Five years of Hereford Street Pastors

ON Sunday, November 25, 2018 a special evening service at Holy Trinity Church, Whitecross, Hereford was the occasion for Vennture to receive the Queens Award for Voluntary Service from Herefordshire Deputy Lieutenant Lady Darnley, the Queen’s representative. This award was described by Lady Darnley as “the MBE for volunteer groups” and it is rigorously assessed. The history and development of Vennture and its various outreaches was told by numerous volunteers who also gave tribute to the Victorian Christian pioneers, John and Emilia Venn and the enterprising work they founded for the benefit of Hereford’s poor which became Hereford City Mission in 1856. Vennture intentionally imitates the rock-solid Christian values and enterprising spirit of the Venns, providing teams of street pastors and Lean On Me volunteers on weekend nights.

An earlier post, reflecting on these Christian values and how they can connect us in friendships we could not have predicted, with those who are a regular part of the Night Time Economy, continues below.

WE LIVE in a judgmental world – all the more apparent in a season of exam results, Brexit uncertainty, and rising social tensions. We judge – and are judged – on our attainments, the kind of house we own or don’t own, and our occupation e.g. “just a stay-at-home mum”. Of course, we need to make good discernments about character and trust in our dealings, but it is this very human and rather proud attitude of being judgmental that strains relationships.

As Christians, we’re called to be different. That is easy to say, and more difficult to deliver, but Jesus (who said “I am the Way…”) both shows us the way and empowers us for His way of being generous-spirited to others.

Encountering people with very different values and lifestyles, and often complicated life situations, always puts us on the spot, but as Christians who know God’s love, we are uniquely equipped to love others. This is worked out every weekend on the streets of Hereford by circulating street pastors and also the Night Shift which keeps the foyer of the Baptist Church open for people who need a refuge and a chat – and perhaps some footwear or a blanket.

‘Taffy’ was a homeless and argumentative man, living in a tent, with some unhelpful substance dependencies and little sense of routine that lost him every job he tried. His Night Shift friends got to know him, prayed for him and were there for him every time he came in with another tale of woe. Then he disappeared – to be seen months later outside Morrisons on his bike having held down a job at the chicken factory and been paying his rent on time.

God’s ways are higher than our ways – and as James teaches us, “Mercy – unconditional love – triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). Maybe – just maybe – finding some people who were there for him and didn’t judge him, was the little lift ‘Taffy’ needed to get his life straight, on the back of the prayers of those that got to know him.

— Ian Greig

Stalls Galore this Saturday!

There are three opportunities to buy your Christmas gifts this Saturday, 24 November, in three locations:

Byford – The Byford Bazaar at Bridge Sollars Community Centre, 10.00am – 2.00pm

Staunton – Advent Coffee Morning at Staunton-on-Wye Village Hall, 10.00am – 12.30pm

Weobley – Winter Fair at Weobley Parish Church, 10.30am – 2.30pm


Update on temporary closure of St Mary’s, Staunton-on-Wye

This update follows our post on 26 October where it was stated, “Following a fall of plaster from the roof of St Mary’s Church, Staunton-on-Wye, and the safety concerns that raises, the church is now temporarily closed and unavailable for services pending an architect’s inspection.”

At Monday’s PCC meeting it was decided that until the building repairs could be undertaken, Staunton parishioners would join with services at St John the Baptist, Letton on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. The Staunton Carol Service (Sunday 16 December, 5.30pm) and Crib Service (Christmas Eve, 4.00pm) will take place in the Village Hall.

Revd Sean Semple, Rector, on behalf of St Mary’s PCC

Weobley Honours its Fallen

Joining the rest of the nation in the Act of Remembrance at 11.00am on Sunday 11 November, Weobley will hold its Silence and laying of wreaths around the war memorial in the churchyard opposite the main church entrance.

This will be preceded by a silent march to the churchyard, leaving from the centre of the village at 10.45am, led by Clergy, Royal British Legion members, Scouts and other uniformed participants, accompanied by muffled bells.

Following the opening prayer “Let us remember before God…” the list of the Fallen will be read out by Revd Charles Overton and Fr Simon McGurk, followed by laying of wreaths on behalf of Weobley RBL, the Parish Council, Weobley Women’s Institute, Weobley Scouts and youth organisations, Weobley Schools and personal crosses. An exhortation will be given by RBL branch chairman Michelle Ward. Then the Silence will be marked by the playing of the Last Post followed by 11 strokes of the church clock; and after two minutes, the sounding of the Reveille and recitation of the Kohima Epitaph by RBL Branch President Cal Edwards, followed by a prayer and silent procession into church.

The special church service for Remembrance Sunday brings together the congregations of St Thomas Roman Catholic Church, Weobley Methodist Chapel and St Peter and St Paul Parish Church, and will be led by Vicar and Royal British Legion Chaplain Revd Sean Semple.