County Fermanagh Songs of Praise


County Fermanagh

Eamonn Holmes is in Northern Ireland to meet people whose faith plays an important role in their professional life. Plus music from Clannad's Moya Brennan.


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Transcript


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This week on Songs Of Praise we've come to the most south-westerly

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county in Northern Ireland - stunning County Fermanagh.

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We're on board with the ambulance technician whose drive it is

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to care for others.

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We meet the Irish dancers who are sharing their faith.

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And there is music from Clannad's Moya Brennan,

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and the congregations of Enniskillen churches.

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Fermanagh is one of the smallest counties in Northern Ireland

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and many say the most picturesque.

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A third of Fermanagh is covered by water.

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Upper Lough Erne is that way,

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Lower Lough Erne is that way.

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I suppose you could say this is our very own Lake District.

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It's a waterway that is bursting with wildlife at this

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time of year, and it is busy, too, with boatmen and anglers.

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Upper and Lower Lough Erne meet here where the River Erne

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flows around the market town of Enniskillen.

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The town is actually an island,

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but it is connected by several bridges that cross the river.

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Today we are staying on the island and we have come to Saint Macartan's

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Church of Ireland Cathedral to sing our first hymn -

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Thy Hand, O God, Has Guided.

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SIREN WAILS

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Being involved in an accident or suddenly becoming seriously ill

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can be a very scary experience.

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When you are first on the scene as an ambulance technician,

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how you react can be a matter of life or death.

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After spotting an ad in the local paper for a position

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in the emergency services,

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Marina Hassard quit her job as an estate agent and took to the road.

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SIREN WAILS

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How difficult is it turning up at the scene of a crisis,

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or an accident and not knowing what to expect?

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It can be quite daunting. If it's a road traffic collision you

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are thinking about the casualties - how serious are their injuries?

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The car, is it on its roof, is it still on the road?

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It could be in a field upside down. I mean,

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there are times when I send up a quick prayer before particular calls.

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Through God's word he says that he's never going to leave us,

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or forsake us if we have faith and believe in him.

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I do, and I know that that's where I get my strength from.

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A lot of people rely on people like you.

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What makes this job special to you?

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It's an immense privilege for us because you build up a rapport

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with patients, no matter how short the journey.

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We are caring for them and doing as much as you can for them

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en route to hospital,

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you're handing them over to another team, and you're trusting

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them over to somebody else's care, and that can be quite emotional.

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You're maybe going out to somebody who is taking their last breath,

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and you are also maybe going out to somebody who is just about to

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bring new life into the world, so, there are just

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so many different aspects to life that we come across.

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Because I have experienced death, bereavement

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and illness in my own life I think that actually helps me

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to tune into other people's bereavement and sickness.

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What is it like being an ambulance technician?

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I never dreamed that I would be working in emergency services.

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I never thought that I could cope with the sight of blood,

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let alone anything else, so, I think I've learned things about myself,

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qualities that I never realised I did have.

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I love driving those vehicles - I think

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it's probably the best part of the job.

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We certainly get to see vast areas in this job.

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We travel for hundreds of miles.

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When the blue lights aren't flashing, do you ever get time

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to look out the window and appreciate your environment

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and what's around you and think about life?

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You do, you've time to take in things as you're going by.

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People around you, people going about their daily business.

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Animals in the field, there is something beautiful about that.

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Marina's faith keeps her focused

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and gives her the strength to help others.

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Jesus' life on Earth was the perfect example.

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He showed compassion to everybody, from all walks of life.

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He didn't judge anybody, he didn't condemn anybody,

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and I always remember that, that no matter who I meet,

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no matter what walk of life they come from,

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I treat them all with dignity and respect

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and I think that's very important.

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As I look at the master physician, God, I just

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see that there is somebody greater that we can all trust and lean on.

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There's a lovely verse in Proverbs, actually, in Proverbs 3,

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verses five and six, and it's "Trust in the Lord with all your heart

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"and lean not on your own understanding.

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"In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight."

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In these days of e-mail, Facebook and Twitter,

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it's always nice to get a letter from a friend in the post.

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That is what the people from the

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Postal Bible School in Enniskillen think, as well.

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Each month, thousands of special packages get parcelled up

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and get posted out to children around the globe who have signed up

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to a Bible correspondence course.

