Nottingham Songs of Praise


Nottingham

David Grant discovers a city full of surprises and introduces contemporary hymns and songs from St Nic's Church, led by Steve Thompson and special guest Lara Martin.


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Transcript


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MUSIC: "Bolero" by Maurice Ravel

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Well, this is my first time presenting Songs Of Praise

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and I'm already skating on thin ice.

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I'm here in Nottingham, home of Britain's most famous

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ice dancing duo, Torvill and Dean and I'm keen to impress...

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..and so in honour of them, my dance partner and I

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shall demonstrate the Bolero.

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This week, youth with a mission,

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the church that's getting a makeover,

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the group bringing light into the darkness,

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plus contemporary worship songs

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and special guest, Lara Martin.

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I might not have presented Songs Of Praise before,

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but I'm certainly no stranger to the programme.

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You might have seen me helping to choose the winners

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of the fabulous school choirs competition.

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Well, there's no judging to do today

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but we've got lots of great music from St Nic's Church

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in the city centre and, as you can see, they've got the builders in.

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And let's find out how it all looks later.

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Our music recording was one of the last events

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to be held at the old church before it was handed over

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to the developers.

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And we began with a popular worship song

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led by Steve Thompson and his band.

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Nottingham's a great city, full of surprises.

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Football's one of my biggest passions

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and Nottingham's home to not one, but two football clubs -

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Nottingham Forest and the world's oldest professional football club,

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Notts County.

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I've always wanted to do this.

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And this is a great shirt but it's not mine.

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This is mine.

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Now, where's that ball?

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Sherwood Forest on the outskirts of the city is the legendary hideout

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of our most famous outlaw, Robin Hood.

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Which way to the castle, mate?

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Oh, that way.

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Nottingham Castle has stood firm in the city centre

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through centuries of battles and conflicts.

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And the castle walls still hold many secrets

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of Nottingham's turbulent past,

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including this maze of caves used as secret passages into the castle

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for supplies and even people.

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Today, the castle museum charts the history of the city.

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Including its thriving trade in religious sculptures

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carved from alabaster,

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which were highly sought after in the Middle Ages.

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And these sculptures are more than just works of art.

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In an age when most people couldn't read or write,

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they told the Christian story.

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For the past six months, the congregation at St Nic's Church

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have been worshipping elsewhere

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so the building can move with the times.

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The landscape of the city's changed throughout the years

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and so the role of the church has changed too.

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If you go back to the Georgian era,

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this church was known as the "drawing room church"

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where all the wealthy people came.

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But then, of course, it became a slum area and then the slums

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were demolished and now it's a commercial area,

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and a place where people come to shop.

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Congregation member, Martin Paradise,

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has played a key role in the development.

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We're taking the old, slightly tired church and rebuilding it,

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re-ordering it, they call it in the Church Of England.

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Both ends of the building, interior and exterior,

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bringing it up to the 21st century.

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The big thing at that end of the building is a new balcony.

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A very thin, floating balcony that's going to curve right across

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the west end of the church.

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This end, we're sitting in it. This is the new baptistery.

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We didn't have a baptistery before,

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we had a portable thing that we put together and took apart,

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so this one is much more shallow and it does take a seven foot person

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because we tried it with the builders and laid them down.

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So, basically, it's a shallow pool for baptising people.

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As well as providing better facilities for its congregation,

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the hope is the new church will draw more people in.

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It's a way that you can dovetail into modern society

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and I think you've got have something that is attractive to people who've never been to church.

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There are people who never went to church or Sunday school.

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They have no idea who Jesus was.

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You've only got to look at the number of people who sit out on the grass

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having their sandwiches.

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We're hoping to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so, hopefully,

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the people will wander in, have a cup of coffee,

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just somewhere on this side of the city that's a nice place to go.

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This is virtually funded by the members of the congregation

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to hundreds of thousands of pounds so that's fantastic so quite rightly,

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they have an interest in the way it's hopefully going to turn out.

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Although it's not finished yet, some members of the congregation

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have been taking a first look at the building.

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The key impression is light, openness, space

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and it's going to be a really flexible space

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where you can use it for all sorts.

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It will lift our spirits quite a lot.

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That's the phrase that came to my mind as well.

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I think people are excited at the openness of it.

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I mean, we could see it on the plans beforehand, obviously,

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and you get an idea in your head about what it's going to look like

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but things change between plan and build,

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particularly with the balcony and such like,

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it's been really good.

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You know, you could have asked what modern cities are for.

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Is it just a playground? Or is it just a place to come and work?

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Or a place to go and buy loads of stuff?

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Or does it have a spiritual heart?

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So it's to be a place of prayer, a place of community,

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a place of mission and outreach and it's hoping to be a place

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of equipping Christian disciples to live today.

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We're going to just be gardening this morning, OK?

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'When you tell someone you're Christian,

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'they have this vision of you sitting in your high tower,'

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or in your church kind of going,

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"Look at the world, isn't it a bad place?

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"We're safe in our church."

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But that's not what Christianity is about.

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That's not what my faith is about or what these people's faith is about.

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Richard Dawson is passionate about getting young people

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out of their churches and into the community.

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We aim to take a group of young people from churches

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and local schools that maybe don't have a faith

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and we take them across the country.

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They don't know where they're going. It's a mystery.

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We head to another Youth for Christ centre,

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working with the local church to bless a community.

