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All Things Considered - - A World of Music

All Things Considered



Religious affairs programme, tackling the thornier issues of the day in a thought-provoking manner
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access_time6 days ago
Today (Sunday May 2nd) the Most Revd John David Edward Davies will preside and preach at his final service in Brecon Cathedral before retiring after 13 years as Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, and three and half years as Archbishop of Wales. But in those few years leading the Anglican Church in Wales, the workload has been extra heavy. Apart from ongoing issues - such as the decline in church attendance, ageing congregations and environmental issues, there have been the ravages of the Covid 19 pandemic. Archbishop Davies has had to lead his church’s response, and adapt its ministry and pastoral care, not least to the bereaved,

The Archbishop’s departure comes at a critical time for churches as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased. In conversation with Roy Jenkins, the Archbishop reflects on the highs and lows of this leadership role, the pandemic and the church’s response. The Church in Wales hasn’t been alone in having to quickly grasp internet technology, not least for online worship and meetings. He considers how the pandemic will shape the church’s ministry in the future.
access_time13 days ago
At a time when Muslims across the world are observing Ramadan, Azim Ahmed explores the concept of 'sacred time.'

For most people of faith, observing ‘sacred time’ is a key part of their daily religious life. ‘Sacred time’ might be rhythmic, tied to the movement of the sun and the moon. Or it could be very intimate, created through quiet moments of reflection in one’s home. The religious day as well as the religious calendar is punctuated in many religions through times set aside for worship or celebration.

But the concept of time can vary widely between traditions – from the cyclical understanding of time in Hinduism to linear time as understood by Abrahamic faiths.

In the programme we speak to three guests about these concepts; Hajra Nadeem, a Muslim, a project manager for Google and a life coach who lives in Cardiff. Akhandadhi Das is a Hindu theologian and the former director of Buckland Hall in the Brecon Beacons. Sister Catherine Wybourne is a Benedictine Nun and a Catholic. She is the prioress of Howton Grove Priory in Herefordshire.
access_time20 days ago
Mary Stallard looks at the life, work and faith of Henry Vaughan, poet and physician, who was born and in the Usk Valley 400 years ago, and who celebrated his native land under the guise of 'The Swan of Usk'. Vaughan lived through the troubles of the Civil War - shut out of his beloved church, living and working in a country divided by deep political divisions, and where plague was a constant threat, Vaughan's poetry is strikingly relevant to our times. Mary's guests include Professor Helen Wilcox, Dr Mervyn Bramley, and Dr Elizabeth Siberry.
access_time1 month ago
In some regards it's the original locked-room mystery: suddenly, two women discover that a dead body has gone from the sealed tomb. But gone where? And how? Roy Jenkins discusses Jesus' resurrection with a scientist, an artist, and former rector his wife who volunteer to guide visitors around the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. How do Christians make sense of the absence of Christ's body in the tomb?

Retired vicar Stuart Bell and his wife Pru are enthusiastic tour guides to the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, which some believe closely resembles the tomb described in the Gospels; Professor David Wilkinson is an astrophysicist and theologian at the University of Durham; artist Richard Bavin paints and exhibits in Herefordshire and in Wales, and his painting of The Empty Tomb is held by the Methodist Modern Art Collection.

The Empty Tomb is reproduced here by kind permission of Richard Bavin.
access_time1 month ago
The United Nations climate change conference (COP 26) will meet in Glasgow this November. It’s the first time the conference has been held in the UK, and representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet to tackle the climate emergency. For many this is seen as a crucial opportunity to work together to reduce global carbon emissions. The Bishop of St. Davids, Joanna Penberthy, has launched a virtual pilgrimage to Glasgow to draw attention to the conference, and churches across Wales are holding a ‘Climate Change Sunday’ to raise awareness too.

Jonathan Thomas hears about these endeavours, and explores the concept of ‘Creation Care’. He hears how for some Christians looking after the Earth is central to their Christian life – not simply a nice and well-meaning addition to it. Andy Atkins from the global environmental charity A-Rocha explains how their ‘Eco-Church’ award scheme works, and how it’s supporting people across Wales to make changes to everyday church life to help protect the environment.
access_time2 months ago
Kind words are like honey" the Bible tells us, "they are sweet for the soul and healthy for the body". But as Roy Jenkins discovers in this week's programme, kindness isn't always about saying nice things to people; true kindness can sometimes involve telling unpalatable facts. The programme shares the stories and insights of four very different people who’ve both received and sometimes offered kindness in extraordinary ways. Brenda Fogg started a charity for homeless people in Llandudno after the kindness she received from others in that town; Idris Baker is a consultant in palliative care, deeply aware of the need to offer kind words and to listen to his patients; disability theologian Jane Wallman-Girdlestone offers her perspective as a wheelchair and guide-dog user, whilst Wynford Ellis-Owen speaks about the importance of a moment of true kindness in helping him on his journey of recovery from alcohol addiction.
access_time2 months ago
A programme to mark Mothering Sunday that has our presenter’s name all over it; Mary Stallard explores the relevance and significance for us today of Jesus’s mother, Mary of Nazareth. We hear about some of the long-standing traditions that have evolved around Mothering Sunday. It’s a day on which many church communities will honour their mothers and grandmothers as well as Mary herself. During the programme we hear from both Roman Catholics and Protestants about what Mary means to them. We also learn how Mary is the inspiration for contemporary religious movements and prayer groups.

While Mary is loved by many to the extent of prayers offered to her, she has become a divisive person for others. Certainly, the ‘Magnificat’ - Mary’s poetic expression upon hearing she would be the mother of Jesus - has been seen as a powerful text. But with lines such as ‘he hath put down the mighty from their seat’, it can also make for an uncomfortable message.

Finally we consider another text - the ‘Stabat Mater’, Mary’s outpouring of grief at the foot of the cross upon which Jesus is being crucified, and explore whether it has anything to say to us during the present pandemic.

Our guests are the Very Revd Sarah Rowland-Jones OBE, Dean of St David’s Cathedral; the Revd Dr Gareth Leyshon and Revd Fr Matthew Roache-Saunders; Lucy Williams from Cwmbran and a member of ‘Focolare’, Revd Fr Damian Jackson SJ from St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Denbighshire, and the Revd Dr Jennie Hurd, Chair of the Synod Cymru district of the Methodist Church.

Music in the programme includes extracts from ‘Ave Maria’ by Robert Parsons, The St David’s Service by Neil Cox, ‘Stabat Mater’ by Giovanni Pergolesi and popular Marian hymns including ‘Daily daily’, and ‘Immaculate Mary’.
access_time2 months ago
Rosa Hunt looks at the implications of censuses for people of faith. Whilst the question concerning religions is a relatively recent innovation, censuses go back to ancient times. Some of the earliest references are to be found in the Bible, although within Jewish tradition there is deep suspicion towards the idea of counting individual people, as Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok explains. In Christian the most famous census of all is the one mentioned in Luke's Gospel - a census that some claim never happened. But according to Sabine Huebner, a professor of ancient history, there is compelling evidence that Luke may be a reliable historian. Moreover, it is possible to see some of the world's earliest census returns recorded on papyrus and preserved in the dry heat of Egypt.

But what of Wales' relationship to the census? Sociologist David Voas eagerly anticipates the answers to the religion question, but voices scepticism as to the reliability of the data when it comes to matters of religious belief, as opposed to cultural identity. Rosa talks to two ministers working in what emerged to be the least Christian part of Wales at the last census - Blaenau Gwent. Does the census data match up with the impression of working day-to-day with a church and wider community?
access_time2 months ago
The fires of Revival in the nineteenth century sent missionaries from Wales around the world, and many of them fostered Christian communities which still thrive today. On the eve of St. David’s Day we ask why Christians from different countries are drawn back to Wales and why many feel so passionate about this land.

Chris and Lyra Vaz are pastors at the Gateway Church in Abergavenny. Lyra’s home region of Shillong in North Eastern India was visited by Thomas Jones, a missionary from Montgomeryshire, and Christianity still thrives there to this day. We hear what brought them to Wales, how easy they found it to make a home here, and their hopes for faith communities in Wales.

Wales has had a close connection with Korea since the visit of Robert Jermain Thomas in 1865. Today the SaRang megachurch in Seol, which often sees 40, 000 people in their Sunday congregations, is financially supporting The Union College of Theology in Bridgend. We hear from their Executive Director Joel Morris, who was sent by the church as a missionary to Wales to oversee the college development.

But what about revival? Many people who come here have been motivated by passion to see spiritual renewal – so is there a certain disappointment in the present reality? Rana Khan, Rector of St. Edmund’s Church in Crickhowell argues that we might need to revisit our image of revival. Pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Newbridge, Peter Cho, shares his vision of hope for faith communities in Wales.
access_time3 months ago
A recent government announcement stated that anybody found to be lying about entering the UK from a red list country could face a maximum prison sentence of ten years - considerably more than some sexual offences, and even violent crime. Although serious, does the crime merit such stringent punishment? And what in any case is the purpose of punishment, when so many prisoners re-offend soon after their release?

Roy Jenkins looks at some of the issues, and talks to a number of people who have all thought deeply about this, and have been guided by their Christian faith, and yet who have all come to different conclusions. Roy's guests include former solicitor and pastor Stephen Clark; restorative justice champion Julia Houlston-Clark; conservative academic Adrian Hilton of the Margaret Thatcher Centre; Chief Inspector Stuart Bell of Dyfed-Powys Police Force; and ex-offender and evangelist Peter Gladwin.
access_time3 months ago
Ideally ‘home’ is a place of comfort, security and a place to return to. But under lockdown our homes have become a microcosm of the outside world; they are serving as an office, a classroom, play space and even an isolation unit. This experience is challenging for us all, and we’ll hear from recently ordained deacon and poet Ben Lines about ups and downs of family life.

Lockdown is immeasurably tougher for those who are already vulnerable and living in poor or unstable accommodation. Roy Jenkins hears from two organisations; Care for Families and Safer Families, who are supporting those in need. Dr Malcolm Brown will examine the Biblical understanding of 'home' and why having a decent home is so important for people to flourish. He is joint editor of a recent book on Christian perspectives on housing. It’s one of the outcomes of a commission set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury to look at the housing crisis in the United Kingdom.

The pandemic led to a government sponsored programme to house all rough sleepers. Housing Justice Cymru believes this could be a genuine opportunity to move from a crisis response to homelessness towards supporting people into long term accommodation. We’ll hear how their Citadel project can help people to develop a new sense of ‘home.’
access_time3 months ago
Is it always wrong to lie? Is even sometimes acceptable to lie? Jonathan Thomas looks at the range of lies, from little white lies, small fibs to subtle deceptions and giant whoppers.
Despite our moral outrage at being lied to, most of us learn to lie at a young age, as a normal part of our development. Professor Victoria Talwar of McGill University, Montreal, has studied lying in children at her research laboratory, establishing that the vast majority of children between the ages of 4-7 will be inclined to tell a lie, of greater or lesser subtlety according to their age and cognitive development. For theologian Revd Dr Craig Gardiner there's a distinction to be drawn between dry facts and multi-faceted truth, and there are some occasions when the better course is to tell a bare-faced lie. For criminal barrister Andrew Taylor spotting lies is part and parcel of his daily work and he reveals some of the tell-tale signs he watches out for in witnesses. Meanwhile, for psychologist Dr Lewis Bott the process of telling the truth and telling a lie is very similar, and some accomplished liars can go undetected. For him, there is nothing to beat patient sifting of the facts to establish whether or not somebody is lying.
access_time3 months ago
China calls it 're-education' and a clampdown on Islamic terror; others call it genocide, with disturbing parallels to the events of the Holocaust. Roy Jenkins reports on the plight of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang, or East Turkestan in China. With a language and culture quite distinct from that of the Han Chinese people, it's now estimated that 1M people or more are being detained in 're-education camps', incarcerated on grounds of race, culture and religion. Roy Jenkins talks to one Uyghur exile, Rahima Mahmut, who is campaigning on behalf of her people, despite the obvious dangers to her own safety and that of her family back in China. She has lost contact with her brothers and sisters since the 2016 clampdown on Uyghurs. Her story has caught the attention of a prominent Jewish human rights campaigner, Mia Hasenson-Gross, and there are now widening calls for bringing economic and moral pressure to bear on the Chinese government.
access_time4 months ago
Challenges like Veganuary to eat vegan food, or Dry January when people give up alcohol, are increasingly popular at this time of year. Intermittent fasting, where people limit food intake on certain days, has become a mainstream secular diet in recent years, chosen for health and weight loss. But for religious people fasting, or choosing to abstain from certain food or drink, is far more than a dietary decision. For them fasting is believed to be a way to gain a closer spiritual connection with God.

In this programme we’ll speak to four guests about the significance of fasting in their religions. Laura Jones is a Muslim and is completing her PhD at Cardiff University on Ramadan in Britain. Gemma Simmonds is a sister of the Congregation of Jesus and a Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Theology at the Margaret Beaufort Institute in Cambridge. Sarah Whittleston grew up in Caerphilly, and is the leader of prayer ministry at Elim Pentecostal Church. She regularly leads fasting events for the network of churches that span England and Wales. Reverend Jon Birch is from South Wales Baptist College and fasting forms an integral part of his own personal religious practise.
access_time4 months ago
Roy Jenkins' guest today is a man who once failed to recognise his own father because he’d been beaten up so badly by police officers.
As a boy, he’d himself been stopped several times as he was carrying his trumpet home from music practice.
Yet in his twenties, he gave up a career as a hospital research scientist to become… a policeman.
Dr Leroy Logan served the Metropolitan Police for more than 30 years before retiring with the rank of Superintendent.
Incidents from his life were dramatised in Steve McQueen’s recent BBC1 series Small Axe, and he’s written his autobiography, Closing Ranks, My Life as a Cop
As a founder member of the Black Police Association, he was rarely far from controversy, witnessing at first hand many of the effects of institutional racism. He’s never been afraid to call it out, drawing strength from an active Christian faith, and with a passionate commitment to justice and the needs of young people in particular.
access_time4 months ago
Roy Jenkins looks back at some of the subjects which have featured in All Things Considered during 2020.

