31/01/2016 Songs of Praise


31/01/2016

Libby Lane, the first female bishop in the Church of England, reflects on the challenges and excitement of the past 12 months and comes face to face with her portrait.


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Transcript


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Wow. York Minster, it's magnificent, isn't it?

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Just a year ago,

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Libby Lane walked down this very aisle and into the history books,

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becoming the first woman bishop in the Church of England.

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So, today on Songs Of Praise, she reflects on the challenges

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and she prepares to see herself captured on canvas.

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The real privilege has been not to be the first to open this door,

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but then to hold it open.

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One of those following Libby is Ellie Bangay.

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She's York Minster's first female curate

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and the youngest in the country.

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Richard Taylor is in another cathedral, Canterbury,

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exploring its links with the 12th-century Chaucer.

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And seven months after the devastating terrorist attack

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on holiday-makers in Tunisia, I have come to hear how one survivor

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is coming to terms with his terrifying ordeal.

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That's when I realised that I was probably going to die.

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In honour of Libby Lane's first year as a bishop,

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many of our hymns today are written and performed by women,

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and we begin with a traditional favourite by Fanny Crosby,

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brought right up-to-date with a modern accompaniment.

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And it's led by Nathan Jess.

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# Oh, whoa-oh... #

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# Oh, whoa

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# Whoa-oh... #

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# Oh, whoa

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# Whoa-oh

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# Yeah!

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# Oh, whoa-oh

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# Whoa-oh

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# Great things... #

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The Canon of the Church of England, authorised by...

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On the 26th January 2015, in York Minster, Libby Lane was

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consecrated as the first female bishop in the Church of England.

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It's been 12 months of new experiences, challenges

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and a few surprises, not least when her former college

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asked her to sit for her first portrait.

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And do you just want me to stand here like a spare part?

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-Pretty much.

-LAUGHTER

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For me, it's been a year of real delight.

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There have been a number of surprises.

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I've found myself in unexpected places -

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standing in the middle of a field, giving prizes to the best cow

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at the Cheshire Show.

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There's also been the opportunities that,

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quite rightly, will never be in the public profile.

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The conversations with those who have been bereaved.

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When, in July, lives were lost in an explosion at a local wood mill,

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Bishop Libby ministered to a community deeply shaken by the disaster.

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But challenges have come in many forms, and opposition to her

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appointment was vocalised even at her consecration.

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-MAN:

-No, not in the Bible!

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With respect, Your Grace,

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I ask to speak on this absolute impediment, please.

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Although I'm not unrealistic about the problems that we face,

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I'm glad that I belong to a church that allows opposition to be voiced.

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That we can disagree with each other

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and still belong to one another in Christ.

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It takes some getting used to,

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that my own face is going to be recorded for ever.

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So I wanted your eye to be fed into the portrait,

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passed through her hands, her Episcopal ring,

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and through her, ultimately, to end up on her faith.

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The contribution of women to every area of life,

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throughout time, has been enormous but often undervalued.

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And, until very recently, almost entirely unrecognised publicly.

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So, right now, I'm a little bit tense because we're about to show

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Bishop Libby the portrait for the first time.

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Ready for the big reveal?

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This is where I've got to so far.

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Tom, that is absolutely marvellous.

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-It-It looks like me, which is always a good thing.

-Wonderful. That's a good start, yeah.

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-And I think it looks like I'm about to smile.

-Yeah.

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-Really happy. Thank you, Tom.

-Pleasure. Absolute pleasure.

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'People do speak of what I'm doing as being a pioneer.'

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But I feel like somebody who is walking in the footsteps

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of countless women and men

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who have actually prepared the road for me to be able to walk.

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York Minster is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in northern Europe.

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No wonder it attracts thousands of visitors every year.

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For centuries, people have been making pilgrimages

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to Britain's great cathedrals.

