A FORMER chaplain to Cambridge University is taking up the reins as Senior Minister at Dorchester Baptist Church.

James East sees himself as predominantly a preacher and evangelist, reaching out to people in the community.

Taking over a leading Dorchester church when the building is closed is unusual, but Mr East believes church is more than a building and the current situation is a great opportunity to talk to people about the big questions they face.

He said: “I’ve always found myself happiest when I’m preaching the Good News and “reaching out” to folk through street evangelism and chaplaincies. Over the last 20 years, my work has been among people of all ages, with a leaning towards secondary school and undergraduate age-groups.”

He added he was very excited about his move to Dorchester: “With God’s help and guidance through the Holy Spirit, I’d love to concentrate on evangelism and reaching out to the community, nurturing people in the Church and worshipping the Almighty.”

Married to Debbie and with three children, Mr East is a keen swimmer and cyclist. He also loves movies, video games and reading.

He has had a book published, “The Pulpit and the Punch Line – What the Preacher can learn from the Comedian” – which explores the potential of using humour and comedy in preaching.

Mr East has for the past six years been Senior Minister at St Andrew’s Baptist Church, Cambridge, where he was also denominational chaplain to the University of Cambridge. He was also Police Force Response Chaplain to Norfolk and Cambridge Constabularies.

Prior to that he was Minister at Norwich Central Baptist Church after a spell as Director of Religious Education and Chaplain at Wymondham College. In the past, Mr East has also been a Chaplain at Hebron House Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre.