Escaping Debt Songs of Praise


Escaping Debt

Josie d'Arby meets those whose faith has brought freedom from spiralling debt, and Katie Melua performs Rachmaninov's All Night Vigil.


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Transcript


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The decorations have been taken down,

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we're clinging to those New Year's resolutions

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and many of us are watching our wallets now that Christmas is over.

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For some, that can mean falling into debt but we'll be seeing how

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some church groups have been helping people to rebuild their lives.

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So, yes, we've now been debt-free for just over three years

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and it's just fantastic.

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And tips on managing your money from young Christians.

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Also this week, a community inspired to get fit in a cathedral.

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In the cathedral? No way.

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As fast as you can. Keep those arms pumping and your legs pumping.

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And Claire McCollum finds a place of worship in a back garden.

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It looks quite a small shed, really, on the outside,

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but people have likened it to Doctor Who's TARDIS.

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Our music this week includes a captivating performance

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in Russian from Katie Melua...

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..and uplifting hymns and songs from around the UK.

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# In the light of God We are marching... #

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Now, many of you will know that Friday

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was the traditional Christian festival of Epiphany,

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celebrating the gifts presented at Christ's birth,

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so we start this week with an Epiphany hymn - Brightest and Best.

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On average we spend £7 billion a week in the shops

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and in December and January that rises by an extra billion pounds.

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January is a chance to grab a bargain,

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if you've got any cash left,

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but what if that money isn't exactly yours?

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When Naomi and Perry first started a family,

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they were all too familiar with borrowing money.

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I knew it wasn't really a good thing to go putting a load of money

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on a credit card and yet I think the temptation is just too much.

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It's like you've got to have the best pram for your child,

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the decent car, nice house.

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We started getting a car on finance and we had another credit card.

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But with Perry short of work as a bricklayer, money was running out

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and pressure was mounting just to pay for essentials.

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Even shopping each week just to feed us

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and not being able to put petrol in the car,

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so it's just constant. It's just like this weight, this burden.

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How bad did it get?

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I ended up owing the wrong people some money, for a couple of

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thousand pounds, and I just didn't have that money to give them.

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Naomi had to go to my mum's

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and then we had people knocking on the door trying to get the money.

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That was like rock bottom,

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the fact that I had to leave our own flat with two children

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because really we were scared of what these people would do.

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To be faced with that was just, yeah, horrendous.

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The couple were introduced to Christians Against Poverty, or CAP,

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one of several charities who help people get out of debt.

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How's it all going?

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-It's been fantastic, hasn't it?

-It's been amazing.

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They came through the door and just became friends with us instantly.

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It wasn't just like a normal debt company, where you phone them up

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and they do everything over the phone.

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The love was just really, like, overwhelming.

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I just wanted to burst out crying because it's like we've kind of

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got ourselves into this mess and yet you're here to come and help us.

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Do you think any of these areas have changed at all?

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-Are you spending more on food, for example?

-Yes.

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The charity devised a plan to deal with the outstanding debt

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and Naomi and Perry now keep a regular budget for essentials.

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Everything was taken care of.

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-We literally were able to kind of just....

-Breathe again.

-Yes.

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We were getting so many letters

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from obviously the car finance and credit cards.

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Everyone knows the brown letters are normally something bad

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but they even said, "Look, now you don't even have to open them.

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"You don't have to worry about it because we're going to sort that out."

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Slowly but surely, the family have got back on their feet

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and the values of the charity have had a lasting impact.

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Perry is in full-time work and the couple are now members of a church,

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where Naomi leads the worship.

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We weren't Christians then, but looking back we can really see

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just how much God was working in our lives.

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# To be near you, oh, God, when you come... #

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The transformation that God's done is just amazing.

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And what about those debts?

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-All gone.

-Yeah, we have no debts now.

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We've now been debt-free for just over three years

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and it's just fantastic.

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Has that temptation gone to spend just for the sake of spending?

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It's always there, but if we haven't got the money then we save for it.

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And the freedom from now following Jesus as well,

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all combined, it was just like this new life.

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We were born again, literally.

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January is a great time to think about getting fit,

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especially if we've overindulged during the Christmas period.

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I know, I know. I should probably be taking the stairs!