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For just the cost of a stamp,

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children as young as four can complete

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the study lessons at home and then post them back to Enniskillen,

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to be marked by these volunteers.

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The Postal Bible School began over 50 years ago in Cork,

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with just one student.

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Today, volunteers and centres right across the UK mark around 30,000

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study lessons every month from children in more than 20 countries.

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The ones I send to would be in Northern Ireland, plus I have a

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lot in Malawi, Nigeria, USA,

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Romania, France, a lot of countries.

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You get wee notes from the children, as well, which is

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really nice to get. We got one recently from Malawi -

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a young guy has been doing it there for maybe four or five years,

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and how he told us that he became a Christian actually doing

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the lessons, which was really exciting for us.

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Just the translation, how's the progress going with

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translation of the Bible time lessons?

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Louise's husband Sam helps to coordinate a growing

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number of international centres, which can mean him having to

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travel to places as far away as Africa, Ukraine and Brazil.

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I'm dealing with instructors that I go to train how to use the lessons,

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and a lot of them come from very difficult backgrounds,

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very poor backgrounds, especially in the developing world.

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A lot of the children have very little, practically, and I suppose

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we see ourselves as coming alongside those that are providing

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the physical and material needs to children in orphanages

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and things like that, and we bring the spiritual

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dimension in the Bible lessons we provide,

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and to go into those situations

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and sit down with the kids is actually a very emotional experience.

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How important is it to you is it

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that the work that you do reaches out

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to children and young people?

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Things aren't always easy for a child, and it is very special to

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know that God is with them and able to just wrap his arms around them.

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Louise and Sam's determination to reach out to others

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prompted them, along with a few friends, to set up a new

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independent church in Enniskillen.

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They describe the Fermanagh Christian Fellowship Church

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as a hospital for the hurting.

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There are a lot of people who are hurting out there, through various

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issues, you know, with addictions, maybe with marital problems

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and issues like that, and we want to try to help people like that

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and bring the Bible perspective to that

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and how Jesus would have dealt with those type of people.

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Fermanagh, to me, is a really special place.

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I draw a lot of inspiration from the beauty of God's

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creation around here.

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I have spent time in the lake, I have visited different islands

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that go back to ancient Christianity within this county,

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and now I have the great privilege of still spreading that gospel

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message with my family, my church, both locally,

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and indeed right across the world in many countries.

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Back in medieval times,

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these waters would have been busy with travellers,

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and by the sixth century, missionaries were building churches

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and monasteries on some of the 154 islands in Lough Erne.

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Saint Molaise arrived at this site,

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and chose Devenish Island to establish his monastery.

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The Devenish monastic site is one of just many early Christian

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sites in Lough Erne.

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Further down the lough is White Island,

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best known for its stone figures.

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These were carved by master craftsmen sometime in the ninth

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or tenth century, and are believed by some to represent

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Christ and an emerging Christian Ireland.

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Today, the Sacred Heart Church in the parish of Devenish

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celebrates the early Christian missionaries who brought

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the word of God to Ireland some 1,500 years ago.

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The Irish oak carvings in the Garden of Celtic Saints

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at Irvinestown remind us

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of the journeys that were made by saints like Molaise and others.

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And these Celtic influences continue to inspire artists

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and musicians, none more so than Moya Brennan from Clannad.

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# When the morning breaks above us

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# And the wild stars disappear

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# New day begins

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# Waking you and I

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# Waking you and I

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# With love

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# If the wind and rain should gather

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# All the storms of the Earth

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# You call my name

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# And you'll understand

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# And you'll understand my love

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# Dum-da, da-da, da, da-da, dum, dum

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# Da, da-da, da, dum, dum

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# Da, da-da, da, dum, dum

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# Da, dum, dum, dah

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# Dum-da, da-da, da, da-da, dum, dum

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# Da, da-da, da, dum, dum

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# Da, da-da, da, dum, dum

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# Da, dum, dum, dah

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# If the crowd all walk together

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# And I fear behind this veil

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# You hold my hand

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# And you'll see me through

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# And you'll see me through each day

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# Does the red rose speak of passion?

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# Does the white rose speak of love?

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# I think of you

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# And you fill my heart

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# And you fill my heart each day... #

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THEY SING IN GAELIC

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Our next hymn is a prayer asking God to be our vision.

