Peterhead Songs of Praise


Peterhead

Josie d'Arby visits the fishing port of Peterhead and meets the trawlermen whose job is one of the most dangerous in Britain.


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Transcript


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I'm heading up the north-east coast of Scotland towards Peterhead,

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one of the biggest trawler communities in Europe.

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The sea is mercifully calm, but there are times

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when gale force winds can cause waves of 30ft and higher,

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which is why trawler fishing is considered

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one of the most dangerous ways to make a living.

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It's one of those places. It's me against Mother Nature again.

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Well, fishing is definitely in the blood of the two trawlermen

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that I'm meeting later today and the architect who risked his life

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to save others as a volunteer in the RNLI.

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And I'm stargazing at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

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Peterhead's association with fishing goes back many centuries.

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Its harbour was first built in 1593

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and it remains a base for around 550 fishermen,

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with over 90,000 tonnes of fish landed here each year.

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We're an island nation and a seafaring one,

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and that's reflected in our first hymn.

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Who knows how many fishermen, sailors and loved ones

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have sung these words for comfort in the face of the dangers of the sea?

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Jimmy Buchan worked for 40 years in the fishing industry

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and with his boat, Amity II,

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famously featured in the BBC series Trawlermen.

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It's a full force eight at the moment,

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probably even touching force nine.

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I mean, basically we shouldn't be shooting,

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but this is the pressure that comes onto the skipper.

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Watch yourself there, Kevin!

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Fishing has been all I've ever wanted to do

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from being a little boy. My grandfather was a fisherman.

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It missed a generation with my own dad.

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He was always very seasick.

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-I just couldn't wait to leave school to go fishing.

-Why?

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What about it appealed to you?

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It's the hunter-gatherer, it's the sense of freedom,

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it's chasing the bounty.

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Traditionally, fishermen are Christian. Why do you think that is?

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As harvesters of the sea,

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I think you're going out into a dangerous place

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and it's never a bad thing to have someone with you

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and sometimes we think things are very, very hard and very difficult

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and I always say that there is a stronger hand in this

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and he is guiding us all the way.

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There's a memorial near here to men that have lost their lives at sea.

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I suppose that's there as a constant reminder.

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There are fishermen who have left this port and have never come back,

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lost at sea, and it is not easy to talk about that,

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but it is a fact of life and it just gives you a constant reminder

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the dangers of fishing can still be quite catastrophic.

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The current skipper of the Amity II is Philip Reid,

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just back from a week-long fishing trip.

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-So, Phil, is fishing in your blood?

-It is, it is.

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I mean, my family, both sides have been fishing for generations.

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Can you remember the first time you stepped on a trawler?

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-How old were you?

-Well, I was still at school.

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-It was my summer holidays. I think I'd been... I was 14.

-Yeah.

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It was really difficult. It was really hard.

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I got no sleep, I was so tired.

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-When we came home, I was never going back to sea again.

-Really?

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Well, so much for that because now you're a skipper. How come?

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It's just a way of life. There's nothing quite like it.

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When you get a good catch, you're elated. It is a hard life.

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We'll go out to sea for seven or eight days and sometimes

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-I'll take two nights ashore, but usually it's just one.

-Yeah.

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-You're all Christians, right?

-Yep.

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So, when you're out at sea,

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are there times when you get together as Christians,

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as opposed to just as fellow crew members?

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There's not a lot of time for taking fellowship together,

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but we always sit down in the galley

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and we always say grace before we have a meal.

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It's just what we do.

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I see a New Testament over there.

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There's a lot in the Bible about fishing and fishermen.

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Yeah, there's the bit in the Bible when Jesus is fishing

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and they're getting a bad catch

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and Jesus tells them to cast their nets over the starboard side.

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So, as a tradition,

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we always take our catch onboard on the starboard side.

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-Wow! That's why you do it?

-That's why we do it.

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How important is your faith to you?

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-Speaking about your faith can be difficult sometimes.

-Yeah.

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It's something that you have within yourself and it's very personal.

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The Lord's with me every day,

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throughout every aspect of my day-to-day life.

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Sitting in a beautiful spot like this,

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you really are confronted with the wonder of God's creation

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and then when you factor in the stars and the planets

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and the universe, it's truly mindboggling and humbling.

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Well, the hugely popular series Stargazing Live

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has been back on our screens so we sent our own Reverend Kate Bottley

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to explore infinity and beyond at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

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2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Lovell Telescope.

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It's one of the biggest radio telescopes in the whole world

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and since the summer of 1957

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has been silently probing the depths of space.

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It's a real symbol of our desire to understand the universe

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in which we live, but does the more we discover about the cosmos

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create greater tension between faith and science?

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One woman who has an interest in both is astrophysicist

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and Christian Dr Althea Wilkinson.

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Tell me, what made you want to be an astrophysicist?

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I think I wanted to understand the answers

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to the big questions of life - why is there anything at all,

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how did the universe start and all this sort of thing.

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So I got into physics and then into astrophysics with that aim in mind.

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And, forgive me, explain to me what is it you do.

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We mostly get observations from big telescopes, like this one,

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but also optical telescopes and we analyse and understand

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and interpret the data to tell us what's up there.

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-And this big telescope is gathering data right now.

-It is.

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It's looking at a pulsar right at this minute.

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It's a rotating neutron star which is flashing

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and we're just seeing the flash each time it comes round.

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It sounds like the disco ball of the universe.

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-Like a lighthouse of the universe.

-Amazing!

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-And you're a person of faith as well as science.

-Yes.

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Do you think there's a conflict between faith and science?

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No, I don't. No, I don't at all think there is.

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In fact, I think they're, in a way, different aspects of the same thing.

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You know, I think you've got the scientific knowledge of mankind

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and you've got the faith knowledge of mankind,

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but it's all a small subset of the overall knowledge of God.

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And your journey to faith, was that an easy one?

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No, it was a huge surprise, actually.

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I went to a course on studying the Bible and I was telling

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a friend at the end of the course, "I can't do this faith thing,"

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and she said to me, "Well, it's not something you do.

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"It's something God does for you,"

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and I quite literally felt as if I'd been tapped on the shoulder

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and somebody had said, "You've not been paying attention.

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"I've been here all the time."

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So I decided that if that was true,

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that was the most important thing I'd ever heard

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and I decided to suspend disbelief

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and investigate further and I'm still investigating.

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-Like a proper scientist should, weighing up all the evidence.

-Yeah.

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Love it. And there's still lots more to find out about the universe.

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Oh, my goodness me, we're just at the beginning!

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And do you think as we find out more and more about the cosmos,

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do you think that faith will be lost

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if we discover more of the facts about our world?

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Well, you see,

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I don't think it needs to be because any increase

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in our knowledge actually just takes us a little further

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in understanding the whole totality of what God has done.

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# Sweet is the word, my God and king

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# To praise your name Give thanks and sing

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# To tell your love by morning light

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# Your faithfulness all through the night... #

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Today is the fifth Sunday of Lent and as Christians continue

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their time of reflection and preparation for Easter,

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we've a powerful hymn by Isaac Watts.

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Now recognised as the father of English hymnody,

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during his lifetime, he was controversial.

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Watts was the first to write hymn words

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based on personal feelings and testimony,

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though when he used the word "I" in the opening line

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of his most famous hymn, When I Survey The Wondrous Cross,

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he was actually revolutionising the way

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people expressed their faith in music.

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His masterpiece is sung here

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by the combined Welsh male voice choirs

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of Dunvant, Treorchy and Pendyrus.

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We're rolling back the years now to the 1960s.

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Peterhead looked much the same as always,

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but, as Radzi Chinyanganya has been finding out,

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the wind of change was blowing.

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1966, at the height of the swinging '60s,

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and London was the capital of cool.

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Rock and roll had revolutionised the music industry.

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WOMEN SCREAM

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But despite this wave of popularity sweeping the country,

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the Church was resistant to change.

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I think there's something rather discreditable in our attempt

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to get alongside the modern generation.

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No musical instrument or no combination of musical sounds

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or musical responses is going to meet the real need.

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But there was a group of young priests

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inspired by the new popular culture

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that believed traditional worship was driving young people away,

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so they came up with a plan - a book of contemporary hymns and music.

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And 50 years ago,

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this ground-breaking hymn book, Youth Praise, was launched

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and, with that, a new worship movement was born.