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But how about working out in a cathedral?

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For hundreds of years, Chelmsford Cathedral

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has helped its congregation with their spiritual wellbeing.

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Well, now it's helping them step up their physical fitness, too.

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-Are we ready to get going today?

-ALL: Yes.

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Are we ready to get going today?

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-We couldn't believe it. In the cathedral? No way.

-Yes.

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Nice and high and all the way back down.

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It's the only exercise I do.

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Great work.

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This is Faith and Fitness.

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It's the brainchild of personal trainer Jordan De Leon,

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who found many of his clients were curious about his faith.

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The question of God kept on coming up more and more and it was easier

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to do that in that fitness setting than it was to do everyday life.

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So Jordan approached the dean of the cathedral with his idea.

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Interesting suggestion. How about it?

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It is called Faith and Fitness,

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so saying yes to that was kind of easy.

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Well done. Keep going.

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The congregation weren't immediately sure it was the right thing to do.

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No, not in the Cathedral.

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Jesus threw the moneylenders out of the temple

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and so we shouldn't be doing such a thing.

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But as the class went on, it came to me that Jesus

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was also a healer as well as a preacher

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and we are being uplifted both spiritually and physically.

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As soon as you come in, it lifts your spirits as well.

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It's so totally different.

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It's very nice, actually.

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Quite therapeutic.

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It keeps us moving. We must keep our joints moving.

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-How old are you?

-Sssh.

-93.

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-93?!

-And I'm 85.

-No way!

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We might be in a church setting and focused on God,

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but that doesn't stop me from working them hard all the way through.

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Left, right, left, right, left, right, duck.

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We all feel a bit fitter and stronger, yes.

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-He doesn't moan at you, does he?

-No.

-No.

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Faith and Fitness has been such a blessing.

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Being able to do my passion, which is fitness, and to be working

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for God is the most spiritually rewarding thing that I've ever done.

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My favourite bit is the bit at the end,

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where we sit in quiet and commune with God.

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And it has to be said, Jordan, you do it all for free, don't you?

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Yes, I do it all for free.

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I definitely feel like my payment comes from people coming to the class,

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building that relationship with God,

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so I couldn't ask for anything more than that.

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When I leave here, I feel a little bit different.

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Do you know what I mean? All worn out!

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# Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'

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# Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'

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# Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'

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# Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'

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# Siyahamba

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# Siyahamba

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# Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'

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# Khanyen' kwenkhos'

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# Siyahamba

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# Siyahamba

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# Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'. #

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Orthodox Christians celebrated their Christmas day yesterday,

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so for our next song we've got something quite special

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and a little bit different from Katie Melua.

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It's called All Night Vigil, sung in Russian,

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and based on a sacred choral work by the composer Rachmaninov.

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Nunc dimittis, the fifth movement from the All Night Vigil

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by Rachmaninov, is considered one of the greatest musical achievements

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by the Christian Orthodox Church,

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and it really reminds me of this mythical notion I have

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of the frozen Russian forest.

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This was an idea that my grandad kind of facilitated

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by telling us all these great adventure-filled tales

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of escaping from a Siberian labour camp when he was 18.

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Now, I'm not sure how truthful or not these stories are,

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but, as a child growing up, the Russian forest just took on

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this mythical notion, especially at winter time.

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And, for me, this track really takes me there.

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Over 450,000 Orthodox Christians worship in the UK

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in beautifully ornate churches up and down the country,

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but there's one church which is slightly more modest.

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As Claire McCollum has found out,

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St Fursey's in Norfolk is no bigger than a garden shed.

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It's so tiny that processions only take a few steps.

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The church was built by Father Stephen Weston,

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a former Church of England priest, in the garden of his own home.

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I've been to a number of churches in my time,

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but never one in a back garden.

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Why here?

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Well, we were a small group of people who wished to become Orthodox

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and, in Great Yarmouth, 60 miles away was a Greek Orthodox parish

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and then in Norwich there was a Russian Orthodox parish,

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but we wanted to be English Orthodox.

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-It's quite amazing, whenever you come through the door.

-Yes.

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Well, it looks quite a small shed, really, on the outside,

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but people have likened it to Doctor Who's TARDIS

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because it seems to be bigger on the inside than on the outside.

