City Farmers Songs of Praise


City Farmers

Josie d'Arby is down on the farm in Dartmoor, joining girls from inner-city London who are being given a taste of rural life.


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Transcript


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Today, Songs Of Praise is down on the farm

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in the beautiful, rugged surroundings of Dartmoor.

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I'm joining this group of girls from south London

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as they get a taste of rural life.

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Argh!

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PIGS GRUNT AND SQUEAL

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In Bridgwater in Somerset, we hear how different faiths

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are working together

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when the only Muslim boy in a Church of England School

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invites his classmates to the local mosque.

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I think there will be some people worshipping,

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and maybe, like, a bit of a band there.

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And the Reverend Kate Bottley

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welcomes the bells of Southwark Cathedral back home

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after restoration.

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Our music today includes a selection of songs and hymns from

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churches from around the UK, and, as it's St David's Day next week,

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we begin in Wales.

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High on the moorlands of Dartmoor in the heart of Devon

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lies a remote working farm that has become known for the impact

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it has on the lives of urban kids.

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Around 40 years ago,

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two women descended on this part of Devon with the idea

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of creating what they described as a lung for the city,

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a chance for young people to get out of London

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and breathe in the country air.

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Elizabeth Braund and Rosemary Bird's Christian vision

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was that this farm would be a place city teenagers could connect with

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the natural world, experience the joys and challenges of caring

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for animals, work the land, and ultimately, connect with God.

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Over the years, hundreds of young people from London

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have experienced life on the farm, and these are the latest arrivals.

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Eight girls acclimatising themselves

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to the sights and smells of the country.

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A few days on the farm couldn't be further from their natural habitat.

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Battersea in south London, on the doorstep of Clapham Junction,

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is where some of the girls live.

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And, like many inner-city areas, it's not always an easy place

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to grow up, as 12-year-olds Katie and Amelia know well.

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You look to your left and right in the city,

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and there's shops everywhere. And, like, it's too busy.

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Loads of pollution.

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I don't like the fact that there's loads of conflict and sometimes,

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like, you've got to be careful who you're arguing with round here.

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The girls are frequent visitors to a youth club in the area

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called Providence House.

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Like the farm, this place is also the legacy of Elizabeth Braund.

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It was founded over 50 years ago in a former chapel

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as a safe haven for city kids.

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It's not school, it's not home,

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it's a space where they can do lots of different activities,

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so we're really engaging them,

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and trying to develop their life skills,

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give them a sense of purpose and aspiration,

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and opportunity for their future.

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And also, a place where they can potentially connect

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with faith and what the bigger kind of wider purpose of life is.

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You get to cook here, and you get to, like, play games.

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It's a good environment to come to.

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Most of my friends come here.

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Phil is Katie's dad.

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He used to come to Providence House as a teenager,

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and is now a volunteer here.

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He has fond memories of his trips to Shallowford Farm.

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There's a point where you come over Dartmoor,

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and the farm's down the bottom,

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and I looked out and saw the same setting what I've seen

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on numerous occasions, but on this time, something had happened,

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my eyes were open to visions I hadn't seen before.

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This is the creator.

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There's no doubt there is a creator, and you are now seeing it.

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The farm really is another safe haven.

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It's a space where they can explore, they can have adventure, and they

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can actually process and think about things, and ask questions and learn.

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It's an extension of the work that we do here at Providence,

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building relationships with the young people.

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For some of the girls,

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it'll be their first time away from their creature comforts.

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Because there's no signal, it's going to be terrible because,

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I normally... Well, I can listen to music,

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but I can't go on Instagram, Snapchat, or anything like that.

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Hello.

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Later in the programme, we'll see how these new farm hands fare

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as they adapt to life in the country.

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They're so tiny and adorable.

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But next, to mark the beginning of Lent this Wednesday,

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traditionally a time of giving something up,

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a hymn, asking for strength and perseverance.

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Here at Shallowford Farm,

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our city girls are getting to grips with the livestock.

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-So this one has got its baby teeth.

-Oh!

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Can you see all its little baby teeth?

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As they get older they'll push through their adult mature teeth,

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and they'll grow two teeth per year.

