A new pastor who turned his back on cannabis to preach sermons has been welcomed into the fold by the Christian community.

Reverend Jon Featherstone, 37, was called to Elim Pentecostal Church in South Wimbledon earlier this month after seven years serving in Peterborough.

A former IT home repairs workman, Rev Featherstone turned to Christianity after it helped him overcome a drugs habit.

He said: "I became a Christian at the age of 21. I used to say I was a Christian because I had been to church once. I was going to change but then I went off track and started smoking cannabis.

"Then, one day I was watching a TV programme called Touched by an Angel and I said, 'God if you are really out there I will be an angel for you."

Conversations with his local pastor, who was a colleague on the call desk of a budget insurance company, helped confirm his faith. 

Wimbledon Guardian:

Rev Featherstone with wife Lucisha.

A keen traveller, Rev Featherstone trained at bible college in Florida, USA, before becoming a pastor in his hometown of Peterborough.

He joins the community with his wife, Lucisha, a baker and their three children: Isayah, 14, Esther, 10 and Gracie-Beth, two.

Rev Featherstone said: "We really like the area and it's a great church, great people and we are looking forward to serving the community."

He said the church has organised a number of barbecues and picnics for the summer, with a special harvest event planned for September 21.

While still settling in, plans are already underway to extend the church's foodbank project to other areas in the borough and introduce a jobs desk to help food bank users find work.

Founded in 1915, Elim Pentecostal Church is a growing movement of more than 500 Christian congregations in the UK which seek to be a spiritual resource within their communities.