Change the World Songs of Praise


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Change the World

Aled Jones meets people who have chosen to help others, and introduces some inspiring hymns.


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What do Edward Jenner,

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Sir Isaac Newton,

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Charles Darwin

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and this man, William Wilberforce, have in common

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apart from that their portraits hang here

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in the National Portrait Gallery?

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Well, they're all people who have, in some way, changed the world.

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On today's Songs Of Praise, we meet people who are also trying

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to make a difference.

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Coming up, changing communities by planting vegetables

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and by making films.

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And why you don't have to be as rich as Bill Gates to make a difference.

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Plus, some classic hymns from around the country.

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Edward Jenner is often called the Father Of Immunology

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because he discovered the smallpox vaccine.

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Son of a Gloucestershire vicar and the eighth of nine children,

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it's said that his work has saved more lives

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than the work of any other man.

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And this one, William Wilberforce - a Yorkshireman, philanthropist,

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politician, evangelical Christian and founder member of the RSPCA,

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but he's best known for his part in the abolition of the slave trade.

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You know, it's often faith that inspires people to try to make a difference.

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Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King for example.

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But if you ask which person has made the most impact on the world,

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many people would go back 2,000 years

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and name a man whose life changed our history for ever.

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If there was one person you reckon

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that's done the most for this world, who would it be?

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Jesus Christ, I'm sorry, but Jesus Christ.

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It has to be, it has to be Jesus Christ. We're all Christians.

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-Nelson Mandela.

-Nelson Mandela?

-Yes.

-Good answer.

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Martin Luther King?

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Martin Luther King, that's a great answer as well.

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If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?

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Inspire everyone to Jesus Christ.

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-What about you?

-To stop world poverty.

-OK.

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One thing about the world, it would be tolerance for everybody.

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-What about you two?

-I think peace.

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Peace, definitely peace.

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-What, no more war?

-No.

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Peace on Earth.

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Something we all hope for,

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but the news is still full of stories of man's inhumanity to man.

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One of the greatest tragedies of recent times inspired Kat Callo

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to try to make the world a better place.

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On 9/11, I lost my cousin, David Fontana.

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Dave was one of the 343 firefighters

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that died while they were helping to rescue people from the World Trade Center.

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And in the subsequent years, I couldn't say his name

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without breaking down, so I just sort of buried it a bit.

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Then the July 7th bombings in 2005 happened in London,

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and I thought, "How could young British men do something like this?"

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And I'm a Roman Catholic

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and I felt that my cousin Dave was waiting for me to make a response.

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Not the first response which is of anger and grief and rage and despair.

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The measured response.

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He was a very can-do guy

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and I thought, he's waiting for me to do something.

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So, we started Project Mosaic.

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Project Mosaic is a charity that works to foster greater understanding

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between people of different backgrounds.

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We are, more and more, finding ourselves around people who are different from us -

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racially, ethnically, from a different religion,

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from a different national background,

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and we can't just assume it's going to work itself out.

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We often talk about, "What can the government do?

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"What can the teachers do? What should the police do?"

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I think it's all about on the grassroots level.

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It's what can people in their everyday lives do.

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Kat realised that if she was to be successful

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she had to appeal to young people.

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We are delighted this evening...

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'When we have an event, a lot of young people will send out tweets

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'and create Facebook pages,'

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so it is important to find the right language that works for young people.

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That can sometimes be a challenge for older people like me!

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One of the ways that Project Mosaic reaches out to young people

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is by running a short film competition.

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Last year's winner was 23-year-old Tariq Chowdhury.

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Tariq's film aims to dispel the idea that faith is divisive.

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Something that is common to all major faiths is the instruction towards

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being compassionate and kind towards other human beings

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and that goes with every single religion,

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and I thought that would be a great thing to espouse.

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Tariq visited main centres of six different faiths in London

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to highlight their central, unifying message.

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I always knew that one thing that unites all of the different

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faith groups is their love, their sincerity, their compassion.

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They have a smile on their face,

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but really, the significance is what's in their heart.

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I really don't agree that religion is the source of problems.

