21 July 2010
Christian nightlife ministries reach out to England’s party scene
From helping young girls rejected from nightclubs to people trying to commit suicide, 'Street Angels' had powerful stories of mission to tell at their recent conference in Bedford.
More than 50 visitors representing 12 different organisations attended the seminar and discussed how work on the streets can be done most effectively. With guest speaker Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, and Richard Inwood, Bishop of Bedford, visitors left encouraged and equipped.
Launched in Halifax in 2003, Street Angels - a project of Christian Nightlife Initiative (CNI) - reaches out to Britain's party scene and has now spread across the country.
Street Angels' volunteers make it their goal to provide unconditional support and help to those who have been struggling. The original idea of reaching out to the nightclub scene has expanded into many other successful ministries such as pregnancy help, night cafes, and counselling. One of the upcoming events will be held at the Bedford river festival, which usually draws over 300,000 visitors. CNI volunteers will be present at the venue to offer practical help to the festival goers. Dressed in red jackets, they are easy to recognize in the crowd.
Adam May, project director of the Bedford branch, is actively engaged in the ministry and has participated in many outreaches. Even though the work can be exhausting, he is excited about the great success. "We usually get a really positive reaction from outsiders. They are generally curious about what we're doing and start talking to us." Adam is thrilled about the fast spread of the ministry. "We now have over 2,000 volunteers working for Street Angels and CNI in 60 different locations."
The July conference has helped connect the British teams and individuals who volunteer as Street Angels. Through networking, many people were encouraged and could share their experience with volunteers from other parts of the country. Other initiatives such as 'Night Church' in Hanley, target a similar audience and welcome partiers all night to enjoy a good coffee and conversation. Visitors give positive feedback and appreciate the church's openness and involvement.
Adam's vision is to create a growing community in the South of England. "Our project is trying to encourage people to grow as Christians and to reach out to the community", he explains. "We are called by God for this vocation."