A FORMER police officer who has been working as a Royal Navy chaplain is taking to the pulpit at Dreghorn and Springside Parish Church.

Former minister at Troon’s Portland Parish Church, The Rev Jamie Milliken is now relishing the prospect of working alongside a “faithful, kind and community-focused” church after being unanimously elected minister a week past on Sunday and now he is set to officially start after his induction service.

Jamie said: “My good friend Neil Urquhart is minister of Fullarton church in Irvine and while Dreghorn and Springside have not had a minister he has been helping to manage and lead the congregation. We go out cycling together, one day he mentioned the church vacancy and commented that he had always found the folks there to be faithful, kind and community-focused. I thought to myself, now that’s the kind of congregation I want to be part of. Things started from there I did a bit of research and then made contact. I’m really happy to be elected minister. They’re a very friendly, welcoming congregation with a desire to faithfully serve in the local community. We share the same goals and I’ll be joining a great team of people. I really enjoyed meeting all the young people, they’re a busy, vibrant Sunday School that’ll keep me on my toes. The Church building has an unusual hexagonal design and from a minister’s point of view, its rounded shape means that the congregation are much closer to me and closer together. When my wife Joanne and I were first discussed a return to parish ministry we both agreed that we were looking for a loving and faithful community to be part of and lead. Through conversations, listening to the congregation’s goals and meeting the congregation we’re convinced we are in the right place. Being a Parish Church, it is a church for everyone, serving and sharing the good news of Jesus through words and loving action. Dreghorn and Springside is positive about the faith we have and truly believe that following Jesus has blessed us. I’m really looking forward to this new calling. Being a Naval Chaplain has given great opportunities to meet younger people who ordinarily would be unlikely to want to talk with a minister or consider what the Christian faith has to offer them. I have been moved to Faslane because I’m leaving the service.”