This is how ‘Pastry and prayer’ was reported in the Baptist Times this week.

Saints on the street 

‘Who is going to join me?’ I ask after the service at Park Road Baptist Church in the heart of Peterborough.

I am so chuffed that out of the 100 or so gathered for the morning service 12 people stay behind and join me to offer shop owners and shoppers a free pastry and prayer.

we split into four teams armed with trays of goodies, a pile of prayer cards and napkins. we take 50 minutes ‘out there’ and 10 minutes afterwards to pray together as a team. on my return I am delighted to see the team buzzing with excitement as their experience of collectively offering 200 pastries and cakes is a positive one.

There wasn’t a single unkind word or negative response to the gesture, and between us all we managed to gather around 50 requests for prayer ranging from wishes for better business success to a heartfelt plea for a relative with skin cancer.

My pastry tray carrying buddy for the exercise was the Revd Tim Edworthy, minister of Park Road. This is his take on last Sunday.

‘It’s a simple idea! In twos and threes we went into shops offering a free pastry and also free prayer to shop-workers. In other words, we were taking a gift of grace and of prayer to a group of people who would not normally be able to get to a church service, even if they wanted to.

‘The responses varied. Some accepted the pastry, but had no need of prayer. “My life is fine at the moment” seemed a common comment. others declined the pastry but were glad to pass on a request for prayer. A few were willing to be prayed with there and then.

‘Between the 12 people who went out from my church as “saints on the streets”, we must have had some contact with 50 or more people who are not Christians during just an hour.

‘It’s said that Christians and non-Christians share the same view

It’s said that Christians and non-Christians share the same view of evangelism:

neither of them like it of evangelism: neither of them like it! Yet pastries and prayer was a non-threatening way of sharing just a little of the love of God.’

when we gathered together afterwards to pray at the church building we divided up the prayer cards randomly among ourselves with the prayer information. After praying in pairs we then swapped the cards with someone else in the team and prayed in pairs once more.

I challenged the team to keep the cards they had, and to spend time praying for the people detailed on their cards throughout the week. I took two cards out of the 50 home with me, with requests gathered from team members who had visited different streets than I had.

The next day after hitting the streets I was in Peterborough again, interviewing a student for our training course in community evangelism. Afterwards, I hurriedly walked down one of the streets to get back to the car as the parking ticket had run out. I noticed a lady picking up small glass balls up off the street and at first I thought that her bracelet must have broken and that she was picking up some precious jewelled beads. I stopped and stooped down to help by gathering a small handful of the beads.

when I handed over all the beads I could find, the lady explained that some men had just been in her shop and as they left she noticed that one of them had taken some of the solitaire glass marbles she was selling. She chased them down the road and as the men fled they threw the marbles on the streets. She was really upset.

After talking for a while I explained to the lady that I would pray for her shop and for her protection. I mentioned to her that only the day before I had sent some teams of people to go out and about to offer prayer. I look up and down the street and ask which one is her shop. It transpired that she is the manager of a shop called Pic and Pay.

I stand in the street and for once am speechless. out of 50 prayer cards from the previous day, Pic and Pay is one of the two that I took home.

The Revd Chris Duffett is an evangelist and vice-president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain

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