EVER heard the one about the church minister who takes his pet parrots for a walk?
Well anyone out on Flint High Street might see the odd scene played out for real.
A clergyman with a penchant for parrots is settling into Flintshire life having converted to Christianity from the Muslim faith.
Bangladesh-born Rev Montaz Ali was ordained as the new minister of Flint Evangelical Church earlier this month.
The man of the cloth, who first favoured a career as a fighter pilot before a ‘divine intervention’ saw him turn to the Church, told the Leader how Christianity has “transformed his life”.
But it is his colourful pet parrots that have caused the biggest flutter around town, with Rainbow, the family’s blue and gold macaw, and Echo, a blue crowned conure, becoming a well-known sight.
“We walk around the town with them on their leash,” said Mr Ali. “When we are in fields and open spaces we let them fly.
“They have been causing quite an interest and they are a good way of meeting people and introducing myself to the community.”
Mr Ali gave his first sermon at the church on Cornist Road less than two weeks ago.
“People have been very welcoming and I am really happy to be here,” he said. “I am looking forward to working in the community which is similar to where I grew up in the West Midlands.
“I am enjoying finding out more about Flint and people have already been noticing me about with my parrots when I take them for a walk around the town.”
Mr Ali moved to the West Midlands at the age of six as a member of a practising Muslim family, but was taken into state care following the death of his mother.
In early life had harboured ambitions of becoming a fighter pilot after being inspired by the film Top Gun, which came out while he was in his mid-teens.
But his life changed after he accepted a chance invitation to attend a church service.
“It made an instant impact and my life totally changed,” he said.
“Christianity has made a remarkable difference to me and I have found a real joy in helping others find God and find contentment in life.
“My family are still practising Muslims and there is never any issue between us about it.
“They respect and are interested in my choice just as other members of the Muslim faith are.”
Before training in theology to become a minister in Bridgend, South Wales, Mr Ali worked as an engineer until the age of 30.
Ten years on, having since been a pastor in Kent, he along with wife Naomi and one-year-old daughter Tiffany, have made the move to Flint.