Coleraine Town Hall was the venue for the largest Commissioning Service of Street Pastors in the whole of Ireland recently.
SDLP councillor, Stephanie Quigley, Chair of the Management Committee of Street Pastors, was welcomed by a huge cheer and applause as she was introduced by Reverend Andrew Brown from Terrace Row Presbyterian Church, as the hero for bringing the scheme to the area.
Stephanie expressed her deep thanks to all those involved on the management team, funders, partners, and the volunteers.
Guest speakers included Les Isaac, founder of Street Pastors worldwide and Sandy Scrimger Head of Street Pastors in Scotland. Local funding partners, such as Mark Alexander, Area Manager for the NIHE and Nicky Thompson, PSNI Area Commander, also spoke of their support for this new initiative. Mayor George Duddy welcomed the scheme to the area and has promised to volunteer for a tour of duty along with Cllr Quigley!
Twenty-two churches are represented in the scheme with 11 of them sitting on the Management Committee. The night was a display of unity, with Father Charles Keaney from St. John’s Parish, Community Pastor Alice McAlary from St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland and Reverend Andrew Brown from Terrace Row Presbyterian Church leading the service. Barbara Brown, the Co-Ordinator of the Initiative, plus a few Street Pastors gave an insight into volunteering. Volunteers were presented with caps as they were cheered on loudly by their families and friends.
Thirty new volunteers are beginning their training on Saturday – so look out for the uniforms – and say hello!