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-So, who wants to tell me, is this a boy or girl?

-A boy.

-Girl.

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-No, it's a boy.

-Told you. Because of his wool.

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-Look how deep it is, look at that.

-Yeah. I want to plait it.

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-Are you going to plait it?

-Yeah.

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The group are clearly enjoying the sights and sounds

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of the countryside.

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Meanwhile, residents who live around Southwark Cathedral are having to

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get used to life without the sound of the famous bells.

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Church bells and Sundays go together like tea and cake.

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But they can also signify births, deaths,

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the joy of a wedding day, or a simple call to service.

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At Southwark Cathedral, the oldest cathedral church in London,

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the ancient bells have fallen silent.

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The Cathedral stands at the oldest entry to the city of London.

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Thousands of passers-by have been touched by the historic bells.

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That is until they were taken down last July to be refurbished.

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Hannah Taylor is the ringmaster,

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or musical conductor to me and you, of these cherished bells.

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They might look pristine here on the church floor,

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but that's because they've just returned from the foundry,

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and are now ready to make their long ascent to the bell tower.

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Why were they taken down?

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They've been in their current condition since the war,

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so they were becoming increasingly difficult to handle,

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and so we launched a project to raise the money

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to get them out - their 100-year MOT, if you like.

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That's how we're looking at it.

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Each of the bells handles slightly differently.

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I guess, as it would be in an orchestra,

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with different instruments.

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And so if we take this one here, this is the biggest one.

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This is new.

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The old bell, whilst it was a really good bell,

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it just didn't quite fit with the rest of them,

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and so that's why we had the old one melted down and recast.

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He's kind of the most popular because he's the heaviest.

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-And they have names, presumably?

-Yes.

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The new one's called Andrew after the patron saint of Scotland

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-because the donor is Scottish.

-Yeah.

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So the two new bells have been christened.

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They were christened at a baptism service.

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We had christening cake and everything.

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There's a bit of worry because it's quite a responsibility,

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-we're custodians of these bells.

-Of course.

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So we want to make sure that they're in

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a fit state to ring for the next 100 years.

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But for here and now,

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it's about time these bells were restored to their rightful home.

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I'm going to press the button to bring the bell up because

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they're going to swap it from one chain to another,

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but I get to press the button!

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WINDING GEAR WHIRS

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For the Dean, Andrew Nunn, this is a moment not to be missed.

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-Come in here, Kate. This is the ringing chamber.

-Wow!

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So, the bell's reached this level.

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It needs to go up one more level to where the bells are actually hung,

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but this is where the ringers will eventually ring the bells.

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They're so important to people because everybody knows the

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sound of their church bells, do you know what I mean?

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From village life, town life, from city life.

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As you stand next to this bell,

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there's not many people that have seen them this close.

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That's been the most amazing thing, to actually have them all

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down in the Cathedral, all together, so we're very privileged because

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maybe it'll be another hundred years before this happens again.

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-Certainly not in our lifetime.

-Certainly not in my lifetime!

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They're so much more than just bells.

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Yes, they have a character, they have a personality.

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So, these bells are a few months off being rung properly,

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but I just can't resist having a little go myself.

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Here goes!

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Can you imagine if I did that and it broke?

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That is such a great sound.

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It's late February, and the bells are finally doing what they do best.

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Ringing!

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BELLS PEAL

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And we stay in Southwark for our next hymn.

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# You're a lady

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# I'm a man

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# You're supposed to

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# Understand... #

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Just over a week ago,

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we heard the sad news of the death of singer-songwriter Peter Skellern.

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Ordained last October,

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he's best known for his 1972 hit, You're A Lady.

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Peter appeared on Songs Of Praise on a number of occasions,

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and composed music especially for us.

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Including this piece, Waiting For The Word,

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which he performed in 2001.

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# I could follow you

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# I could be so true

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# I'm just waiting for the word

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# I could join the flock

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# I could be a rock

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# I'm just waiting for the word

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# Let me know you're here

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# Call me loud and clear

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# For as yet, I have not yet heard

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# I could shine a light

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# I could fight the fight

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# I'm just waiting for the word

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# I would heed the call

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# I would give my all

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# I'm just waiting for the word

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# I would be a flame

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# I would blaze your name

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# I'm just waiting for the word

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# Though my voice is weak

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# If you would but speak

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# I would shout what I had heard

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# I would sing to you

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# I would cling to you

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# I'm just waiting for the word

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# I will walk the way

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# I will kneel and pray

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# While I'm waiting for the word

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# I will do what's right

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# I will seek the light

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# While I'm waiting for the word

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# Though I'm full of doubt

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# Do not turn me out

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# We are lost who have not heard

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# I will strive to be

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# What you want of me

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# While I'm waiting for the word

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# I'm just waiting for the word. #

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I'm Shallowford Farm in Devon, the girls are understanding the

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differences between city life and country life.

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Of you go, girls.

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But, 70 miles away in Bridgwater in Somerset,

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children are trying to find out the differences between faiths.

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Christian worship has been fundamental to

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the local population here throughout the centuries, and in 1722,

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the Quaker meeting house was built.

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Now, almost 300 years later, the building remains

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a place of worship as the town's only mosque.

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Mohammed brought his family from London to Bridgwater 12 years ago,

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and played a key part in the mosque's creation.

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We were a small community 10, 12 years ago.

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We used to pray on top of an Indian takeaway in a room upstairs.

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Slowly, by word of mouth, it grew, and then we realised

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there were more people than we could fit into that single room.

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There are more glamorous mosques

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with, you know, beautiful decorations all over the world.

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Obviously we're not in that kind of league to decorate it lavishly.

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We're just a small community. Everyone can come here and pray.

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Though the family are practising Muslims,

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when it came to choosing the right school for nine-year-old Habib,

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Mohammed chose St Mary's Church of England School,

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where Habib is the only Muslim pupil.

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It has a good basis of education, and obviously,

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the moral values of Christianity and Islam are similar.

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Some of my classmates know I'm a Muslim, and some don't.

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I like going to the school because I've made lots of new friends

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and they always cheer me up when I'm down.

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In school, we feel there is a need to try and help children

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develop their understanding of different faiths

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and cultures, and Habib is a Muslim

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and has settled into our Christian school very well,

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and takes part in all the activities,

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the same activities as all the other children,

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including collective worship and visits to Church and so on.

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My classmates look at me as a Christian that knows

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different things from different religions.

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You're going to go out, you're going to put your coat on...

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As part of their religious education,

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the teachers thought it a good idea to learn about Islam,

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and have arranged a visit to Habib's mosque.

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I've never been to a mosque. I think it'll be a great experience.

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I think there will be some people worshipping,

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and maybe, like, a bit of a band there.

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I really am quite excited to go

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because you're learning about someone else's religion.

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I am excited that they're going to see what the mosque looks like,

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and their reactions.

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ALL: As-salaam Alaikum.

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That's very good. Welcome to Bridgwater mosque.

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As it's Friday, the children have come to the mosque

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to watch Jumu'ah, the traditional midday prayer.

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PRAYER IS SUNG

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The children also get the opportunity to find out

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about some aspects of Islam.

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-Any questions?

-Why was everybody else doing all the movements?

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Movements, that's a very good question.

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So, first of all, he did like this.

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It's like saying, "God is great".

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And then, you put your forehead and your nose on the ground.

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It's like this.

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See? And then you say a few prayers from the ground.

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It's quite different to what we have but it's quite exciting to see it.

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It is important that we as a community respect each other,

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respect each other's faiths, and bond as a community,

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and work together in this society.

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# Oh, come let us sing

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# Sing unto the Lord

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# Let's make a joyful noise

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# To the rock of our salvation

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# Come before His presence

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# With thanksgiving in our hearts

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# We'll make a joyful noise unto Him

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# As we sing

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# Hallelujah

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# As we sing

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# Hallelujah

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# For the Lord is great

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# Great needs to be praised

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# Praise, praise

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# Praise

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# For the Lord is great

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# Great needs to be praised

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# Praise, praise

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# Praise

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# Oh, 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

-Hallelujah

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-# As we sing

-Hallelujah

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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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# Hallelujah

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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

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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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# 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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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Back on Dartmoor, the girls are getting

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a first-hand idea of life away from the city and in amongst the animals.

