Below is text for Christmas editions of church and community magazines. Please feel free to amend to better suit your local project / area.
'Tis the season for Angels! Angels make a big appearance in the story of Christmas and no doubt the next few weeks we will be singing 'Hark the herald angels sing', 'Angels from the realms of glory' and several others!
Angels make a big appearance on our streets, inside nightclubs and at festivals too! Teams of Street Angels, Club Angels and Festival Angels are out and about in communities throughout the year, not just at Christmas!
These amazing angelic volunteers are helping keep our communities and people, especially within the night-time economy, safe. Offering flip-flops or a plaster, a bottle of water or time to chat - these angels will be on patrol and making a massive difference as a result.
In June this year one of our Street Angels teams came across a young man holding his head and kneeling over, very dazed, having had his head bashed against a wall. The team took him to a safe hub and left him. Three months later this same man came to say "thank you for saving my life". It turns out the safe hub team had got him to A&E and a brain scan revealed a bleed on the brain.
We are called to be angels! We can all be God's hands and feet, delivering good news of great joy through words and action. Taking the time to look out for others. Asking God to make his Kingdom known through our daily living.
This Christmas do pray for our teams out on the streets and in clubs (or maybe consider volunteering if there is a team near you!) If you are going on a night out yourself have a SafeNightOut.party and remember these top tips:
Stay with friends, don't go off alone, have contact info somewhere other than your phone.
Ladies - carry a pair of slip-on shoes for when high heels become unbearable.
Always eat before a night out and don't start cooking once you get home.
Know what you are drinking and how much you have - mix alcohol with soft drinks.
Pick a venue right for you - if you feel out of place, leave!
Keep your taxi money in another part of your handbag / wallet. Take a picture of the taxi and taxi drivers ID and message it to a friend.
For more information on the work of Street, Club and Festival Angels or to make a donation check out cninetwork.org (CNI Network is the umbrella organisation for all things angelic!!!)
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Some images to use:
From David - the coordinator of Boro Angels in Middlesbrough:
When I talk at an event or to a group about Boro Angels, I often say I'm certain our teams have helped save lives, because I know we will have since we first went out in January 2010, whether it's a guy we took to the Safe Haven or called an ambulance for or the vulnerable person we stayed with until they were safe.
Well here's one straight from the horses mouth. One of our teams in June, Josh, Campbell and Natalie, came across a guy holding his head and kneeling over, very dazed. He had had his head bashed against a wall and they escorted him to the Safe Haven and, as is often the case, we didn't hear what happened next.
Well this guy was out on the town last night, he came up to one of the teams, which included Natalie and Campbell, Josh was, incidentally, leading the other team last night, and said "thank you for saving my life." It turned out he was taken by ambulance from the Safe Haven to A&E, where he had a brain scan which showed a bleed to his brain.
The teams had the usual sticking plasters, bottles of water. flip flops and lollys last night, and to also hear a story like this, that could have had such a different, tragic outcome but for our teams' intervention, makes me proud to be part of a project that has such exceptional guys, spending many hours, helping total strangers, because they care.
I am not ashamed to say there are tears in my eyes as I write this, well done to each and every one of our volunteers. I say time and time again, I am only asked to speak at events, represent Boro Angels on groups and committees or asked for opinions about the night-time economy from Middlesbrough Council, Cleveland Police and the media because of what this group of people do on a Saturday night, without them Boro Angels are nothing.
As we approach our 10th anniversary in January 2020, we look forward to making a difference for the next 10 years and beyond.
Remember, "It's all about people." God Bless you all.
A team of 170 volunteers were Festival Angels at Leeds Festival running Lost Property, a Prayer Cafe, detached teams and Chariot support for security staff. The Festival Angels were featured on BBC Look North news with a film crew in the cafe and joining a detached patrol on Thursday. Over the weekend, as temperatures soared, the teams were out ensuring festival goers were hydrated and applying sun tan lotion. Lost Property was busy with people handing in found items or coming to report missing items and the team will work for the next few weeks aiming to reunite as many items as possible with owners. The festival had two flypasts from the 'Jesus Calls Will U Follow' plane organised by FlyJesus with many favourable social media comments. The cafe sold 5500 special edition Festival Angel mugs which offered free tea, coffee (donated by Taylors of Harrogate), hot chocolate, water and juice refills. The Jesus Loves Festivals banner was great for a selfie with Jesus and many people took time to pray, colour in bible verses or sit and chat to our caring team.
Well done to Glennis from Skipton Street Angels shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year in the North Yorkshire County Council’s Community Awards 2019 - see full story here.
