15/05/2016 Songs of Praise


15/05/2016

For Pentecost Sunday Connie Fisher meets the bloggers and tweeters spreading the Christian message. Plus the Benedictine nun and her pet dog with thousands of followers online.


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Transcript


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Do you find yourself, or someone in your family, spending

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hours of their life on one of these?

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Perhaps they're sharing their news

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or pictures of what they had for dinner!

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Well, today marks Pentecost, when the early followers of Jesus

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received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and began spreading

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the word, and today we're meeting people who are doing exactly that.

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I'm joining the Church of England's first online pastor

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and the new internet chat show where the spiritual world meets

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the digital age.

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I'm Vicky Beeching, a self-confessed technology addict, finding

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the online world in a place you might least expect.

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Radzi Chinyanganya visits a church that's taking itself to the

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people by putting itself on wheels.

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And I'm in North Wales,

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retracing the steps of a young Welsh country girl whose

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inspirational journey helped take the Bible from Wales to the world.

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Amongst our music today we have a joyful performance from singer

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and actor Julian Ovenden and hymns to celebrate

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the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church.

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Our opening hymn recalls that first Pentecost and puts the Holy Spirit,

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often referred to as a fire or flame, centre stage.

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LAPTOP BEEPS

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Whether we know it or not,

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most of us are plugged into the digital world in some way or

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another, whether that's using a mobile phone or an internet call

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to family or friends or even looking for a recipe in an app.

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But the idea of going to church online or using the internet to pray

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can feel at odds with what we expect being religious is all about.

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'Here at Christ Church in Little Drayton, the spiritual

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'and digital worlds are coming together in a novel way.'

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The 1,000-strong audience each week don't even need to

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be on time for church. In fact, they don't need to come here at all.

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'That's because this church becomes a pop-up TV studio for a weekly

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'chat show called TGI Monday, or Thank God It's Monday,

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'and viewers watch over the internet.'

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The reason why my phone was ringing

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is because it has to connect to ZeusCam.

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'As the team set up, I'm catching up with presenter Ros Clarke,

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'who's something of a pioneer.'

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Ros, you're the first of a kind.

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Well, you're right, Connie, I'm the first online pastor

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in the Church of England, and

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it means that I don't have a church, I don't have a congregation as such.

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What I do is I use social media as a way of reaching out to people

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who might never come into a church.

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You know, I had a nun once give a very wise comment.

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She said to me that there's a difference between healing and cure.

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Ooh! And I think that's really important, to remember that.

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Do some people think it's a little bit gimmicky?

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I think there are people who worry that what we're trying to do

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is replace church with something that's a bit more consumerist,

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take it or leave it as it suits you.

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And that's not what I'm trying to do.

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It's not replacing the main thing, but it's hoping to add to that.

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Please, if you're going through something like that,

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if you've had experiences of that and you'd like help,

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there are ways to get in touch with us - through the website,

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the Facebook page - and we'd love to point you in the right direction.

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An online chat show sounds like a really different way of doing

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church. Yeah, it is. It's great. We have four of us who get together.

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'We have different views about things, different

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'expressions of Christianity and have a really good time.'

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Awesome. Well, I'd love to check it out. Come and join us!

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Well, we've got a question this week from Zoe Corney,

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who sent this in via Facebook, and she asks...

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'The panel debate a weekly question sent in by viewers

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'from all over the world.'

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When I was in the lab, I used to have a catchphrase when I did

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my lab talks, and it was, "We're looking through a glass darkly."

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And everyone loved that until they found out it was from the Bible.

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It's really exciting to be a part of the show.

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There's cameras all around, and they're just speaking their mind.

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There's absolutely no script. So they just say what they think.

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Connie, you're sitting watching. Come and tell us what you think.

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'And even I get roped in.'

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Tell us what you think about heaven. Ooh, thank you very much!

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Well, do you know what? When I was a kid,

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I used to think that heaven was a really creative place,

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because in The Lord's Prayer, "Our Father, who ART in Heaven..."

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GROANS AND LAUGHTER

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'I saw my chance to ask some questions.'

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So, digital and spiritual, do they mix?

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I think they can in lots of ways. I think

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particularly for people who are a little bit isolated already,

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it's a way that church can really reach out

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and say that you matter, we know you're still there.

