The Times newspaper recently joined us on the streets to investigate Dundee's enduring drugs crisis. Sadly we have seen to many of our guys die in the last few years in particular. Let's hope by highlighting the problem, it will bring meaningful change. (click on the picture below to read the full article and then zoom in).
Read article online: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dundee-drugs-death-capital-scotland-ddlzpgnjh
ROCK STREET CHAPLAINS
www.dundeechaplains.org.uk | Facebook: ROCKStreetChaplains
CHISTMAS PRAYER LETTER 2019
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Thank you for your continued prayer and support for ROCK Street, Club, & Festival Chaplains. It's hard to believe we are at the end of another year which is a reminder of how short life is. This prayer letter contains reports from all of the team leaders in our areas of ministry. We hope you will continue to pray and support us.
Dundee Street Chaplains
This year in Dundee, the work of Nightclub Outreach has carried on in good health and has continued to grow. One piece of bad news is that we saw our work inside the nightclubs come to a stop as Industry Nightclub in Dundee shutdown this year and we ask that you pray for new opportunities to start this up again.
Each weekend we continue to go out with hot drinks and food for the homeless in Dundee. We have recently been kindly donated blankets which we have been handing out as needed and are now preparing Christmas gift bags including hats, gloves, and hygiene products for them as we did last year. We ask you to pray for the salvation of those we meet, for chances to help many get into rehab and a more stable life.
We are out every Friday and Saturday. We head out with lollies and tracts to tell people the gospel, and we give out bottles of water, flip-flops and ponchos for those who need them. We have had loads of good conversations with people and have given out gospels and bibles to many and invited some to Alpha Courses and to have further conversations with us by phone or in person.
We have added some new members to our team this year and we want to ask you to pray for them, and for new team members to join us. We also ask you to pray for our experienced members’ health and that their passion for the gospel and for the people of Dundee would grow.
This year we attended the Montrose Festival and with the opening of Slessor Gardens, we have had some more outreach opportunities at festivals here in Dundee, handing out bottles of water and sometimes ponchos and speaking to some of the attendees about God.
Our main prayer request is for people we've met this year, either just once or almost every week, to come to salvation.
Nathan Peters – ROCK Homeless Outreach Co-ordinator, Dundee
Montrose Festival Chaplains (Mofest)
No MoFest this year but LCC organised three Live at the Links events in August for Montrose: Kaiser Chiefs, Jess Glynne and Madness. LCC were keen to have us on board and we were able to set up our gazebo on site for all three. A team of 12 from Montrose and Dundee churches covered the events, some on their first outing. Numerous good conversations were held at all three concerts and, situated beside the St Andrew’s and SAS (the Scottish Ambulance Service, not the para regiment) ambulances, there was a one-stop-shop for all injuries and ails!
Working with the site security teams, everyone felt safe across the whole site and good relationships were built. More than one member of the bar staff came across for a conversation and one is now a regular at a local church in Montrose! Several security staff commented that they would be happy if chaplain teams were present at all their events.
To try and reduce the amount of plastic used, the organisers had encouraged folk to bring along their own water bottles to fill up locally. Unfortunately, the water supply arrangement didn’t work out and our base became the main watering hole and people were directed to us for their top-ups. One more way the chaplains became an integral part of the overall event – and presented even more opportunities to meet folks.
Over the three evenings, we managed to give away about 12kg of assorted lollies (now looking for sponsorship from local dentists)!!! Seriously, everyone seemed happy to speak to these strange folks in bright red jackets. Here’s to more events in 2020…
Steve Coles – Montrose Festival Chaplains.
Newcastle Street Chaplains
We are made up of Christians from local churches. We meet at the Elim Church at around 12.15am on a Sunday morning. We pray together for help and protection before we head out onto the street. Setting up the marquee just opposite the main night club in Newcastle we get ready for the young people to come out anytime around 1.30am. We offer tea or coffee with biscuits which they love getting. We also give out bottles of water, all of which is greatly appreciated.
In the cold winter months, we supply foil blankets if needed also to help girls particularly to keep warm. One night we had a girl who was extremely cold and she came and sat in the back of the van, but couldn’t get warmed up. We got a foil blanket wrapped around her and she was in a bad way. She took a panic attack and one of the girls on the team had to help her with her breathing. She was a local girl and we knew her so we were able to leave her home. We are getting to build great relationships with the young people and they come over to us for a cuppa and a chat. A few have said that this is their highlight of the night to come to us. As we get to know these wonderful young people we have had the pleasure to be able to talk to them about spiritual matters. Others just want to get advice or chat about work, their life and family matters.
