A FORMER paratrooper who dedicated his life to God after two near death experiences in the army has started as a minister at Pinner Free Church.
Jamie Kidd, 31, began his journey to becoming a minister when he was serving in Iraq when a piece of shrapnel from a nearby explosion almost killed him: "One big piece of metal smashed the side of the Land Rover and knocked me back. When I came to my senses I had the strange experience that someone was looking after me and it was God."
This experience was confirmed after he was training in the elite parachute regiment at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire and his first parachute failed to open. The father-of-two said: "This time I had a gut instinct something was wrong when I jumped out of the plane. My first parachute didn't open so I pulled the emergency cord. If you have never prayed before it's a good time to start. The second one came out and saved my life. I have always believed in God, but I have never felt it before."
The new minister started training a year ago at Spurgeons College, a baptist theological college in South London after spending five years as a public speaker, visiting prisons, schools and orphanages in 23 countries.
Mr Kidd, who lives in Elm Park with his wife Amy and sons Samuel, who is three on October 2 and Joseph, one, said: "I have seen thousands of lives saved by Christianity, and it is especially relevant in today's society. A lot of people write off Christianity as rubbish, but they have never asked God if he exists."
As a self-confessed wild teenager and "angry paratrooper" he believes having a relationship with God can help guide members of soceity, especially the young: "As we have seen from the riots people are lacking moral guidance. The world has been turned into a giant neighbourhood, but we are lacking the brotherhood."
The minister, who moved to Pinner from Colchester, and took his first official service last Sunday (25) and has two more years of training before he becomes an ordained minister, said: "People ask whether God is relevant today and see they have a young minister here who is a normal person and I want to make our church as open and available as possible to everyone in the community."