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And actually, disabled people getting online have

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discovered that they do have an equal voice in this sector.

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Today we're celebrating Pentecost,

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and it seems that you're doing the same. Yeah.

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It's about getting the word out there,

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the good news about the Lord Jesus, to as many

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people as possible in whatever way they're most likely to hear it.

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Sing together again. Our Father...

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The sound of heaven!

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Spirit break out.

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Let's conclude together. King Jesus...

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At Pentecost, the early followers of Jesus were given the gift

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of being understood in different languages

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in order to spread the word.

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This is a Welsh family Bible that's been passed on to me,

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and to be able to read the Bible in your own language is

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something that we might take for granted.

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As a Welsh lass myself,

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I'm proud to say that we owe a huge debt of thanks to a young Welsh

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girl who embarked on a remarkable journey over 200 years ago.

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'Josie has been retracing her now-famous footsteps.'

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'Mary Jones was born in 1784.

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'This is all that's left of her home in the beautiful

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'countryside of North Wales.'

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Every week, Mary would go to chapel

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and marvel at the stories being read from the pulpit.

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She longed for a Bible of her own

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that she could read in her own language,

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but her family were poor, and Welsh Bibles were scarce and expensive.

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So Mary worked and saved for six years, until finally,

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at the age of 15, she had enough money.

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She heard of a man who had Welsh Bibles to sell in Bala,

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26 miles away.

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So she gathered her savings, said goodbye to her mother

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and set off from this humble stone cottage on foot.

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'Another Mary - Mary Thomas -

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'has for many years been researching the route Mary would have taken.'

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We are about two to three miles outside of Bala.

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Mary Jones would have walked 20-plus miles as far as here,

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and it would be evening time by the time she would have got here,

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and the smoke would be rising from the chimneys

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of the town as she entered down the hill.

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What happened when she got there?

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Thomas Charles, who was a very eminent preacher in this time,

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he didn't have a Bible for sale,

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but he gave her a Bible that he was saving for his friend.

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'The Reverend Thomas Charles was so moved by this young girl's

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'desire to have a Bible of her own that he went on to found

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'Bible Society, which for over 200 years has been making

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'the word of God available around the world.

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'Because of Mary Jones,

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'the Bible has been translated into over 3,000 languages.'

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SHE READS IN WELSH

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'And the memory of Mary is still very much alive in Wales.'

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Today is very special, because 216 years after it left here

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being clutched by Mary Jones,

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her famous Bible is back in Bala.

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'Although now a bank, this is the very building to which Mary Jones

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'came to receive her Bible from Thomas Charles.

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'Today, people have come from far and wide to see her now-priceless

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'edition brought back under the watchful

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'eye of Dr Onesimus Ngundu,

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'guardian of Bible Society texts in Cambridge.'

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That's my first time, actually, to see the safe where it used to be.

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It's amazing to see its original home. Yes!

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Onesimus, for you personally, what does it mean, what she did?

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Here was a teenager being used of God.

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'Little did she know the fruit of her work will affect

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'the rest of the world.'

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Now, all of us, irregardless of who we are,

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we should never underestimate what God can do through us

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even before or after we are gone.

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Mary walked 26 miles for her Bible, but her story has travelled

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far further than she could possibly have imagined.

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Her love for the teachings of the stories of the Bible have

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helped to take those scriptures from Wales to the world.

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Thank you, Mary Jones.

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IN WELSH:

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# The Lord is my shepherd

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# I shall not want

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# He maketh me To lie down in green pastures

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# He leadeth me

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# Beside the still waters

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ALL: # The Lord is my shepherd

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# I shall not want

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# He maketh me To lie down in green pastures

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# He leadeth me

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# Beside the still waters

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# Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

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# I will fear no evil

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# Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

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# I will fear no evil

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# For you are with me

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# You will comfort me

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# You are with me

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# You will comfort me

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# Comfort me

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# Surely goodness and mercy

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# Shall follow me all the days of my life

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# And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

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# Forever

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# Forever

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# Forever. #

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You may have noticed that news of our Christmas-card

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competition has been going viral.

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Just one of our short videos reached more than 140,000 people.