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People who truly embody the spirit of their faith will never ever

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make things worse, they were always make things better.

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That's true of every faith, I really believe that.

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# I'd gladly walk across the desert With no shoes upon my feet

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# To share with you the last bite Of bread I had to eat

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# I would swim out to save you In your sea of broken dreams

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# When all your hopes are sinkin' Let me show you what love means

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Between your heart and mine

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Don't you think it's time? Don't you think it's time?

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# I would whisper love so loudly Every heart could understand

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# That love and only love Can join the tribes of man

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# I would give my heart's desire So that you might see

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# The first step is to realise That it all begins with you and me

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# When we stand together It's our finest hour

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# We can do anything, anything Keep believin' in the power

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Between your heart and mine

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Don't you think it's time? Don't you think it's time? #

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Is it possible to change a community by planting vegetables?

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The Incredible Edible project in Todmorton, West Yorkshire

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is trying to do just that by cultivating every spare inch of land in the town.

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We've got vegetables growing in very public places.

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We've got them in lots of public spaces.

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We've got them in police stations, health centres,

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at the railway station, at the bus station.

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So, suddenly, people who only see things wrapped in cellophane

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in the supermarket start to see where it grows in its natural state.

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We're working with all the schools,

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we've got children now doing qualifications in agriculture.

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This is a town that isn't naturally a farming community so suddenly,

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there are job opportunities around local food.

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You've got people thinking about it, you've got people growing it,

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you've got kids learning about it

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and that means that they start to think about how they spend their money.

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So that means they start to support the local market.

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That means they start to support local farmers and suddenly,

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the town starts to work again as a community, as market towns always used to be.

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Every year, we have a harvest festival and it's where we bring

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all the produce from the town and we cook it up and have a fantastic time.

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It doesn't cost anybody anything.

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So if I'm walking past one of these spaces

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and I see a cabbage growing, I just help myself?

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Yes, help yourself. Absolutely, help yourself.

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We're trying to spread kindness, we're trying to reconnect people

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and when people are reconnected, particularly in hard times,

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just the most fabulous and magical things happen.

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The story that I tell, which to me really touches my heart -

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My friend Mary turned her front garden, which was a rose garden,

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into a veg patch with a big "Please help yourself" sign on it.

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So we found local families going past and picking with the kids,

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and one particular local family did that and then the next day,

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they left a bowl of soup that they'd made from the veg on Mary's doorstep.

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Now, these people had never spoken to Mary before in their entire life

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and that for me is what communities are all about,

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and we're starting to see that all over the place.

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The churches in Todmorden have also embraced

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the spirit of Incredible Edible.

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I met up with the vicar who's helped open up one local graveyard

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to gardening.

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I suppose, if we put a positive spin on it,

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the rain is good for the vegetables.

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Very good for the vegetables! They're doing remarkably well.

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-I have to say, it's a normal day for Todmorden, really.

-Right, OK.

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-It's not often you see vegetables growing in the graveyard.

-It's not.

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It's been four years now and the community have accepted it.

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Originally, I think people thought, "That's a bit strange",

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and people won't like it, but Incredible got in touch with us

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and said, "How about putting some vegetable beds in here?"

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We thought about it and went through the channels and said, "Yeah, we'd welcome it."

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And it's been a really good opportunity for the community.

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So who comes up here?

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A lot of the time you will see the children from the school.

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I don't know if you can see back there?

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The children will often come and tend the vegetables.

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Any vegetables are there to be taken by the community,

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so people who visit family graves come,

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people who walked dogs through the woods into the churchyard will come.

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Everybody in the community comes and takes a lot and enjoys.

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-It's a great idea, isn't it?

-Absolutely fabulous.

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It's quite anarchical to have a churchyard, that is a sacred space,

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but to give it over to God's creation in a lateral thinking sense.

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This sounds absolutely perfect,

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so why is it not happening in every single community around the world?

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It's starting to happen.

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We now have 20 communities and we have people working in Africa, Spain,

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Northern Ireland, and in Holland so it is starting to happen.

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We do have some wonderful weeders in this community,

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we do have churches that have put fruit trees and bushes.