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Richard Taylor, our church detective,

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is heading to Canterbury to discover more about its links with

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Chaucer and those famous pilgrims of his in The Canterbury Tales.

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In The Canterbury Tales, written in the 1380s,

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30 pilgrims meet at an inn in London

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en route to visit the shrine of St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury.

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They're a mixed bunch - a noble knight, a worldly prioress,

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a disgusting miller and, of course, the irrepressible wife of Bath.

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They decide to travel together, and they also decide that

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on the way, to pass the time, they will tell each other stories.

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The Canterbury Tales.

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Canterbury is a couple of days' ride from London,

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and you can well imagine the pilgrims trotting along one

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of the old pilgrim ways like this one, singing their songs

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and telling their tales until they'd round the corner...and there it was.

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Canterbury Cathedral is an amazing sight now,

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but, back then, it must have looked like a spaceship had landed.

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Like God's own palace had fallen from Heaven to earth.

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But nothing, nothing would have prepared them

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for what they were about to experience.

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Entering the cathedral was a sensory explosion -

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the heavy scent of the incense,

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the chanting of the monks, the brightly-painted walls

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and the columns that seemed to stretch up to Heaven.

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They came because if they visited these holy sites,

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they thought it would get them quicker to Heaven.

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But they also came because, at most of these sites,

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they were learning that miracles were taking place.

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And, of course, if you had something wrong with you, you would want

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to go on one of these pilgrimages to one of these holy sites

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in the hopes that whatever was wrong with you would in fact be cured.

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And were people coming for fun?

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I know you like to think that they probably came on organised

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package tours...

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Erm, to a certain extent, yes. Because Chaucer's Canterbury Tales,

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you have this jolly band of pilgrims coming down to Canterbury

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and there was a prize for the one that told the best tale.

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Did Chaucer himself come to Canterbury?

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I don't know of any written document that says Chaucer actually came,

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but I think, as Master of the King's Works, he would have been down.

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Because so much of Canterbury Cathedral was rebuilt

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towards the end of the 1300s.

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And Chaucer would have been here to oversee it, of course.

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If Chaucer did visit Canterbury, then he would've walked up

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these steps, worn away by countless pilgrims through the centuries.

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And when they reach the top,

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they'd see the miracle windows shining like jewels above them.

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The windows are an amazing record, showing real pilgrims, the tomb

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itself and some of the miracles that are said to have taken place here.

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They're like postcards from the past,

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showing you how this place really looked.

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Until, finally, they came to Thomas's tomb.

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Becket's tomb was destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII in 1538,

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and now a single candle marks the spot where it stood.

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But nothing could destroy the sense of wonder that it left with

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the pilgrims who came here, or the traces that they left behind them.

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Or the feeling that it still leaves visitors with today.

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BELL CHIMES

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-MALE VOICE:

-# Lift up your heads, O ye gates

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# And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors... #

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Choral singing is an important tradition in this country

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and we like to celebrate

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and encourage it in our School Choir of the Year competition.

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It features some of the country's finest young voices.

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This year, the final will be held at Sheffield City Hall, and if you'd

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like to be part of the audience,

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there are still some tickets available.

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Aled Jones will be hosting,

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and the all-important dates are Saturday the 27th

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and Sunday the 28th of February.

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To apply for your free tickets,

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contact the Songs Of Praise office by going to the website...

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Here's a taster from last year's competition.

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# O come, let us sing

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# Sing unto the Lord

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# Let's make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation

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# Come before his presence with thanksgiving in our hearts

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# We'll make a joyful noise unto him

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-# As we sing

-Halle-lujah

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-# As we sing

-Halle-lujah

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# For the Lord is great

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# Greatly to be praised

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# Praised

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# Praised

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# Praised

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# For the Lord is great

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# Greatly to be praised

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# Praised

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# Praised

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# Praised

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# O come, let us worship

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# Bow down and worship

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# Bow before the Lord

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# For he is the Lord, our maker

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# He is our God and we are his people

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# We'll make a joyful noise unto him

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-# As we sing

-Halle-lujah

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-# As we sing

-Halle-lujah

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-# We sing

-Halle...