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It's your chance to raise some money for Children in Need

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by creating one of ten winning designs that will go on sale

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later in the year.

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But you've got to be quick. You've only got a week. It's a whole week!

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The deadline is Monday the 23rd of May.

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Now, I've enlisted some of the help of the panel here,

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who have created some interesting designs...

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ROS CHUCKLES ..which may give you

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some food for thought.

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Lovely. Lovely.

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Maybe not this one. Not so much. LAUGHTER

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But if you think you can do better, get creative and spread the word.

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To enter, all the information and terms and conditions

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are on our website...

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Pentecost is a celebration of when the early Church was born,

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often described as the Church's birthday.

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So here's Downton star and singer Julian Ovenden to get us

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in the party mood with his version of Get Happy.

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# Forget your troubles and just get happy

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# You better chase all your cares away

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# Sing hallelujah, come on and get happy

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# Get ready for the Judgment Day

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# The sun is shining, come on and get happy

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# The Lord is waiting to take your hand

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# Shout hallelujah, come on and get happy

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# We're going to the Promised Land

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# We're heading 'cross the river

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# Wash your sins away in the tide

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# In the tide

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# It's all so peaceful

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# Peaceful on the other side

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# Forget your troubles and just get happy

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# You better chase all your cares away

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# Shout hallelujah, come on and get happy

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# Hallelujah!

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# Get ready for the Judgment Day

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# We're heading 'cross the river

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# Wash your sins away in the tide

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# In the tide

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# It's all so peaceful

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# Peaceful on the other side

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# Whoa-oh, whoa, whoa

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# Whoa, whoa, whoa

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# Whoa-oh, whoa, whoa

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# Forget your troubles, come on, get happy

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# So happy!

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# Come on and chase all your cares away

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# Come on, baby, by my side

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# Sing hallelujah, come on, get happy

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# Get happy, get ready

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# Get ready

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# For the Judgment Day

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# Get ready for the Judgment Day!

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# Oh, yes! #

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Next up is someone who is fully immersed in the digital world,

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with tens of thousands of followers online.

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Broadcaster and blogger Vicky Beeching is finding technology and

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tweets in a place you might usually associate with privacy and prayer.

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'Here in rural Herefordshire is the home of an award-winning blogger.

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'Her blogs, or online diaries, have gained quite a following.'

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Hello! Vicky!

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'Sister Catherine Wybourne lives in a Benedictine community,

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'and she's become known as the Digital Nun.'

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Well, this is my monastic cell, where I sleep, read,

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pray...and play with the internet.

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So this is Digital Nun HQ. You could call it that, definitely!

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'From this small room, her websites reach 120 countries

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'and her blog has half a million views a month.'

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When you blog, what sort of topics do you like to cover?

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Anything under the sun.

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I often use the liturgy or the rule of St Benedict or what's

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going on in the world around us.

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Has everyone in your circle of spiritual life been

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supportive of these online endeavours?

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I don't think I would say supportive.

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Erm, some people have been highly critical.

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But I think the Church must be wherever people are,

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and if we retreat from the online world, then I think

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the Church is retreating, too, into its own nice, cosy, safe backwater.

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Many of us find it difficult to put our gadgets down and unplug.

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How do you balance the monastic and the online?

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Well, if I'm writing the blog and the time for Lauds comes -

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that's the morning office of praise - I have to stop the blog

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not quite in the middle of a word

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but certainly at the end of the sentence.

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'And that's great, because it reminds one that there are things

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'rather more important than what one's doing online.

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'That's just an aspect of life.'

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# Quia quem meruisti portare

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# Hallelujah. #

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'Sister Catherine's not alone in her online pursuits.

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'Even the dog, known as Brother Duncan,

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'has his own internet presence.'

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He's my co-blogging partner. He says all the things I daren't,

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but he does like to blog about the big questions,

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so for example how human beings should love one another.

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And the spiritual life is really quire uncomplicated.

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After all, if even a dog can grasp it, we should be able to, too.

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VICKY LAUGHS

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Today's Pentecost Sunday,

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when we remember the Holy Spirit spreading the Gospel like wildfire.

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How do you see your vocation continuing that?

