Published: 00:01, 29 April 2018
| Updated: 20:00, 30 April 2018
The new vicar of Rainham has a few tricks up his sleeves which could have his congregation crying hallelujah.
Rev Nathan Ward was welcomed into the parish the day before his 38th birthday.
The father-of-two is a member of the Magic Circle and performs illusions as part of his services.
He said: “I have been using magic and illusions within the church for many years now.
"I think it’s a great way of engaging people and also telling some of the stories you can find in the bible.
"It also allows me to remind people that church should be fun.”
Video: The vicar with a few tricks up his sleeve
Rev Ward was born in Chatham in 1980 and is a former Rochester Math School pupil.
He has mainly worked in prisons including being chaplain at the young offenders unit, Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester.
For 13 years he worked for a multi-national security company, becoming head of an immigration removal centre.
In 2007 was given a National Youth Justice Award by the Attorney General and at this time he completed a masters degree in security at the University of Leicester.
In 2010, following the birth of his first child he founded The 139 Club, a charity which runs courses to help prepare new parents.
In 2011, he started his career in the church by training at the South East Institute for Theological Education.
He was ordained in 2014 and served his curacy as a minister in the parish of Holy Trinity South Chatham.
Three former vicars of St Margaret’s were at the service to welcome Rev Ward, which was led by the Bishop of Rochester, The Rt Rev, James Langstaff.
Rev Ward, who is married to Kayleigh and has a son and a daughter, said: “It is a privilege to be the new vicar of Rainham and I look forward to meeting the many groups and schools within the community.
“I am looking forward to working with existing groups to help support and transform the lives of those in Rainham and beyond.”