This is proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom of God through word and action. So as we are on the streets of Newcastle (Co Down), we are filled with compassion and love for many who don’t know our ‘faithful and wonderful’ Saviour and we pray for opportunities to tell them about Him. We also have a sense of urgency in our hearts as one day Jesus will return. Revelation 22:20 “yes I am coming soon” So let’s keep serving, keep praying, until God says it is time. Unfortunately, we are not able to be out every week as we would want to be. The team is small and many of us have other commitments. This is something we need prayer for that others would get involved, even if folk could commit just once a month. The need is great but the labourers are few! So please pray that others would grasp the vision and if anyone would like to come out with us on a trial night please feel free to do that.
Sylvia Turner – Newcastle Street Chaplains
Lurgan Street Chaplains
What can I say about William Street, Lurgan in 2019? God is at Work! The Holy Spirit convicting, hearts are being challenged and people are talking.
Praise God! Oh and the enemy is not happy! (Always a good sign.) It's such a privilege to work with a great bunch of folks who have a heart for God and a heart for lost sinners. To stand in the gap and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ at 2am is no easy task. But God is with us! As we continue to serve tea and coffee, give out flip flops and hand out gospel tracts we have encountered many people willing to listen and willing to talk, people who have never heard about being ‘born again’ or that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
People's stories of pain and hurt and feeling there is no hope for their future, we are able to offer them a most abundant future through the finished work of the cross. We have spoken to atheists, agnostics and backsliders but praise God we've known the help of the Holy Spirit in our conversations. Should we never see any conversions our prayer is that seeds would be sown, hearts would be changed and that people would come to repentance and faith alone in Christ.
Please pray for our protection and our families as the Devil seeks to devour and disrupt all that is done for Christ.
David Seifert – Lurgan. ROCK Street Chaplains.
ROCK Publications update
At the heart of ROCK Street Chaplains, is a passion to get the gospel message out there and the distribution of engaging Christian material is central to that. Our team of volunteers regularly meet up to chat about our outreach experiences, what people are asking and are struggling with. From that we’ve found that designing our own leaflets has worked really well.
This year we reprinted a few of the tracts we felt were successful from last year. We also designed a new tract this year which lists ‘40 Reasons for God’ to give to those more intellectually inquisitive. We have printed a QR code on all of our new leaflets now so that further enquiry about faith can be made on our website using their phone.
We also launched a fresh new website in September as our old one was very out dated. Check it out! Our new website reflects the expansion that ROCK has seen in the last few years in particular and the changing roles within the team. We believe that with young people increasingly turning to the internet for answers about Christianity and to even find out more about us, we need to have a better online presence that can engage with them.
Despite still being a popular resource, especially for new students, our Dundee Church Guide is now over 4yrs out of date and so we will be looking to update this leaflet in the coming year. Perhaps you could sponsor a box of leaflets for this.
In January of this year, we had a great opportunity to showcase the work of Street Chaplains when our founder and co-ordinator Mr Andrew Robert Burns BEM was awarded in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. I’d like to congratulate Andy on his great work in Dundee! Those who’ve met him recently will know how chuffed he was to receive his British medal from the monarch. From a publicity point of view, the upsurge of public interest in Street Chaplains after Andy’s award was enormous; from newspapers and radio stations in Dundee, Co Down and Lurgan to social media all sharing his story and, importantly, sharing the work of Street Chaplains. (Click ‘Media’ on our website)
Finally, this coming year, ROCK Street Chaplains will celebrate its 20th anniversary and we have already started to plan for a thanksgiving event, hopefully in early Autumn. It will be the first time we have properly had an event to celebrate a milestone for our ministry. Please pray that planning would go smoothly and that the churches and volunteers that have partnered with us over the decades would take part as we thank God for 20yrs of witness in Dundee’s night-time economy, and that from the occasion there would be a new leash of life for our ministry.
Callum Bowsie – ROCK Publications co-ordinator
May you all have a blessed Christmas and know God’s blessing in 2019.
Yours in Christ
Andy and Marina Burns
Bank Details: Urban Impact Christian Ministries. Royal Bank of Scotland.
Sort-code 83-5000 Account Number 10308447
Montrose Festival this year has been mad. We had some great chats with people. Mostly an older crowd but still open to talk about spiritual things. Thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers!
Our founder and coordinator Andrew Burns has been awarded an BEM for service to the community in Dundee in the Queen's New Years's Honours List. He recently collected his medal in Dundee Council Chambers. Present with him were his family and supporters. Andy and his wife Marina were also invited to the Queen's garden party in July along with other recent medalist. Well deserved Andy!
Read press reports on Andy's award in our newspaper achieve
Thoughts on Street Chaplains witnessing on William Street, Lurgan.
You may ask why we have decided to get involved in Street Chaplains Outreach. Why does anyone want to stay out until 2 or 3am on a Friday and Saturday night when they would usually be tucked up in bed? We will come back to that question later. First, let me tell you about how Street Outreach has evolved.
Modelled on Dundee
Street Chaplains started in Scotland eighteen years ago. As many of you reading this article may already know, Andy Burns has consistently led the team across the Irish Sea. They reach out to the people of Dundee three nights a week on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The overall aim is to spread the good news of Jesus. Furthermore, the Scottish team have become acquainted with the practice of sharing the good news, not only on the streets, but in the nightclubs too! Over the course of the past four years, Street Chaplains have also ventured into the arena of Festival Outreach, attending festivals and concerts where hundreds and thousands of opportunities are rife.
How Lurgan started
What brought the Street Chaplains to Lurgan town? Well, the answer is quite simple. Our team leader saw the need to reach souls for Christ in our local town. Another group of Christians had previously set up on William Street and had therefore created a good rapport with many of the locals. This was no longer in operation so it made sense that we would continue the good work that had begun there. The hope was that our team in Lurgan would be modelled on the Dundee Street Chaplains’ style of outreach, which has proven very successful to date. Andy and his team have seen numerous people come through for Christ on the streets of Scotland’s fourth largest city.
Lurgan Street Chaplains began their journey in December 2016 and since then we have met once a month on a Friday and Saturday night. We provide simple things like bottles of water, tea, coffee, biscuits and flip-flops for the ladies who may have painful feet after an evening spent wearing heels. This, along with the offer of a lollipop, often opens up a doorway to speaking to those who would not otherwise entertain the idea.
Why do outreach
Some of our team have explained their reasons for joining Lurgan Street Chaplains. Ultimately, as disciples of Christ, we are called to express and expand our faith. Matthew 28:19-20 instructs us: ‘Go, you therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.’ We can view serving the Lord not only as a commendable thing to do but as an ‘act of obedience’ to Him. Each member of our team collectively has talked about the cold, hard truth: there are countless souls on the streets of Lurgan each week who have never heard the truth of the Gospel. It has been and will continue to be our mission to shine our light into the darkness.
Of course, this does not come without a cost and we each have faced challenges. We would appreciate prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit as well as help to remember verses from God’s Word when we are conversing. Tiredness is also another factor to consider, especially when our team is out for two consecutive nights until 2 or 3am. Being able to give good, Biblical reasons for our beliefs and dealing with difficult questions can also be testing. The devil can also attempt to intervene by sending us those who will make us temporarily question our ability to minister on the streets in this way. Perhaps one of the toughest challenges is hearing people reject and mock our Saviour. However, we know this was the case when Jesus, Himself, was on the cross, as well as throughout history; therefore, the precedent has been set and continues today. Jesus informed us that, ‘In the world you will face tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’(John 16:33)
Strengthened by God
Yes, the team have endured challenges, but on a more positive note, this has not deterred us. We know that, ‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’(Ephesians 6:12) This is why we are told to put on the full armour of God. One thing that we, as Christians, must constantly remind ourselves of is, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). If the Creator of all that we see and experience in this life is there to support us and send His Holy Spirit, what else do we need? He is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. How great is our God that he spoke our world into existence and so intricately designed everything and created each one with his or her own purpose? In addition to this, God saw that man had chosen to turn his back on God and serve himself rather than worship his maker. Still, God demonstrated that He so desperately loved us when He sent His own son to die in our place as he took on all of our sins of the past, present and future. Each member of our team understands that God has extended mercy and grace to us and we just want to show a glimmer of the hope of Jesus in this dark world.
What have our highlights been?
Each team member will have their own story to tell, but some high points have included being able to simply be there for those who struggle to talk to their family and friends about issues of faith or challenges they are facing in their everyday lives. Being able to demonstrate Jesus’ love in action and in a practical way by offering a simple tea or coffee as well as a listening ear has led to repeat encounters on the streets and thus the development of friendships and trust. It is also very rewarding to be able to say something to a person that causes them to seriously consider Christ. Another highlight is the camaraderie within the team. Everyone works well together and perhaps this is because we feel joy at serving Christ and having that common goal.