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-I would love to have a pig.

-I know, like a baby piglet.

-Yes.

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Smelly poo.

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-How much are you weighing out?

-I think four.

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Each scoop is two kilos, so four...

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Weigh them, make sure you've got the right amount.

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Debbie Sandels joined the team at Shallowford Farm three years ago.

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She believes the farm's Christian ethos should be a key part

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of the experience for its young visitors.

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The whole farm is wrapped in prayer every day.

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We constantly pray for the kids back in Providence,

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and those that are coming, and preparation, and our guidance.

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It gets them closer to God's creation out there.

0:26:500:26:54

You seem to have a brilliant time,

0:26:550:26:57

but it does look like a lot of hard work. Why do you do it?

0:26:570:27:00

It's just great to give something back.

0:27:000:27:02

We're so blessed, living in a place like this.

0:27:020:27:04

Even on a day like today, it is just beautiful.

0:27:040:27:07

It's great to give it all back.

0:27:070:27:09

And we give it back to Him through these young people.

0:27:090:27:12

One second, beautiful.

0:27:120:27:14

Her eyelashes are so nice!

0:27:140:27:16

The pony seems happy with the girls' attention,

0:27:180:27:20

but the same can't be said for the pigs.

0:27:200:27:23

Argh!

0:27:230:27:25

PIGS GRUNT AND SQUEAL

0:27:250:27:28

Luckily, neighbouring farmer Will Dracup is here to lend a hand.

0:27:310:27:36

-So, how much does it weigh then, girls?

-45.

-Yes, so 45.

0:27:360:27:40

-Is it a boy or girl?

-Girl.

0:27:400:27:42

-So it's called a gilt. OK?

-A guild?

-A gilt.

0:27:420:27:47

I think it's an absolutely brilliant opportunity for the girls,

0:27:470:27:50

and for us, to show off the countryside to them.

0:27:500:27:53

It's an unbelievable experience, and it really opens their eyes.

0:27:530:27:57

Are you able to notice a change in them,

0:27:570:27:59

from when they arrive to when they leave?

0:27:590:28:01

Yes, I can notice a huge change in them.

0:28:010:28:04

When they first come here, they think the countryside,

0:28:040:28:07

they get scared by the mud,

0:28:070:28:09

and how it's all disgusting, and by the time they want to leave,

0:28:090:28:12

they're jumping in puddles, getting plastered head to toe in mud,

0:28:120:28:16

learning it isn't that scary and frightening after all.

0:28:160:28:19

And the changes in their personalities

0:28:190:28:23

and self-confidence and self-belief is brilliant.

0:28:230:28:26

I think it's good because you get good opportunities

0:28:280:28:31

that you wouldn't get in London.

0:28:310:28:33

Like you wouldn't get to groom and walk horses, or feed chickens,

0:28:330:28:37

or play with pigs.

0:28:370:28:39

I just thought that we'd help out on the farm and that's it,

0:28:400:28:44

but it has surprised me.

0:28:440:28:46

Mind your toes.

0:28:460:28:48

I'm going to take away like, the way the people at the farm are so kind.

0:28:480:28:52

I'm going to miss the animals because I like holding them,

0:28:520:28:56

the little animals.

0:28:560:28:58

Well, that's about it from this week's Songs Of Praise.

0:30:580:31:00

We leave you, though, with this uplifting hymn

0:31:000:31:03

recorded at Hackney Empire.

0:31:030:31:04

-So, from all of us here down on the farm in Devon, bye-bye!

-Bye!

0:31:040:31:11

Josie d'Arby is down on the farm in Dartmoor, joining girls from inner-city London who are being given a taste of rural life. And the famous bells of Southwark Cathedral are hoisted back up their tower.

Music:

For All the Saints from St Padarn's Church, Aberystwyth Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer from St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich Angel-Voices Ever Singing from Southwark Cathedral, London Waiting for the Word by Peter Skellern O Come, Let Us Sing by Twyford Church of England High School Let All Things Now Living from St German's Church, Cardiff Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, Our Blessed Redeemer! from Hackney Empire, London.


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