Glennis Hobbs: Glennis volunteers with Smiley Faces (Embsay mum and toddler group), Hetton and Rylstone Babes (H&R mum and toddler group) and runs Hot Chocolate Club (youth club for seven to 11-year-olds in Embsay). She has been involved in organising and running a holiday club/activity week for young people and supports the elderly. She visits the most vulnerable people living alone and is a volunteer at Embsay-with-Eastby Community Library. She also plays a leading role as part of Street Angels in Skipton and is a steward in the Methodist Church.
Aylesbury is the county town of Buckinghamshire, its a historic market town at its core, but with large growth since the 1950s has a population of around 70,000.
There are several large churches and with a view to serving this community, Aylesbury Town Chaplaincy was set up in 2011 as an independent charity.
Since 2012, Chaplains have been out and about during the day in Aylesbury, and Street Angels, late into the night. We are a small, local charity born out of the desire of local churches to serve the needs of the thousands of people who live, work and visit Aylesbury every day.
Our ‘Vision’ statement explains this:
We love our town and, by coming alongside those who work, shop, play and live here, we wish to demonstrate God’s, unconditional love. We aim to provide comfort, support and encouragement (practical, emotional and spiritual) to all, through our regular, visible and caring presence. We aim to work in co-operation with like-minded partners for the wellbeing of all in our community.
In practice, there are 2 elements of our work: day-time Chaplains, and night-time Street Angels.
The Chaplains offer a ‘listening ear’ – a friendly presence and a confidential, independent and impartial ear to those who are going through difficult times, or just want to meet with someone who has the time to listen. They are available for anyone who needs someone to listen to them, about concerns, worries or aspirations; someone to share about their life. They have time for people and are interested in them. They’ll listen and chat about anything, including spiritual matters or prayer if required.
Currently, our Chaplains are in various places in Aylesbury. In the town centre, we have Chaplains to the various shopping centres, streets or areas, and they are around and about on parts of Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at the moment.
Other Chaplains are placed within particular organisations: Aylesbury Police Station, Morrisons supermarket, Aylesbury College, the Crown Courts and University Campus Aylesbury Vale.
While listening they may realise that the person speaking needs further specialist help and they can signpost people to other agencies and organisations which offer this. We don’t always know what difference these conversations and encouragement make, but we do know that many people value the Chaplains’ time, and come back to say what happened next. People have shared concerns about work, health, family, homelessness, loneliness, but also good times – new jobs, new relationships and new homes.
The Street Angels are out in the town centre in a team of three on either a Friday or Saturday night from around 11pm to 3.30am. They offer practical help and act as a calming, community presence. They offer simple and practical help; they give out flip flops so people’s feet are protected (their dancing shoes may have become too uncomfortable to wear!), they hold sick bags, have hair ties and bottles of water as well as being able to give basic first aid.
They make sure anyone out on the street, sleeping rough, is aware of and in touch with homelessness services. They help people find a safe way home – either via a taxi or by calling friends or family. This work is all done in liaison with our local police, licensees, CCTV operators and door staff, and we have been loaned a radio to enable us to be linked with the CCTV and door staff. Street Angels can also be involved in defusing potentially problematic situations; they give away hundreds of lollipops a year, and it is remarkable how the mood lightens with the offer of a lollipop!
Street Angels are part of the night-time economy partnership which has enabled Aylesbury to be awarded a Purple Flag several years in a row. This is awarded to towns and cities who demonstrate excellence in managing the night-time economy and indicates a safe, diverse, and vibrant night out.
We are members of two national networks of Chaplaincies (Alliance of Town & City Chaplaincies) and night-time work (Christian Night-time Initiatives, CNI network) so we can support, encourage and learn from each other.
We are also supported by many individuals and organizations in-kind or financially – local churches, Thames Valley Police, AVDC & BCC Community Safety Teams, Aylesbury Town Council, Heart of Bucks, Co-operative Community Fund, members of our Friends scheme, the Town Centre Partnership and many others.
To find out more you can click on our website www.aylesburytownchplaincy.co.uk, follow us on Twitter @AylesburySA, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01296 398110.
The heart of CNI Network is to make known the love that Jesus has for each and every person we come across and to share that every person is amazing because God has made them amazing!
Often this 'making known' is done in very practical ways through flip-flops, band aids or helping put up tents at festivals. Sometimes it is through conversation - be it five seconds or sitting down with someone over a a cuppa. Sometimes it is through the offer of our special 'Jesus Loves Clubbers' or 'Jesus Loves Festivals' copy of the Jesus story.
Our team in Majorca, Street Angels Spain, have recently worked with the team from Reach Mallorca who have shared this message of hope and love with those on holiday in the resort - read more here...
Donate to the work of CNI Network here
Street Angels - Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network:
Registered Charity 1136416 / Company Limited by Guarantee 07173090
All content and various brand names (C) CNI Network
Postal Address: CNI Network, The King's Centre, Park Rd, Halifax, HX1 2TS
E-Mail: email@example.com (founder / CEO) / Phone: 07725501465