27/12/2015 Songs of Praise


27/12/2015

Connie Fisher celebrates the biggest musical moments and stories of faith from the past year, including the FA Cup Fans Choir singing Abide With Me at Wembley.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to a special edition of Songs of Praise

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from our home in MediaCity in Salford.

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As we celebrate some of the best musical moments

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and memorable stories from the past year.

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We also have a special performance by West End star Shaun Escoffery.

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We'll discover how one man's faith helped him find forgiveness.

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As soon as I got hold of his hand,

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there was something passed between us.

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I can only say it was the Lord working.

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And after singing Abide With Me in front of 90,000 people

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at the FA Cup Final at Wembley,

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our Fans Choir reunites to relive one of the biggest days of their lives.

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It's good talking to other members that were in the choir

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because I think family and friends back home

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are getting fed up with me going on about it now!

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Of course, as well as our highlights,

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we'll have a rich mix of hymns and worship songs from around the UK.

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And as I'm from Wales, I'm pleased to say we're starting in Cardiff.

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We've had the most incredible year of music

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with nearly 100 special guest performances

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alongside hymns and songs from more

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than 80 churches, cathedrals and worship halls across the UK.

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It's been quite a year.

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# Oh, happy day Oh, happy day!

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# When I get to heaven Oh, happy day!

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# I'm going to walk the streets Oh, happy day... #

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# Grant that daily we may prove

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# Those who place their trust in thee... #

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# Songs of praises, songs of praises

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# I will ever give unto thee

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# Songs of praises, songs of praises

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# I will ever give unto thee... #

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# Amazing grace!

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# How sweet the sound

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# That saved a wretch like me... #

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# In heavenly love abiding

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# No change my heart shall fear

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# And safe is such confiding

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# For nothing changes here... #

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# How great thou art

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# How great thou art... #

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THEY SING Gwyl Y Baban

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# O worship the King

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# All-glorious above

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# O gratefully sing

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# His power and his love... #

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# When love was king

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# Oh-oh-oh-oh

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# When love was king... #

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# Don't let me fall

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# And don't let go

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# Walk with me

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# And never leave

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# Ever close, God abide with me... #

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And from one incredible musical montage to a powerful performance

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of a seasonal favourite

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from West End star Shaun Escoffery.

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# A ray of hope flickers in the sky

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# A tiny star lights up way up high

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# All across the land Dawns a brand-new morn

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# This comes to pass When a child is born

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# A silent wish sails the seven seas

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# The wind of change Whispers in the trees

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# All the walls of doubt Crumble tossed and torn

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# This comes to pass When a child is born

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# A rosy hue settles all around

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# You've got the feel You're on solid ground

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# For a spell or two No-one feels forlorn

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# This comes to pass When a child is born

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# It's all a dream, an illusion now

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# It must come true Sometime soon somehow

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# All across the land Dawns a brand-new morn

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# This comes to pass When a child is born

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# This comes to pass

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# When a child is born

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# When a child is born. #

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As well as wonderful singing from all four corners of the UK,

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we've met a whole range of extraordinary people

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with some truly inspirational stories.

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Nick Vujicic is an internet sensation whose antics have gone viral

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as he refuses to let severe disability stand in his way.

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They call it phocomelia which means a baby being born without limbs

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with no medical reason.

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When I was 15 years old, I read John chapter 9 - a man was born blind,

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and no-one knew why he was born that way

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and I'm like, "Oh, I can relate to that!"

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And Jesus said it was done

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so that the works of God would be revealed through him.

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And I thought, wow,

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if Jesus had a plan for a blind man then he has a plan for me.

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One man's devout faith was at the heart of another remarkable story.

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In 1979, Michael Ho faced starvation after being stranded

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at sea for 17 days with nearly 80 other Vietnamese boat people

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including a mother and her newborn baby.

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I said, "If you save the baby, Lord,

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"I promise you, I will be a good man."

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And suddenly, I looked out in the ocean.

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A British cargo ship from nowhere suddenly appeared from the ocean.

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Michael later became a priest and 36 years on was finally reunited

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with his British rescuers, Ian and Jenny McBain.

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Nice to meet you again. Thank you for saving our lives.