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-# We sing

-..Lujah

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# Hallelujah

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-# We sing

-Holy

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-# We sing

-Worthy

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# To the Lord

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-# Power

-Power!

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-# And strength

-And strength!

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-# Belong

-To you!

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# For ever and ever

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-# Power

-Power!

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-# And strength

-And strength!

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-# Belong

-To you!

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# For ever and ever

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-# For ever and ever

-For ever and ever

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-# For ever and ever

-For ever and ever

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# For ever and ever

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# For ever and ever

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# For ever and ever

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# Amen

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# Amen

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# Amen! #

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For many people, lighting a candle and saying a prayer can bring

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great comfort during times of grief and sorrow.

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Seven months ago, 38 people, including 30 British citizens,

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were murdered in a terror attack by a lone gunman in Tunisia.

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David Grant has been to hear one story from a survivor.

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Last June, Colin Bidwell and his wife joined thousands of British

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holiday-makers who jetted off for some sun, sea and relaxation.

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It was one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in in Tunisia.

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The food was great, the staff were fantastic and the weather was good.

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It was just perfectly what we wanted.

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Little did Colin know that this tranquillity was about to be

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broken in the most devastating way.

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15 Britons are now known to have died in the attack

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on a tourist resort in Tunisia.

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And the Foreign Office says that number may well rise.

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The sound...

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I just naturally thought possibly a firework had just went off.

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And then, the second shot,

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I realised it was obviously some sort of gunfire.

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I turned and looked to my wife.

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She was already off her sunbed, running up the beach

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and telling me to run.

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As I leant over, the first round that I felt very close to me

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actually went underneath my arm.

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And I ran to the end of the sunbeds. I was still under fire.

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The gunman was obviously working his way through the sunbeds

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and then that's when I had the moment that I realised

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that I was probably going to die.

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And I ran and swum out to sea.

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It was an attack that would lead to Colin being shot twice.

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Thankfully, both Colin and his wife survived the ordeal.

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Colin soon returned to the UK

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but found that before going home or seeing family, something drew him

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here, to his local church, a place he had rarely visited until now.

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We drove outside the church and just creeped into the main entrance.

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And the congregation were talking about myself and my wife.

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-Really?

-Yeah. It was just an incredible moment.

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I couldn't believe it.

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They were mentioning about what had happened in Tunisia on the Friday

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and that they were aware that possibly

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someone from the village was involved.

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So, me and my wife just looked at each other and decided,

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you know, maybe some significance, I don't know.

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How have you resisted the temptation to hatred?

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I must admit, in the beginning,

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I did find it a little bit difficult, the first few days.

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I had quite a few questions and took myself to the local mosque.

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'When he came to see me, he was horrified, very scared.'

0:22:400:22:44

He asked me about Islam and about Muslims.

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'Well, I've understood, because it has been so fully explained,'

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some of the things I didn't really know about culture and belief

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and the way I feel about things.

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'It's been a great experience for me.'

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For now, Colin is just starting his journey

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and beginning to explore his faith.

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But the events of that day in June

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have had a life-changing impact on him.

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So, there's something in the power of prayer.

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I believe there is a supreme being and, at this moment in time,

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I'm just seeing where this journey takes me.

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But we certainly find comfort in coming to the church, yes, we do.

0:23:240:23:29

# Let your arms enfold us

0:23:290:23:36

# Through the dark of night

0:23:370:23:44

# Will your angels hold us

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# Till we see

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# The light?

0:23:550:24:01

# Hush

0:24:100:24:12

# Lay down your troubled mind

0:24:150:24:21

# The day has vanished

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# And left us behind

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# And the wind

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# Whispering soft lullabies

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# Will soothe

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# So close your weary eyes

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# Let your arms enfold us

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# Through the dark of night

0:25:150:25:23

# Will your angels hold us

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# Till we see

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# The light? #

0:25:360:25:43

York Minster has been here for 800 years, and for the first time

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in its history, they've appointed a female curate.

