A special Commissioning Service for Newtownabbey Street Pastors took place at New Mossley Presbyterian Church on Sunday evening, February 1.
Rev Les Isaac, CEO of Ascension Trust and co-founder of the Street Pastors movement in England, was the special guest speaker at the service, which was attended by local Street Pastors and their family and friends.
PSNI Area Commander, T/Supt Stephen Reid and Alderman John Blair, chairman of Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership, were among those who attended the event. Other guests included Cllr Mark Cosgrove, Cllr Noreen McClelland and Cllr Audrey Ball.
“I was delighted to have been invited to speak at the commissioning service,” Alderman Blair commented.
“It is most encouraging to see more people becoming involved in this initiative which plays a vital role in making our streets a safer and more friendly place.
“The local churches should be commended for the enthusiasm and commitment they have brought to this and I have assured them of my continued support in the future.”
Thanking the Street Pastors for their help and support over the past couple of years, T/Supt Stephen Reid said: “The work of a number of key partners, including Newtownabbey Street Pastors, has assisted greatly in reducing instances of anti-social behaviour in the area.
“The warmth and sincerity of the Street Pastors pays dividends when it comes to caring and nurturing vulnerable people out and about on our streets and neighbourhoods. This multi-denominational group has been instrumental in helping understand the concerns of young people and guiding them gently away from paths that could lead them to dangerous and illegal pursuits.”
The local Street Pastors movement, based in Glengormley, has gone from strength to strength since it was set up in early 2013. And it is now aiming to expand its weekend patrols into other areas such as Ballyclare and Antrim.
“We hope to be able to recruit more members from the churches over the next few weeks to attend our next training courses at the end of February and add to our numbers,” explained Brian Mullan from the Newtownabbey Street Pastors management team.
“The Commissioning Service has been a great encouragement to Newtownabbey Street Pastors as we were blessed by the presence of Rev Les Isaac OBE, as well as the valued support of our partners in the PCSP, Newtownabbey Borough Council and the PSNI. We are indebted also to New Mossley Presbyterian Church for their hospitality in hosting the Commissioning Service,” added Ronnie Pedlow, Chair of Newtownabbey Street Pastors.
“It is great to see so many passionate and committed Street Pastors who are concerned about the welfare of Newtownabbey.”
Praising the work of the local Street Pastors movement, Rev Isaac commented: “I had a very strong sense of the Kingdom of God working through his church and I pray that you all will be encouraged by what God is doing through us to bless our nations, to strengthen our communities and to see our communities transformed.”
Congratulating Mr Pedlow and Mr Mullan on the success of Sunday night’s “truly inspirational” event, Cllr McClelland said she is “looking forward to having Street Pastors across our new borough.”
For more information about Newtownabbey Street Pastors log on to www.facebook.com/NewtownabbeyStreetPastors