THE HAVERFORDWEST Street Pastors are a group of Christian ‘Prayer Warriors’ that dedicate their Saturday nights to help make Haverfordwest a safer place for night time dwellers, clubbers and socialisers.
Founded in 2009, their ambition to care for intoxicated drinkers and injured individuals has seen the number of drunken disorderly and public disturbance incidents fall significantly over the last few years.
Co-ordinator Sam Scadden tells the Herald: “We observe from the side lines really, we never try to prevent fights before they happen as it would put our safety in jeopardy. Our job is to aid those that need help”.
And it’s not just the physical presence of the pastor team that has a positive impact. One of the methods that seems most effective is simply listening to people’s problems and showing empathy and understanding says Sam.
Each week the group congregate at Bethesda Church Hall at 9pm to prepare a wide range of paraphernalia that can be issued to those a little worse for ware.
Sam tells the Herald: “We start of the evening with a group prayer and sing a few hymns, we pray for the safety of our team on the sometimes volatile streets of Haverfordwest.
“Then we pack our bags with first aid equipment, bottles of water, anti-spiking devices and flip flops for girls that brake a heal”. The group relies on local donations from other churches, charities, the council and the police; this helps them cover the cost of the vital equipment required.
Although there are a small minority that are still skeptical about the real reasoning behind the street pastors, one individual who requested to remain anonymous told the Herald:
“Don’t get me wrong they provide a formidable service and I can’t condone that, but you have to think that there is an ulterior motive behind their actions. Every time I speak to them they force their beliefs on to me and try to convert me to becoming a Christian.”
Group Co-ordinator Sam denies this accusation: “Yes we do actively spread the word of Jesus, but our concern is for the safety of individuals. We don’t force anyone to change his or her beliefs. We welcome all religions and viewpoints.”
Since the group was established in 2009, the number of participants and volunteers has increased tenfold with over 40 members who serve on the streets or stay at the church to pray and accommodate any visitors.
“We make cakes and hot drinks for those in the team or visiting police members. We have formed a great working relationship with the police force as we rely on one and other,” a pastor told the Herald.
The street pastors have made Haverfordwest a much more safer and hospitable place through sheer dedication and commitment and we at the Herald welcome their contribution to the community.