • whatagreatday  |  December 01 2013, 5:01PM

    "The street pastors aren't there to debate theology...." - Who ever said street pastors are there to debate theology? - Isn't this ANOTHER example of christians IMAGINING things all the time and then relate them to reality? TIMONLINE, your credibility is severely damaged. "I'm sorry if you're unable or unwilling to engage with the arguments I put forward." - They're not arguments, they're fantasies. PS - When are you coming back to defending the bible when it says it is ok for people to OWN other people as you said you would?

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  • whatagreatday  |  November 24 2013, 9:49PM

    1. "I still fail to understand why you consider God to be vindictive when I've already told you that his only desire is to redeem and save us from that eternal torture." - He can choose whether or not if people are eternally tortured. He is effectively saying "Do as you're told or I will torture you forever". Am I correct? 2. "By what means do you claim that hell was created by God in order to send mankind?" - Does it not state in your bible that god created everything. This includes hell. You should understand your bible a bit better, then you can put up a reasonable debate, but at the moment, you are making it too easy. 3. "God doesn't send people there (hell), they end up there by default because of their sin." - How do you know this? 4. "You continue to claim lack of evidence despite the first hand witnesses cited int he Bible." - As we discussed (and agreed) earlier, very little in the bible is fact. This brings into question whether other sources are reliable or not. 5. "I'm sorry that you're unable to unwilling to even consider my arguments - you are clearly as brainwashed as you claim I am, determined not even to consider the possibility of God." - Incorrect (again). I will consider your side of the argument when you can bring something feasible to the table with evidence. You make claims which you cannot substantiate and when evidence is asked for, this is usually ignored. What thinking person would consider fact when another is making extraordinary claims but refusing or unable to provide clear evidence. The 'dancing' around of questions is quite funny as I have only experienced this from christians and politicians when they are on the back foot. As for your claim of me being brainwashed: I'm asking for proof for an extraordinary claim(s). As no proof is forthcoming, what thinking person would be taken in by this fantasy? 6. "I'm sorry if you're unable or unwilling to engage with the arguments I put forward." - What??? All on this page can see it is you who is unable or unwilling to engage. There are loads of questions you have skipped and only attempted to respond on the ones you felt you were capable of doing (yet again, failing). I'm sorry, but the word delusion comes to mind. I have to sign off now but I will try to get on next week although I have an incredibly busy week again.

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  November 24 2013, 8:44PM

    I'm sorry if you're unable or unwilling to engage with the arguments I put forward. The street pastors aren't there to debate theology, they're there to help people but I've been challenged to defend particular points and have therefore done so.

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  November 24 2013, 8:41PM

    whatagreatday - I still fail to understand why you consider God to be vindictive when I've already told you that his only desire is to redeem and save us from that eternal torture. By what means do you claim that hell was created by God in order to send mankind? God doesn't send people there, they end up there by default because of their sin. You continue to claim lack of evidence despite the first hand witnesses cited int he Bible. The cancer analogy served the purpose for which I was using it. I'm sorry that you're unable to unwilling to even consider my arguments - you are clearly as brainwashed as you claim I am, determined not even to consider the possibility of God.

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  • Jewbacca  |  November 24 2013, 8:28PM

    Street Pastors are ace. I don't believe in any god at all because they're all rubbish, but street pastors do a better job than Tim, who as far as I can tell just babbles like a bellend on internet forums.

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  November 24 2013, 8:17PM

    Elijay - what facts would you like about the miraculous cures? You claim not to sin but according to whose standard? The Bible itself says 'If we claim to have no sin then we are deceiving ourselves'. Why do you also claim not to a very nice one when he and he alone offers a way of salvation - he's not the one condemning but rather the one who's offering salvation.

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  • EllJay1  |  November 24 2013, 6:00PM

    Religions are man-made and to a great extent were invented to try to explain natural occurrences because "man" couldn't explain them. Also, your initial religion depends on where you were born and your own parents religion. Plenty of religious choice out there - so which god is real. Since most people believe that theirs is the only true god the answer in my mind has to be "none of them". And I still believe in doing good rather than evil, because one is right and the other is wrong - something to do with my upbringing and schooling I imagine. My parents brought me up pretty well and Westwoods was a very good school.

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  • whatagreatday  |  November 24 2013, 2:42PM

    Agreed with Elljay. I/we asked for facts (your BEST ones as it happens), but you still dance around answering a simple straightforward question. 1. "What is vindictive or immoral about God wanting to restore someone and offer them eternal life?" - And the alternative is eternal torture? And you ask what is vindictive or immoral about God? 2. "Hell isn't something created by God to punish people for the sake of it, its the natural consequence of sin." - Hell, in accordance to christians WAS created by god, albeit not originally to punish people. Hell, if I recall was only introduced when jesus meek and mild appeared on the scene. So when did god decide he should send people there? Does god believe it is FAIR AND JUST to send people for eternal torture for ONE minor indiscretion because of the lack of evidence? God has a choice. He can CHOOSE to send people there for minor indiscretions or not, so why does he not bother with good people who do not believe? 3. "You can only be cured of cancer if you accept the treatment - in the same way you can only be cured of sin if you accept the salvation that God offers." - Surgery has evidential proof of helping curing cancer, your belief not. Anyway, TIMONLINE, you have displayed for all to see on this site that you have unsuccessfully attempted to defend a malicious, sadistic, non-forgiving, cruel, unfair, illogical, immoral and inhumane entity. In my humble view, this is a sign of having been brainwashed.

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  • EllJay1  |  November 24 2013, 2:15PM

    TIMONLINE - please refer us to the facts about these "miraculous" cures. And, by the way, I do not sin but I'm sure I committed minor misdemeanours in the past. So, am I going to Hell because of those ancient sins? If so, your god is not a very nice one.

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  November 24 2013, 1:12PM

    Legs healed, toes healed, sight restored to the blind - three modern day miracles! What is vindictive or immoral about God wanting to restore someone and offer them eternal life? It's like saying that because surgery is the only way someone can be cured of cancer, its immoral to offer them surgery. You can only be cured of cancer if you accept the treatment - in the same way you can only be cured of sin if you accept the salvation that God offers. Hell isn't something created by God to punish people for the sake of it, its the natural consequence of sin.

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