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But today's group are closer to home, in Nottingham,

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where they're gardening for people unable to do it for themselves.

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We want to show that young people aren't just

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mischievous and horrible.

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We want to show them that we care, we're not just about ourselves,

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that we care about other people as well.

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When I was chopping the hedges, I really enjoyed it.

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When I went on to chopping the little trees,

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I really enjoyed it as well.

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You're, like, helping the community and people who can't,

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like, help themselves.

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One of the things we're really passionate about is saying,

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"Hey, how as a Christian are we making a difference

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"in this world and bringing God's kingdom into a real community?"

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Being a Christian means trying to be Christ-like.

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Jesus loved the people he was around,

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Jesus made the biggest impact on society that history has ever seen.

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So surely, as his followers, we should do the same.

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Without Richard and Youth for Christ,

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I probably wouldn't be out here doing this.

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Nottingham's a big city. We can only do the little bit that we are.

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I think one of the things I'm really passionate about is just letting

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every young person in the city

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know their potential and know of their worth.

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That would be awesome.

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I think I could sit back in my rocking chair with a flat cap

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if that happened and just go, "I've done it."

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In the Bible, Jesus tells the story of a man on a journey

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to Jericho who is ambushed and left battered,

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bloodied and injured by the roadside.

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People passed by, ignoring him,

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until one man has compassion on him and stops to help him.

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'The story of the good Samaritan has inspired a group

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'here in Nottingham to try to help prostitutes to get off the streets.'

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We are a project that really seeks to demonstrate the love of Jesus

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to women working in the sex industry in Nottingham.

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Our desire is really to be showing love to them

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and we would like to see them moving forward,

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not being on the street, but in a really positive way.

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We go out two or three times a week

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and drive around the main red light area

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and just stop when we see someone,

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offer them something to eat and drink

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and allow them to get into our van

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and maybe just have a kind of safe space amidst the night.

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'One woman, who we'll call Ruth, was helped off the streets

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'with the support of Jericho Road and has now become a Christian.'

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Just met them on the street one day.

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I was, I don't know where I was going.

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Probably to score drugs or something like that.

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They were an outreach project. They just stopped and chatted to me.

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How did you feel when they approached?

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Very scared. Wondered what they were up to, what they were about,

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what they wanted me for.

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-Did it bother you that they were Christians?

-Yeah, it did.

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Yeah, it did, really.

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I've never known any religion or anything like that.

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It was just a load of God squad people to me, Bible bashers.

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I didn't know nothing about it.

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-I was just very naive and very ignorant.

-How did they help you?

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In every way you could think possible, really.

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They helped me with finding new accommodation

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when I came out of prison, they've helped me spiritually.

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Erm, everything, really.

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It really challenges your faith and it inspires it.

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Yeah, it really kind of grows it and I think

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it's because of a faith in a God that gives life in abundance

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and a God that can really do amazing things and change and restore lives.

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That's why we do what we do, that's what the project is about.

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-What's your life like now?

-Erm, a million times better.

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Erm, when I was in Nottingham it was just all about me.

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What I wanted what I could get for myself.

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Now I work with churches, I volunteer to work with homeless people.

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Now I look at life as what I can do for other people.

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Now I've become a Christian,

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it's only a year and a half ago but, yeah, it's a lot, lot different now.

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# God sees you

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# He knows where you are

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# You are not forgotten, no

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# God knows you

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# He chose you

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# He's spoken of in heaven

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# Only God

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# Only God can see

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# Inside every human heart

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# Only God

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# Really knows you

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# And God made you

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# He loves you as you are

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# You are not just a face in a crowd

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# God hears you

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# He's near you

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# And he's closer than you think

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# Only God

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# Only God can see

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# Inside every human heart

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# Only God

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# Really knows you

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# You, you, you, you, you

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# And only God

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# Truly understands

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# The issues of the heart

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# Only God

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# Only God

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# You are God's masterpiece

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# When will you realise that it's true?

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# There is a God who cares

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# A God who loves

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# A God who sees

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# God hears you

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# He's near you

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# And he's closer than you think. #

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Lord, we praise you for what you've given us

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and for what you've promised us.

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Give us the courage to come out from all our churches into the world.

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That our lives may proclaim your glory

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and your whole creation may reveal your love.

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We give ourselves to you

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and ask that our daily work may be part of the life of your kingdom

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and that our love may be your love

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reaching out into the life of the world.

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Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen.

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I've come to the end of my visit to Nottingham

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and I've really enjoyed it.

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It's great to see a city that's thriving in both body and spirit.

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We're going back to the old St Nic's for our final song,

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which I'm sure the congregation are going to sing again with gusto

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when the building work is complete. Happy Day!

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Next week is Bible Sunday and Aled will be marking

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the 400th anniversary of the King James version

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with a visit to Oxford.

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Congregations from all over Britain

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and the King Singers will be celebrating how the good book

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continues to inspire today.

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Time is running out for entries

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to our prestigious School Choir of the Year.

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It'll be the 10th year of the competition

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as it goes from strength to strength.

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If you think your school choir's got what it takes

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then go to our website, where you'll find all the information you need.

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Schools need to send in their entries by October 28th,

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so you need to be quick to avoid missing the boat.

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Let's see if your school could be crowned champions.

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There's nothing quite like it -

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the Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year competition.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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E-mail [email protected]

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