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We are working in the local church to put a nut orchard in the back,

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but if we could actually have that push, that drive

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by the churches in every single town to say,

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"We are the heart of the town and edible churches are the way forward

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"so let's bring our community together and grow collectively."

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You've obviously got a massive passion for it.

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Do feel that is a calling for you in a way?

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I've done lots of things in my life in the private and public sector.

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I've never done anything more important than this, ever.

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This is about trying to change the world around us for our children.

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Instead of being victims, it says, actually,

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"If we're positive about it, we can make a heck of a difference

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"and pass on a better world."

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So there is nothing more important to do than this.

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Here in Suffolk, the church is using the internet to help those in need.

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It's a very simple idea.

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Connect those who need help with those who want to make a difference.

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It's all inspired by a verse in the Bible.

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Acts, Chapter 4, Verse 35 is a passage in scripture

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which says in the church as the Christians gather together

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and they shared so much in common, they felt really moved

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to go and sell their property to share even more.

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They sold land and sold their possessions,

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and they pooled their money together and distributed

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to each and every one in the church community as they had need.

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If someone is in need, a request is posted on the Acts 435 website.

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Visitors to the site can read the personal stories of those

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seeking help and decide who they'd like to give money to.

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They can choose whether to give the full amount or just part of it.

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We started it in the Yorkshire and Humber

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and then rolled it out nationally

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and we've just had a contact from France,

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so I don't see why it can't go viral and international.

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We sign up a church as a church community because we believe

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that they are the ones who know the people who are in need on the ground.

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The church appoints one or two people to be their advocates,

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the spokesperson for the person in need.

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What I do is to post a request on the website,

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I have to give information

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about why this person can't actually fund what they need for themselves.

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We don't all have to be Bill Gates to help.

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The little we do give, and if it is a modest amount,

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we feel more motivated to give,

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particularly if we know it's going to make a big difference at the other end.

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How can we help you?

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'My husband's unemployed is and we are both on low income'

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and we needed a mattress.

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We came up and had a word with Pam and she got the ball rolling.

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I was overjoyed because the mattress came at Christmas,

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so it's a lovely Christmas present.

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Now it's just fantastic. Good night sleeps

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because I suffer with rheumatoid arthritis, so the mattress...

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So that mattress literally changed your life?

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Yes, and now thanks to them, I've become involved with the church

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and I go to church every Sunday and I really enjoy it.

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You know, this is a way in which the church can actually

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get involved in meeting that need

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and we are just fulfilling the message of the Bible

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which is feed the hungry, clothe the poor

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and there are so many needs that come in.

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The needs are wide-ranging.

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We have worked with people who are homeless

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and they are setting up homes and they need to be established.

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The elderly, we experience a lot of people who are experiencing

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fuel poverty and hardship, and just a little bit of money

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could help top up their heating bills.

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We needed a new cooker basically.

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Our cooker was beyond repair and told my story

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and basically, Pam told me that there was an organisation

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which the Christians pledge money and in a matter of time,

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hopefully, the money would be there for me to buy a new cooker.

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How difficult was it for you to get in touch with Acts?

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It was difficult first of all to come to terms,

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to find I need help, but I think, in today's world,

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we live in a desperate world and when people are desperate they turn to anywhere for help.

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How did you feel when that money was handed over?

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Just overwhelmed with people's generosity, basically.

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It led me to go on to a Christianity explorer course

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which is now finished and my faith has grown and grown to be honest.

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So how do you feel when you hand over the money?

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Oh, it's an amazing feeling because they are so overwhelmed

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receiving this and to know that somebody cares enough.

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In fact, you will see later

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when they come in to actually receive their donations.

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Do you think you guys are changing the world?

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I would like to think that we're playing a small part

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in changing people's attitudes, yeah.

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Changing the world, certainly.

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Changing people's worlds, one life at a time.

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For one person, I've heard it said it before and I'm sure you have,

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"If I was the only person, Christ would have died for me."

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Well, Christ died.

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Each individual person. So we are changing the world.

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Bit by bit, life by life.

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Well, I applied online, put your request on.