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HE SNIFFS

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One of the most extraordinary stories actually came

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from one of our viewers.

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David Hinkins wrote to Songs of Praise to tell us

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how his father, George,

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sacrificed his life to save crew members of a British aircraft carrier

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when it was attacked by a Japanese kamikaze pilot.

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I was quite amazed to find out that I had a father that was a hero

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but at the same time, I missed him, definitely.

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I still do.

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David's attempts to find out more about the pilot drew a blank,

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but a Japanese TV team heard his story

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and, amazingly, managed to trace the pilot's brother

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and brought a video message to play to David.

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After the story was broadcast on Songs of Praise,

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David accepted an offer from an anonymous businessman to travel

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to Japan to meet the brother of the kamikaze pilot, Yoshinari Kurose.

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When we met in the tea garden, as soon as I got hold of his hand,

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there was something passed between us.

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I can only say it was the Lord working.

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And we just had a mutual understanding.

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I wanted to offer forgiveness and reconciliation,

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erm, which he accepted.

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And everything came together. It was the Lord's timing.

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He knew when it was right to do this and we just got on and did it.

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Coming up, we'll betaking a look back at some high-profile stories

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of faith which really made an impact.

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First though, another musical highlight, this time

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from Keswick with worship leader, composer and singer Stuart Townend.

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As we're all too familiar,

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2015 has been a year dominated by the refugee crisis and acts of terrorism,

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and whether it be in Paris, Tunisia or the Jungle in Calais,

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on Songs of Praise, we've aimed to reflect the mood of the nation

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as some of these events have unfolded and touched all our lives.

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The threat of terrorism was a subject His Royal Highness Prince Charles

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focused on during a special interview with Diane Louise Jordan in February.

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I find it heartbreaking that these sort of things should happen.

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The frightening part is that people can be so radicalised

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either through contact with somebody else or through the internet

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and the extraordinary amount of crazy stuff that is on the internet.

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I think the secret is we have to work harder to build bridges and

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we have to remember that our Lord taught us to love our neighbour.

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To do to others as you'd have them do to you and just

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to go on despite the setbacks and despite the discouragement,

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to try and build bridges and to show justice and kindness to people.

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And faith was very much in focus

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in the midst of one of the year's other headline stories,

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the migrant crisis affecting Europe.

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In August, Sally visited Calais

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and, in particular, the camp known as the Jungle.

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So this is the church. It's surrounded by rubbish.

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It's clearly makeshift and temporary, but it is a church and...

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there's something rather striking about it and it clearly

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brings a lot of comfort to many of the Christians who live here.

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Inside, it was clear just how important this church

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was to its worshippers.

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It seems that a lot of effort and care has gone into this.

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All of us just... We love this church.

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More than ourselves, you know?

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Despite the huge controversy surrounding the very existence

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of the camp, UK Christian volunteers were clear

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about the importance of their mission to support the people there.

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A lot of people at home where you come from are unhappy

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about helping migrants, feel they shouldn't be here

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and if they are here, they shouldn't be encouraged.

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That's very sad, really, that people feel that way.

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But that's not how the church feels.

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That's what the church is here for, to reach the lost, the poor,

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and the hopeless.

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More recently, in November,

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the people of Paris drew on their faith and solidarity

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as multiple terrorist attacks left the whole country

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and the wider world stunned.

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The leaders of the Anglican and Catholic churches

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spoke exclusively to Songs of Praise.

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My wife and I lived in Paris for five years

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and it was one of the happiest places we've lived

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and to think of a place of such celebration of life...

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..seeing such suffering is utterly heartbreaking.

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I just kept thinking of people who had gone out for a drink,

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who had gone out for a meal, gone out to a football match

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and were not coming home. Had just been slaughtered.

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The terrorists, of course,

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believe they're doing all this to glorify their god.

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Just because someone believes something deeply wrong,

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it doesn't mean that they're right in some strange way

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because they put God in it.

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The perversion of faith is one of the most desperate aspects

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of our world today.

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I think their intention is completely distorted

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in terms of any claim over religious motive,

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and, as Pope Francis has said, their actions are a blasphemy against God.