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At 24, Ellie Bangay is also the youngest curate in the country.

0:26:050:26:10

In her first six months, she's made a big impact,

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with the help of her dog-collared friend.

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-Hi, Ellie. How are you?

-Good, nice to meet you.

-Nice to see you.

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And this must be George of the Minster?

0:26:180:26:20

-Yes, this is George of the Minster.

-Wow!

0:26:200:26:22

-George...

-George!

-Come on.

-Good boy.

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He's made a huge difference because he's so friendly and people

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just want to stop and talk to him and then, by default, to me.

0:26:270:26:31

Ellie, as far as first places to work go, this is spectacular.

0:26:330:26:38

You must feel like pinching yourself every day?

0:26:380:26:41

-Yeah, it's quite something.

-And your role as a curate...

-Yes.

0:26:410:26:44

What does that involve here at the Minster?

0:26:440:26:46

Well, being a curate is kind of like being an apprentice,

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and I can do things like baptisms and funerals.

0:26:490:26:53

I can't yet do weddings or preside at Communions because that's the

0:26:530:26:56

job of a priest, which, hopefully, I will become in the next few months.

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'But there's still so much to do.

0:27:000:27:02

'One of my favourite things is working across the road

0:27:020:27:05

'at the Minster School, doing assemblies there.'

0:27:050:27:09

So Jesus taught us to live in peace alongside other people,

0:27:090:27:12

even when we don't agree with them.

0:27:120:27:14

Ellie is part of the generation for whom women priests are the norm.

0:27:160:27:19

She has only known acceptance.

0:27:190:27:21

It was a different story for the Dean of York Minster,

0:27:210:27:24

the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull.

0:27:240:27:26

In 1994, she was one of the first women to be ordained

0:27:260:27:30

and took on those who disagreed.

0:27:300:27:32

And there are certain... actually, relatively few texts,

0:27:380:27:42

particularly from the New Testament,

0:27:420:27:44

from the Christian Scriptures,

0:27:440:27:46

which would seem to indicate that women shouldn't be in authority.

0:27:460:27:50

Inevitably, it was really hurtful,

0:27:500:27:52

because it felt as if it wasn't just my role that was being rejected.

0:27:520:27:56

It was me, it was personal.

0:27:560:27:58

Now, nearly all of the relationships I have with those who were opposed

0:27:580:28:03

are profoundly friendly because we've had to work through some very,

0:28:030:28:07

very difficult questions together,

0:28:070:28:10

and decide we really do disagree and we disagree quite strongly,

0:28:100:28:16

but we still love one another within the boundaries of the Church.

0:28:160:28:21

And that's very important to me.

0:28:210:28:23

And how does that make you, Ellie, feel?

0:28:230:28:25

Having people who've paved the way to where I am now means that

0:28:250:28:29

I've faced very little opposition.

0:28:290:28:32

Let us pray.

0:28:320:28:33

So I'm just really grateful that it has been such a smooth transition into my job.

0:28:330:28:38

Today, the church remembers Agnes,

0:28:380:28:40

who was martyred at Rome in 304.

0:28:400:28:43

# Just as I am... #

0:28:470:28:51

Well, that's just about it from York Minster

0:30:570:31:00

but, next week, as part of Chinese New Year, Josie d'Arby

0:31:000:31:03

is joining some Chinese Christians on a pilgrimage to some

0:31:030:31:06

little-known historic sites...

0:31:060:31:08

in Barnsley.

0:31:080:31:10

But, for now, we leave you with a great gospel song

0:31:100:31:12

written by two women - Estelle Banks and Sylvana Bell.

0:31:120:31:16

Thanks for watching.

0:31:160:31:17

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