Christian Comment with Graham Hobbs of Minchinhampton Baptist Church

NOW the Christmas and New Year revels have passed, what do you remember?

My nephew, a police inspector, doesn't always enjoy such things, especially when he has to head up policing them.

There was one recent "celebration" he was particularly unhappy about.

In previous years, it had involved a fun day for families but, come the evening, the families had gone home to be replaced by a crowd of mostly youngsters who would appear from towns and villages outside the area, get drunk, have fights and end up in the police cells.

Naturally, my nephew wasn't looking forward to being responsible for policing this lot, especially as the local constabulary had run out of police cells the time before.

Some public employees, such as teachers, MPs and many others including policemen, pray about their work.

My nephew was one and, as he prayed, he got some inspiration.

His mum is a Street Pastor.

He contacted her to get in touch with Street Pastors from around the area to see if they could volunteer yet more of their time to be present on the streets that evening.

Bless them.

They turned up.

As preventative measures, drinking water was given to those who risked dehydration.

The Street Pastors collected up broken beer glasses before people walked on them or they could be used in fights.

For the bits they missed, flip flops were given to protect bare feet.

More seriously, the Street Pastors found ways of getting drunk blokes home or to safe places before they could get into trouble.

Girls who couldn't handle the drink or drugs they'd taken were removed to safety before they could be date raped.

That was only some of how Street Pasors do "Christianity."

The result?

This time round, not a single arrest occurred.

The police cells remained empty.

Stroud is rarely so bad but I've long felt there was a need for Christians to do something rather than keep away and tut tut about the youngsters who come to Stroud for a night out at weekends and what results.

At last, we too have our own Street Pastors.

Regrettably, we could do with more.

OK, not all of us are capable of doing the up front stuff with youngsters but support workers, such as the prayer team, are vital.

We can help meet the financial needs too.

When I came to live in the Stroud District in 1975, there was little sign of the church on the streets.

Now I can thank God for a dozen such Christian organisations, including one of the latest - thank you Street Pastors.