JUNE 2024 SIX REGION PATROLS – a day in the life of a PEACEMAKER Prayer & City safety pattrol Officer

Our day started out with prayer,  outside the Trinity Tabrnacle Church which is located dircectly adjacent to the Salvation Army building, and Health Centre, on Hassel Drive, Lawrence Hill.  This is a ‘regular’ early morning patrol. The day is bright and warm, oppose to the winter dawn patrols, where fingers and toes feels like icecycles, and that is before beginning patrol.

Lawrence Hill Health CentreEverything is quiet and there is almost a sacred hush, except the chirps of birds.  The silence is suddenly interuped by several men arriving outside the nearby Health Centre. They are gathering for their daily dose, which will be admiinstered to them by the professional chemist, when the Chemist opens its shutters, around 9am.  They pace up and down amongst themselves impatainly. Before moving away,  we decided that we would pray for them, but for safety purposes, we would pray for them from where we were accross the road as opposed to praying directly with them.Lawrence Hill roundabout : r/bristolCommunity garden party taking place in ...

As we crossed over the main Lawrence Hillroundabout, the windows to the flats were still closed and not a soul about, still we stoped outside the highrise, and offered a prayer on behalf of the many families, young and older, single persons occupying these premises.   We circled the surrounding streets before heading over into the Easton area.Easton was surprisingly quiet with only a few persons in sight. The chemist here were still closed, but a few shops were just opening their shutters.  We stopped to talk with shopkeepers who were stood in their doorways awaiting their customers. One guy was particularly interested and asked ‘what exactly are you doing?’ We explained that we were in the area on patrol as a visible force for good, praying peace and safety for families, businesses, and communities. At this he perked up, becoming even more interested. He chatted with us for a while, and as we  set off on our way, he shouted, ‘prayer is good.’ ‘Only Jesus can change tings round here, you know.’ Stapelton Road at this time of day had recently been astrocious, with many complaits by the residents living there.Seaguls usually make havoc with the contents in plactic bags that are left on top of and on the ground beside trash bins.  Something needs to be done becaue these trash bins are not large enough.

There are also mattresses and other furniture dumped along the roadside. We decided that we need to bring this to the attention of the Bristol City Council street cleaning department.

But all is not negative for Stapeton Road, today, the steps of Kensington Church is clear and clean. There are usually groups of homeless men and  young persons sat outside on it’s steps, smolking weed, spitting, arguing, and chatting very loudly. But this morning all is clear, and there is a sacred hush.as we pause to pray on the steps. and not far up the road from the Church street cleaners alight from a big truck with their brush trolly.  as we walked along we passed this cute florist tucked among the row of shops.  Sadly, over the past few years they have had repeating orders for wreaths and flowers for the many funerals of youths who were  sadly stabbed to death in the area. Passing the florist we headed across to the St. Werburghs area. We saw many things to pray about as well as to report, such as stacks of overgrown areas hiding the off road signs. But we also saw things to celebrate about, such as  Evergreen Primary Accademy.  The  Academy was at one time among Bristol’s 20 worst, but in 2023 was awarded a Good rating by OFSTED! Well worth celebrating, because it managed to succeed despite being surrounded by ongoing graffiti wars, violent street crimes,  postcode turf rivallry, poverty, and postitution.  And it is safe to say there been far less onstreet prostitution in recent times.Large trees stands tall and broad, behind the fence at the end of the school’s playground. The fence runs along the path from Easton’s Warwick Avenue to the cross bridge  for St. Werburghs. The design  of the roof  top of Community Centre from the bridge is interesting and impressive. We stopped to pray on the bridge where a young man was robbed and killed a few years back. Fresh flowers are usually tied to the railings, but today the railings are empty except for old tapes and strings, still atttached to the rails. (see below pic) We entranced into the St Werburghs via Gatton Road, and stooped to pray again at the end of the bridge as well as outside the Community Centre. Patroling along pretty Sandbed Road someone noticed that there were viarious Political Parties and causes advertised in windows. St Weburghs is known for being an ‘arty’ area with giant artworks outside houses  and shop buildings. The park is quiet at this time of the morning, so it was easy to stop and pray aloud in the open air, we were joined by the melodious chirping of birds from the trees above us.From St Werburghs we crossed over to St Agnes. St Agnes is a quietish sort of surburb, back of St. Pauls and bordering Newfoundland Road and the M32 into Town.

There is a tall, thriving Carribean banana plant to the front of one resident’s garden To the centre of this area is an adventure playground, a lovely family park with a modern children play area, an outdoor cafe, and an old countrystyle Church.

Here stopped for prayrs in the family park opposite the church, and it was great to see banner reminders highlighting that St. Agnes is a childrens’ safety area.Through St Agnes Park to St Pauls we see this beautiful muriel. And below, as  the picture shows the streets which are usually alive and buzzing, today they are quiet and deathly still, no a person in sight.

We head further into St Pauls along St Nicholas Road, and if you look closely you will see  two fully grown thriving banana plants  . We prayed on the Green outside St Pauls Learning Cente and Glyn’s Resturant, both were closed.  The last time we prayed here was a Vigil for Eddie, and others who were stabbed and died in the area.

Along Grosvenor Road we stopped for more prayers outside the home of one young victim of stabbing, and again further along at the make-shiff shirne for an older community member, he too was brutally murdered a year ago.  We chatteded with the few community residents and shop keepers that were about.

As we were leaving  St Pauls, the  Community Police Officers were coming on duty. We spoke together for a short while before setting off to final patrol area.  our Final areas ws Fishponds which we transit via the Eastville roundabout.Fishponds, final of my six areas prayer and city safety morning meggathon!

We started the Fishponds Patol on Fishponds Road just above Eastville Park, and made several prayer stops along the way.  We even discoved a new street with around a dozen old-styled terraced houses. We have patroled Fishponds many times over the years and had never knew this street existed, The houses are small and quirky and the front doors low, similar an old welsh villiage house.

Fishponds is a lively up and coming area. It sports a busy librayr, three supermakers accoss from each other, schools, pubs, churches, a community centre, rows of resturants, butcher, newsagents, dentist, surgeries,  several estate agents, a park, post office, a series of second-hand shops, florists, commercial fast foods as well as classic traditional fish and chip shops, banks, barbers, and plenty of buses into the city centre and other areas of the city for the train station, airpor,t and train station.

From patroling streets, we headed onto the cycle path, accessing it from Lodge causeway,  towards staplehill.  We made several prayer points along the track.  The track has numerous  walkers and cyclists daily accessing this route.

The final part of the patrol were small lanes and alleyways secretly hidden behind houses and shops.

And by the end of the morning and after hundreds of munuites on foot, my feet was tired, yet there was a satisfying feeling of hope. Hope that in some small way our visible presence and invisible prayers would have impact and make a difference in the areas we patroled.

A Day in the life of a patroler(narrative and pics)by A PEACEMAKER Prayer and City Safety Officer, Bristol, UK. June, 2024.

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