Personally, one of the things that I have enjoyed most is seeing someone of a similar age, who perhaps has no hope in life and immense questions about the meaning of life and their purpose, suddenly beginning to turn their eyes towards Jesus. We are told to persevere and we must remember that Jesus’ promises are true. Some of His last, recorded words before He returned to Heaven were, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’. These words ring true and should encourage us to do all we can to spread the Gospel in the short time we have left before Christ returns.
Alison Walker and the Lurgan Street Chaplains Outreach team.
Photos of lurgan street chaplains
Reflecting on Montrose festival. I have had a lot of thoughts. On Friday night a person said God was just like Santa. That did get a sharp reaction. My God is eternal and real, Santa is not. We chatted to a number of people and it was great to share God's love and the gospel with them. We thought about what happened in Manchester and to be honest I was delighted that everyone enjoyed themselves, we will not be fearful, we will dance and sing and enjoy ourselves - that's a quote from The Beach Boys. To that we say "Amen". But as festival chaplains we add that we will not be silenced in our mission to reach the lost for Jesus, and if it rains... well we will dance in it. God bless. To the Montrose Festival committee and everyone involved, thank you for allowing us to be part of your team. Looking forward to next year.
Dundee Street and Club Chaplains recently won STAR Awards Dundee Safer Streets Award. Many thanks to all who helped make this happen.
One missed payment is all it takes to be penniless, alone and on the street — homelessness can strike at any time.
And it can affect anyone, with students increasingly falling foul of landlords, according to one of Dundee’s street chaplains.
Andy Burns, a street chaplain for Urban Impact Christian Ministries, has spent the past 16 years helping those on the city’s streets find a safe haven for the night.
He spoke to the Tele about what’s changed over the years and how his team has adapted to it, as well as a general snapshot of a night with a street chaplain.
It comes as the chaplains have released a video to show the work of the team in Dundee — A Night In The Life of a… Dundee Street Chaplain.
The video shows the chaplains talking to folk on the street, offering them hot drinks and a friendly chat.
A variety of people — including teenagers on a night out as well as the older generation — are spoken to by the volunteers throughout the night.
Andy said: “It’s fairly quiet in town at the moment — it’s always quieter after Christmas but this January is even quieter than usual.
“The main change over the 16 years I’ve been doing this in Dundee has been how much better it’s become — it used to be much worse.
“The problem we’re increasingly tackling is homelessness — and not just the people visible on the streets, there’s a hidden homeless seeping in too, people you wouldn’t expect to be in trouble.
“We’re hearing of students in particular who are left sofa surfing after not having enough of their loan left to pay rent.
“And that’s fine, as long as they have someone willing to offer a sofa, but if that disappears before the next loan comes in then their troubles really begin. We’re here to provide support and guidance to anyone in that situation.”
Andy said the quieter town centre had allowed the chaplains more time to focus on issues such as homelessness, although they still had their work cut out to keep people safe on nights out.
He added: “There’s been such improvement in the services available and the way that we all work together now.
“We have a great relationship with all the agencies involved in safety in the city.
“But legal highs are still a problem and not one we’re particularly geared up to handle.
“They were all over the city at Christmas and we kept coming across them.
“They cause us issues because of the erratic behaviour of people using them.
“We’re all well-trained and mostly experienced first aiders so we know how to deal with people on drink or even on known drugs.
“But legal highs are incredibly unpredictable and so are the people on them.
“It can actually be quite scary watching them. They’re all over the place and you have no idea what they might do. It’s definitely more an issue among students rather than older people — but it’s a dangerous one.
“We’d like some training on legal highs and how to deal with someone on them.
“Some of the legal highs make people act very crazy.
“And we are not always prepared to handle the more extreme cases.
“I’m very glad the new laws banning legal highs came in. The issue may not have got better yet, but it’s stopped getting worse.”
Andy said the Dundee Safe Zone bus was a crucial resource for the chaplains as a safe place to take people regardless of what state they are in.
He added: “The bus is invaluable to us. It gives us a base for people to come to us for help, whether it’s medical or just putting them in a taxi home. Of course, we will also call the police and an ambulance if necessary.”
ROCK Street chaplains
This blog will keep you updated with the latest from the work and ministry of ROCK Street, Club, and Festival Chaplains.