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We wanted to build it as authentically Orthodox as possible,

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hence its Byzantine style.

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It's only 18 foot by 13 foot,

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but we have a nave, two transepts and two side chapels.

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This weekend is an important one for the church as they head out

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of their little building to hold a service outside.

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We celebrate Theophany when other Christians in the West

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are celebrating Epiphany

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and it's the baptism of our Lord in the River Jordan.

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That's why many Orthodox congregations go down

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to a nearby river or stream, or even the sea,

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to bless the element of water.

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We throw the cross into the waters.

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It's attached to a string, of course, so we don't lose it

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and the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ

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is a revelation to us of the Holy Trinity.

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The eternal heart of compassion of Thou incomparable mercy.

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When you first decided to build this Church in your garden,

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what did the neighbours say?

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The old gentleman who lived there said,

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"Well, Stephen, I don't mind if you build a cathedral in your back garden!"

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He used to sit in his kitchen window

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and he said it gave him comfort to see the cross on top of the church.

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January sales are often the best time to grab a bargain,

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so the temptation to spend, spend, spend is never far away.

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We heard earlier how one couple became debt-free

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with the help of a Christian charity.

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Well, in south London, another church group is tackling debt

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with a more preventative approach.

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The young people who made this video are members

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of the Pentecostal Credit Union,

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one of over 300 credit unions around the UK.

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They want to teach a new generation to be responsible with their money.

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And in workshops like this one in New Life Assembly Church

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in Dulwich, young people learn how credit unions operate.

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Members pool their savings,

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providing a fund from which loans can then be made.

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The difference between a credit union and a bank, really,

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is that the members own it.

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Spend less on games.

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We provide low-cost loans

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and actually pretty good rates of interest

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on the dividends for savings.

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My advice to others would be to keep your credit score high,

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have a budget and save.

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The most important thing in my opinion is saving

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because, once you start saving, that's the foundation

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for all your money issues and worries.

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I would research on how successful people save their money...

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..and the mistakes that people who are not successful,

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how not to do those mistakes.

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When you don't have money to spend on something,

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don't buy it and wait until you do have the money to buy it.

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We felt it was really, really important to get good habits

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around spending, around saving and, of course, also around giving.

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You could probably find a better tariff.

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See if you can get a better deal.

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How important is it to you to explain to people the emotional side of money?

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I think it's really important.

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If you have a lot of money, there's an assumption that you are

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more important in life or you have more status in life.

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Oh, yeah. I get it.

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We're working with the young people here

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to say your money doesn't define you -

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that is not about who you are.

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This work is tremendously rewarding.

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It is amazing to see these young people,

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when the light comes on

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and you really hear them talking about how...

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The plans they're making and how they're going to save

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and just to see them develop really.

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# How lovely is Your dwelling place

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# Lord God Almighty

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# And my soul longs and even faints for You

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# How lovely, how lovely

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# Is Your dwelling place

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# Your dwelling place

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# Lord God Almighty

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# And my soul longs and even faints for You

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day

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# Better is one day

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# Better is one day

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# Better is one day

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# Better is one day

0:29:580:30:00

# Better is one day

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day in Your courts

0:30:130:30:16

# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Better is one day in Your house

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# Better is one day in Your courts

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# Than thousands elsewhere

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# Better is one

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# Day. #

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APPLAUSE

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Before we go, I've just got time to tell you that next week,

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ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration as US president,

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we visit the tiny island of Lewis in the Southern Hebrides

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to explore its unexpected links with the future leader of the free world.

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And we'll hear about the strong Presbyterian history of the island.

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We stay in Scotland for our final hymn

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from St Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen.

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Josie d'Arby meets those whose faith has brought freedom from spiralling debt, and Katie Melua performs Rachmaninov's All Night Vigil.

Music:

Brightest and Best Are the Sons of the Morning from St Mary-Le-Tower, Ipswich Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here from Green Pastures, Ballymena Siyahamba from St James the Greater Church, Leicester All Night Vigil by Katie Melua and Gori Women's Choir When I Survey the Wondrous Cross from Romsey Abbey, Romsey Better Is One Day by Grey Coat Hospital Gospel Choir Holy Spirit Ever Living from St Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen.