Dereham Town Pastors signing ceremony
The signing ceremony for Dereham Town Pastors will be held at Dereham Baptist church on Wednesday March 4 at 1pm in the company of the Town Mayor and Jo Copsey BEM who was honoured in the New Years Honours for her work with Town Pastors.
Dereham Town Pastors are Christian volunteers from local churches who will be out in Dereham town centre most Friday and Saturday nights. Five churches are involved including Dereham Baptist Church, Wellspring Family Centre, St Nicholas Church, Trinity Methodist Church and Eckling Grange Church; all have committed to support and care for the young adults of the Dereham community.
The official launch will enable the management committee to start the process of recruiting volunteers to become Town Pastors. Volunteers will be needed to fill the roles of either going out on the streets as part of a team or as Prayer Support Pastors.
The Town Pastor scheme began in Ipswich in 2006 and has expanded across Suffolk and into Norfolk over the last nine years.
Town Pastors are local people who seek to be a positive presence, not primarily evangelistic their role is rather concern for their community, especially the poor, vulnerable and younger people, offering assistance, showing concern, listening to, caring for and helping people.
Assisting the police and other agencies is an important part of their work, and where appropriate they are able to de-escalate potential trouble, defuse or alleviate tense situations. Being independent volunteers they are not seen as authority figures in the same way that the police are; often found in the streets they look after the drunks, the unwell, or vulnerable people they meet, giving them their time, care and and support.
Jo Copsey has been a Town Pastor for more than five years, and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the most recent New Years Honours list for her services to policing and community safety. Jo was commended as a “real galvaniser for community activity and her enthusiasm and dedication is infectious with the local partners all fulsome in their praise of her efforts”.
Suffolk Town Pastors have received a number of awards over the years for the work they have completed, some of the most recent include the Suffolk Foundation Community Group of the year in 2013, Suffolk Charity, Voluntary or Community Organisation of the Year and Suffolk High Sheriff certificate in 2012, Felixstowe Town Council award in 2011.
For more information on Dereham Town Pastors please view their website at http://www.derehamtownpastors.org.uk
Read our report on the launch ceremony