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Michael Baughan was one of the original founders

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of the Youth Praise movement.

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It was absolutely radical that we were trying to do something

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at which young people could sing and enjoy themselves and find worship.

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It wasn't welcome.

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It wasn't welcomed by organists and by many vicars, but, fortunately,

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there was a great movement amongst the younger clergy of the day.

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And it didn't stop with Youth Praise.

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A whole series of other new hymn books

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were inspired by that original.

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Just have a listen.

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I'll just sing through the verse and you have a listen.

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# Come and worship Christ the King

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# Come and bow before... #

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Joel Payne is keeping things right up to date,

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writing new hymns for today's congregations.

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# ..everlasting God... #

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Shall we try that together?

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# Come and worship Christ the King

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# Come and bow before... #

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What's the connection between what we do now

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compared to the original Praise movement?

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So much of what we think is normal in church these days -

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you see guitars, you see contemporary bands -

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before Youth Praise,

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particularly in the mainstream Anglican Church,

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nobody had a guitar.

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Nobody dared.

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# Oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh... #

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That small group of clergymen back then who recognised

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they needed to draw in elements of the culture to make sense

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of what they believed and that went on really to be the bedrock

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on which many of the contemporary hymn and songwriters

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that we know well today have actually built.

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# Over all the world His people sing

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# Shore to shore We hear them call... #

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Culture keeps moving and times change.

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What we believe in doesn't change.

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# Worship his holy name... #

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People were released at last to sing in a way

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which they wanted to sing and felt they could be Christians

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into the present day, in spite of the Church,

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in spite of it still sticking in the mud.

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So great hymns that have lasted

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and so an awful lot resulted from it, far beyond our expectations.

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There's been a lifeboat station at Peterhead for over 150 years.

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This early photograph taken in 1883 shows a daring rescue.

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Thankfully, all the crew were saved.

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Paul Whitham became a lifeboat volunteer 16 years ago

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after being rescued himself by the Peterhead RNLI.

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He's on call day and night throughout the year.

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What goes through your mind on the way to a rescue?

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The immediate sort of things that run into your mind

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are what are we going to?

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Who's potentially needing saved and how many people?

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You know what you didn't mention was concern for yourself.

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You don't consider that?

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You tend not to think about it.

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I guess if you thought about it, you maybe wouldn't do it.

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All the volunteers are the same.

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"This is what I'm doing - get on and do it."

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I guess serving others is everything

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that we are asked to do as a Christian

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and this maybe does fall into that category of serving others.

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How do you cope when you're not able to save someone?

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Everyone deals with things in their own way,

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but what I find helps is the volunteers here

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are a good bunch of guys.

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If there's been a shout where there's been a tragic ending,

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we can sit round the table and sort of have

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a cup of coffee or tea or whatever and we just chat it through

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and it just helps to realise that life goes on,

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no matter what the circumstances we've just witnessed

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and it just helps us to get through it.

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Paul, how does your faith help you when you're out there on the sea?

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I guess it's a case of knowing that when we're out there,

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I know that God's looking out for me.

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I know that in the Gospels, it tells the story of Jesus

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with his disciples on the lake in Galilee

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and while he's there, the storm brews up.

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His disciples are afraid and he calms the storm

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and I guess when I go out in a lifeboat,

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I've got that reassurance that it doesn't really matter

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what the weather is, Jesus is always behind the scenes

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and always looking out to protect us and he can calm the storm.

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Next week, we're in the Yorkshire Dales during lambing season.

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But we end today with a song of love -

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the love of God for us all.

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Bye-bye.

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Josie d'Arby visits the fishing port of Peterhead and meets the trawlermen whose job is one of the most dangerous in Britain. Plus a look back at a music revolution in the church 50 years ago.

Music:

Eternal Father, Strong To Save from St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth When Morning Gilds The Skies from St Aidan's Church, Leeds Praise Him from All Saints Ecclesall Parish Church, Sheffield When I Survey The Wondrous Cross from Morrison Tabernacle Chapel, Swansea Spirit Of The Living God from St Nicholas's Church, Nottingham Lord, You Have Come To The Seashore from St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow Good, Good Father from City Gates Church, Ilford.


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