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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Pastor patrols to combat bingeing
Pastors on patrol
The pastor patrols are supported by the police
The church is joining the fight against binge drinking at one seaside resort.

All-night volunteer patrols have been set up by Christians in Southend to help make the town safer and attract more young people to worship.

The initiative by 10 churches around the town's pubs and clubs at weekends is supported by the town's police.

Force spokesman Steve Currell said their presence was a reassuring one for youngsters who had drunk too much and felt vulnerable and alone.

"They don't patrol with police officers who patrol in other parts of town," he said.

In this day and age people don't want to come into churches, so it is right and proper that the churches go out to the people on the streets
Street pastor co-ordinator David Ince

"For the person who is lying on the street perhaps feeling alone and not well, having someone come up and say 'We will be with you until help is at hand' is really reassuring."

At one late-night incident as allegations about racist taunts boiled over into a street fight, the pastors were on hand to diffuse the violence - and spread their message about God.

"We tell them that there is a God and a God that loves them and wants to take care of them," said street pastor co-ordinator David Ince.

"Sometimes we will just go into a street and as we are walking along we will pray for the people who are in that street, that they won't be vulnerable that night.

"In this day and age people don't want to come into churches, so it is right and proper that the churches go out to the people on the streets."




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