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And people have now donated money.

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It's just three years since Acts 435 began but they have managed

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to grant over 500 requests including Anna and Pedro's.

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..replace your washing machine.

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Can I say thank you to everyone.

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-I would just like to hand that over to you.

-Thank you.

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Thank you very much.

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'I am very fortunate because I am in the position of actually'

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giving the money over to people and very often,

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the response is great joy or it can be breakdown with floods of tears,

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because they are so grateful and so glad to receive.

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-Do you think this could make people lazy in a way?

-No!

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We do have to be very careful about who we are offering money to

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because, as Christians, we have to be good stewards of the money.

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It isn't our money, it's other people's money which is why,

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in the first place, we interview them.

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God is love. And that is what we want to communicate.

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God loves people.

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That's often our opportunity to speak about God

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because people do ask us why we do it.

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"Why do we care?"

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It's because so many people today are working on a very low rates,

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low income.

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Hazel and Gary hadn't a hope of taking their children

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on holiday until they were given a place to stay.

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Trouble is they didn't have the money to get there.

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Well, the good news is that it's actually been successful.

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Oh, that's absolutely fantastic.

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-And we've actually got £100.

-Really?!

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Wow, that's fantastic, that's brilliant.

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SHE SOBS

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Thank you so much.

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That is absolutely fantastic.

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If it isn't for the work you do, it wouldn't be possible.

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We didn't think that we would be able to take our children on holiday

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this year and thanks to the work that you do, we finally can,

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and it's fantastic, isn't it?

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-You really do change people's lives.

-Yeah, you really do.

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# When I needed a neighbour Were you there, were you there?

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# When I needed a neighbour Were you there?

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# And the creed and the colour And the name won't matter

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# Were you there?

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# I was hungry and thirsty Were you there, were you there?

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# I was hungry and thirsty Were you there?

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# And the creed and the colour And the name won't matter

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# Were you there?

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# I was cold, I was naked Were you there, were you there?

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# I was cold, I was naked Were you there?

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# And the creed and the colour And the name won't matter

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# Were you there?

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# When I needed a shelter Were you there, were you there?

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# When I needed a shelter Were you there?

0:28:460:28:51

# And the creed and the colour And the name won't matter

0:28:510:28:56

# Were you there?

0:28:560:29:00

# When I needed a healer Were you there, were you there?

0:29:100:29:15

# When I needed a healer Were you there?

0:29:150:29:20

# And the creed and the colour And the name won't matter

0:29:200:29:26

# Were you there?

0:29:260:29:29

# Wherever you travel I'll be there, I'll be there

0:29:330:29:38

# Wherever you travel I'll be there

0:29:380:29:44

# And the creed and the colour And the name won't matter

0:29:440:29:49

# I'll be there. #

0:29:490:29:57

Lord, thank you for those who are seeking to make this world

0:30:190:30:21

a better place.

0:30:210:30:23

To protect the environment.

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To promote fairness and equality.

0:30:290:30:32

And to alleviate suffering and poverty.

0:30:350:30:41

Amen.

0:30:410:30:43

Well, I was hoping to find my portrait in here

0:32:560:32:58

but I have been told, it's in the attic.

0:32:580:33:01

In a few minutes, the gallery will be opening its doors to the public

0:33:010:33:03

and these rooms will be buzzing with conversation

0:33:030:33:06

but I've still got the place to myself for the moment

0:33:060:33:08

and I'm really enjoying the peace and quiet, which reminds me,

0:33:080:33:11

I hope you can join me for next week's Songs Of Praise when I'll be exploring silence.

0:33:110:33:16

I'll be finding out if it's possible to live as a hermit

0:33:160:33:18

in the 21st century,

0:33:180:33:20

meet the broadcaster who swapped the studio

0:33:200:33:22

for eight days of silence,

0:33:220:33:23

and some teenagers who turn off their music and mobiles for a spot of silent worship.

0:33:230:33:28

And of course, we'll have hymns from around the country.

0:33:280:33:32

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:33:430:33:49

Aled Jones meets people who've chosen to make a big difference to help others and introduces some inspiring hymns.