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As pilgrims travelled through this beautiful and serene place,

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they looked to God to guide and protect them.

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And, lift!

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Get your hands back and fly the jump.

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It takes a lot of practice

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and hard work to become an Irish dancing champion,

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and no-one knows this better than dance teacher

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Deborah Anderson.

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In her teens she won numerous titles.

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But by her early 20s, and after years of training and competing,

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she finally took off her dance pumps and vowed never to dance again.

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I had come out of this world of dance, competitive dancing.

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And it was like, "What do I do now? What do I do with myself?"

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And then how did you get back into dancing?

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God started to press upon my heart about the dancing, the Irish dancing.

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And every time he came on to my heart,

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I was like, "I don't want to go there, I don't want to do this."

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And I came to the point with the pressure where I felt myself,

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"OK, God. I will teach this, but I will never advertise

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"and I am not going to look for a hall."

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That's how the school started, in my garage.

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And she's never looked back.

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Deborah formed the Zephaniah Dancers

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who give Christian-inspired performances

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in churches across Northern Ireland.

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Right! Come on! Hurry up, we're on in ten minutes.

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Tonight, the girls have been invited to dance

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for Cavanaleck Presbyterian Church in Fivemiletown.

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Get the tape on your shoes.

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Before we go out on floor to dance, we always get into a circle,

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and they all pray.

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We thank you for bringing all these people here tonight,

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we pray that they will enjoy the night

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and we will do everything right. Amen.

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We will not glorify ourselves in this, Lord,

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that we will glorify you

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and we will bless all the people in this place tonight, Lord. Amen.

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And I just pray, God,

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you just look after the girls as they go out in your name,

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-in Jesus name. ALL:

-Amen.

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What about the girls who dance for you,

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what effect does all of this have on them?

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Well, for the girls themselves to come into Zephaniah Dancers,

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they really blossom in their personalities.

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And I think when they move from the competitive end to the Zephaniah,

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number one - they're not competing,

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there is absolutely no expectation on them,

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they're there to just dance unto the Lord.

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And I think they love that freedom.

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The girls dance in the colour blue, because in the Bible,

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blue represents healing and restoration.

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Priests in the old Testament in part of their robes,

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they would have had the colour blue.

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This what we represent - healing and restoration.

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-Where does Zephaniah come into it?

-The name Zephaniah means hidden.

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And I feel as a person, that's what I like.

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You know, I like sort of to be covered and hidden.

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And even my girls as dancers would have...

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They're not show-offs, they would have that same attitude.

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Very unassuming girls.

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So what's your vision with the Zephaniah Dancers?

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I believe Zephaniah Dancers was a calling in my life.

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Through the girls, God or the Holy Spirit has connected with people,

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and everybody's looked at them

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to the level where they're all looking unto God,

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cos it's for the glory of God.

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# God knows me

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# And he knows my woes

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# He knows where I'll be before I go

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# He knows of all that I've been through

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# And he knew

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# That I needed you

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# God knows you

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# And he knows your ways

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# And he knows just what you'll say

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# He knows your heart in all you do

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# And he knew

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# That I needed you

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# Oh-oh

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# Oh-oh

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# Oh-oh

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# Oh-oh

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# God knows us

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# And he knows our dreams

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# And he has the power to set us free

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# I know his way

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# Is tried and true

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# Cos he knew

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# That I needed you

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# He knew

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# That I needed you

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# God knew

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# That I needed

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# You. #

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God, the Holy Trinity, make you strong in faith and in love.

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Defend you on every side and guide you in truth and in peace.

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And by the blessing of God Almighty, the Father,

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the Son and the Holy Spirit,

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-be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

-ALL:

-Amen.

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And so to our final hymn of praise - To God Be The Glory

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As We Give Thanks For All The Good Things He Hath Done.

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From Enniskillen, until the next time, bye-bye.

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Next week, to mark the 60th anniversary

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of the Queen's Coronation,

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Bill visit Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral.

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He meets the Bishop of London,

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a chorister who sang solo on the big day in 1953,

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and music sung in Canterbury Cathedral

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includes the glorious Coronation anthems

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I Was Glad and Zadok The Priest.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media

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Eamonn Holmes is in Northern Ireland to meet people whose faith plays an important role in their professional life. Plus music from Clannad's Moya Brennan and hymns from the combined choirs and congregations of Enniskillen.


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