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Well, I think just as the Holy Spirit came down on the young Church

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and gave it the gift of tongues

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and there was Jesus' commission to proclaim the Gospel to all

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nations, I think the internet's given us

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another language that can reach every nation on the Earth.

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At Pentecost, churches all over the UK

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are reaching out to their communities in

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all sorts of ways, but have you ever heard of taking a church

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and putting it on wheels?

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Well, that's exactly what happened recently in Greater Manchester,

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and we sent Radzi to find out more.

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It's a lovely morning, and I'm on my way to church.

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Well, that's not strictly true.

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Actually, the church is on its way to me.

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This is the Mercy Bus, launched by the Roman Catholic

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diocese of Salford, which aims to take the church to the people.

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'The bus is the brainchild of a team led by Father Frankie Mulgrew.'

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The concept is that we're going to have priests on board

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and we're going to park up, and we open the doors

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and the priests are available for people to come on board,

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so either go to confession, receive a blessing or to have a chat

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about anything that might be troubling them.

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That's genuinely amazing.

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I'm a Catholic myself, and my church is nothing like this.

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Where did the inspiration come from?

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I think the inspiration came from Pope Francis himself.

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He's called this Jubilee Year of Mercy,

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and we need to be walking with people,

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we need to be walking next to people and side by side.

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The challenge is we need to be walking with them

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even when they're walking away from the Church.

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So we need to reach out to them, really.

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'Today's bus stop is a superstore car park in Bury,

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'where Father Frankie's team of volunteers

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'are waiting to be given their instructions.'

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May Almighty God bless you through the intercession of Our Lady,

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in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

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We need some people directly at this side,

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but we also need people out left.

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The bus offers the same private space for prayer and confession

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as any other church,

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meaning we need to stay outside with the Saturday shoppers,

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and it's not long before the bus attracts its first visitors.

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I think nothing can really replace the church in terms of the

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experience you would get, but reaching out to the people

0:27:160:27:19

is what it's really about and having the bus here has been incredible,

0:27:190:27:22

really amazing experience.

0:27:220:27:24

People can go on it if they can't get to church

0:27:240:27:28

because they might be busy on some days.

0:27:280:27:30

It might be on schooldays, as well.

0:27:300:27:33

So they can just hop on the bus and talk to the priest.

0:27:330:27:35

Today we've had a great response.

0:27:390:27:41

I mean, we've had about 120 visitors on board the bus

0:27:410:27:44

and there's people that we're meeting

0:27:440:27:46

that they just can't cross the threshold of a church right now,

0:27:460:27:49

so we're coming to meet them halfway, basically.

0:27:490:27:52

And the hope is that when they come on board the bus,

0:27:520:27:54

what they experience on the bus will then inform them

0:27:540:27:56

and help them to make that next step across the church threshold.

0:27:560:28:00

APPLAUSE

0:31:000:31:05

Well, it seems to me that both the digital

0:31:070:31:10

and traditional way of spreading the word

0:31:100:31:13

can exist happily side-by-side,

0:31:130:31:14

as the Christian message is shared

0:31:140:31:17

amongst so many different communities.

0:31:170:31:19

Next week, Pam Rhodes finds out how the re-creation of a 1950s street

0:31:190:31:24

is helping people with dementia,

0:31:240:31:26

and in Liverpool, Claire McCollum

0:31:260:31:28

celebrates a spectacular pageant inspired by Pope John Paul II.

0:31:280:31:34

Until then, our closing hymn

0:31:340:31:35

asks for the Holy Spirit to be a part of our lives today.

0:31:350:31:39

Thank you for watching. Goodbye.

0:31:390:31:41

I want a nice, bold stripe.

0:34:080:34:09

Lace, lace, lace...

0:34:090:34:11

Oh, the haberdashery is amazing.

0:34:110:34:12

# Living in a material world... #

0:34:120:34:16

So that's your skirt so far? We've made you panic.

0:34:160:34:18

It's very hard not to panic!

0:34:180:34:20

Ah! # Living in a material world... #

0:34:200:34:23

It's sexy. Is she making you blush?

0:34:230:34:25

For Pentecost Sunday Connie Fisher meets the bloggers and tweeters spreading the Christian message. Plus the Benedictine nun and her pet dog with thousands of followers online.


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