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# Deep peace Of the running wave to you

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# Deep peace Of the flowing air to you

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# Deep peace Of the quiet Earth to you

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# Deep peace Of the shining stars to you

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# Deep peace Of the gentle night to you

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# Moon and stars Pour their healing light on you

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# Deep peace of Christ

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# The light of the world

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# Of the world to you

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# Deep peace of Christ

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# To you. #

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Still to come, we'll be catching up

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with the Songs of Praise FA Cup Fans Choir,

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to relive some of the best moments from their big day out

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at the Cup Final at Wembley.

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But first, another musical treat from London.

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Now, as you know, we love hearing choirs on Songs of Praise.

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Perhaps our most memorable musical moment of 2015

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was when our FA Cup Fans Choir sang Abide With Me

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alongside 90,000 fans at the Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in May.

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The FA Cup is one of sport's biggest events,

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watched by a global audience of around 500 million people.

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To celebrate this amazing event,

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Songs Of Praise decided to put together a choir like no other

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for our biggest ever sing-along.

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64 football fans, each one from a football club that made it

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to the third round, descended on Wembley.

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I'm from Bradford. I'm from Chelsea.

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We played each other a couple of months back.

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And Aled Jones was there to meet them.

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Anyone excited about singing in Wembley? Yes! Yes.

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Our budding Cup choristers found it daunting at first

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and some struggled to hit the right note.

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Now, I can hear I'm going to have to work with a few of you.

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HE SINGS OFF-KEY

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But with help from conductor Steve Thompson,

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and a few slightly unusual warm-up techniques,

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our own FA Cup team soon found that they were not only pitch-ready

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but were forging some unexpected friendships too.

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All the best. All the best to you too next season!

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Together, they faced the Wembley crowd

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and with singing star Alfie Boe leading them on,

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inspired 90,000 spectators

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to deliver an iconic rendition of this classic hymn.

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# Abide with me

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# Fast falls the eventide

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# The darkness deepens... #

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Seven months later, the choir are back

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and it's like time hasn't passed.

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Musical director, Steve Thompson, has responded to a Christmas appeal

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from the people of Totton near Southampton.

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They said, "Steve, would you come and switch the lights on?"

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I said, "I'd be honoured to do that."

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But I thought for one moment,

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could I possibly bring the FA Cup choir back together

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to help me put the lights on?

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So I sent out a gentle Facebook message and it was unanimous -

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"Steve, we'll come and do it."

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'Not only switching the lights on...'

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CHEERING

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550 kids have made these lanterns

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and they're going to have a parade through the streets.

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So the choir's going to be a part of the parade,

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then later on in the evening, we're going to do a concert

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where they'll perform five songs.

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Here's one that we can all sing along to!

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O Come All Ye Faithful. Together!

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# O come all ye faithful

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# Joyful and triumphant... #

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Whether there's two of us or there's 64, in some ways, it doesn't matter.

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But because there's that great bond, it's wonderful to see everybody.

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And it's good talking to other members that were in the choir

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because I think family and friends back home

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are getting fed up with me going on about it now!

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In July, I'm getting married

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and I've asked Vicky to be one of my bridesmaids

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because we've become really good friends.

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Putting God centre stage at the Wembley FA Cup Final was

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so important for me

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because I got ordained a month later.

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Well, I've got a tattoo of the FA Cup on my arm.

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I wanted to get a Christian tattoo anyway,

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and I wasn't quite sure what to get, so I just thought, "That's it."

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Some great memories of a choir

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that seems to be taking on a life of its own.

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# ..Abide with me. #

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Stirring stuff from the Wembley faithful

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and our FA Cup Fans Choir there.

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Well, I do hope you've enjoyed our best moments,

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musical and otherwise, from over the past year

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and next week, it'll be 2016

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and Aled Jones will be in the north-east to discover how chickens

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are helping pensioners to combat loneliness during the January blues.

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To end today,

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we have a fantastic rousing hymn from just down the road in Manchester.

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Thank you for watching and have a very happy New Year.

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# Out there in the dark

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# Out there in the dark

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# There's a beckoning candle, yeah

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# And while I can think

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# While I can talk

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# While I can stand

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# While I can walk

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