This year, many editions of the programme have reacted to the Covid epidemic, exploring how people have dealt with this crisis in the light of their faith, how they’ve approached fear and suffering, how faith communities have coped with restrictions on worship, handled funerals, managed not to sing together, addressed need around them and used innovative means of spreading their message…and much more.

But for this review, Roy steers clear of Covid 19 - and Brexit - to look at some of the other subjects which have been covered in a year which would be momentous even without the epidemic.

Subjects revisited range from the toppling of statues in Bristol and the impact of Black Lives Matter to the role of evanglical christians in US politics, taking in an interview with the nun and anti-death penalty campaigner Helen Prejean and interviews with the singer-songwriters Graham Kendrick and Martyn Joseph, in a year which began with a commemmoration of the centenary of the disestablishment of the Church in Wales.
access_time5 months ago
Roy Jenkins looks at the work of Eryl Parry, a Pioneering Minister in the Church in Wales' Bro Celynnin ministry area. At a time when traditional, packed carol services are an impossibility, Eryl and musical director Chris Roberts have motivated dozens of individual churchgoers and non-churchgoers to either sing, play an instrument, or say a prayer in their place of work, or in a church. Carolau Conwy or Conwy Carols can be seen online via You Tube, and since its launch at the start of the month has been viewed by many thousands of people in Conwy and across the globe.
access_time5 months ago
University is normally seen as a time to explore new horizons, friendships and career paths, but this term it looks entirely different due to the Corona Virus. Now students live and study in small bubbles and the majority of their learning is done virtually. Opportunities for social interaction are limited, and clubs and societies have gone online. It’s a dramatic shift, and Mary Stallard finds out how staff and students are adapting to this new way of life.

We hear from three students; Olaitan Olawander, a master’s student and member of the Islamic Society at Bangor University, Kristy Howard, a medical student and Catholic from Swansea University, and Georgia Day, President of the Student Christian Movement, Cardiff Chapter. We go behind the scenes of campus life to hear what their life is really like, and find out how their faith has offered solid footing when everything around them has changed.

Staff have risen to the enormous challenge of moving their teaching online, and Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones from Cardiff University explains the daily challenges he faces, and how a quiet faith has been a resource. We ask NUS Wales President Becky Ricketts whether students should still be paying nine thousand pounds a year for such a radically different experience.

There is a network of dedicated student chaplains across Wales supporting young people who are living away from home. We meet Nathan Jarvis, Church in Wales Chaplain at Bangor University. He runs a food bank and this term he’s seen an increase in poverty in the student population. Chaplain Delyth Liddell has set up an innovative venture at Cardiff University to support student mental health. She’s also got plans to support students who aren’t able to go home for Christmas.
access_time5 months ago
2020 has been a year of unprecedented firsts, not least in the mass closure during lockdown of churches across the United Kingdom. Whilst many churches saw it as their responsibility to close quickly and without fuss, a sense of unease has been growing amongst some. Indeed one group of church leaders in England and Wales has now requested a judicial review of these closures, whilst some churches have met despite the government guidance.

In Wales, as tighter rules are put in place for other sectors, churches are now able to meet physically, though with restrictions – at least until Christmas. But, how far is it right for the government to legislate whether a church can meet or not, and how they do it? Is physical church activity non-essential – and what are the potential implications of such actions in the future?

Joining Jonathan to discuss these issues are: the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph, whose churches closed during lockdown; Rev Wade McLennan, Pastor, New Hope Community Church in Llanrumney, whose services in the second lockdown were stopped by police; Menna Machreth, welsh language activist and one of the leaders of a welsh language Baptist church in Caernarfon; and Rev Dr Peter Naylor, Minister of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Cardiff, one of the signatories to the legal challenge.
access_time5 months ago
As we begin the season of Advent, the pandemic means Christmas this year will probably be like none other ever since Mary and Joseph set out for Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. While it looks as though churches and places of worship will be allowed to hold services, there will be restrictions and health precautions. What then will this Christmas be like, and how are churches going to celebrate? Christmas is the season for giving and remembering those in need; we ask whether the long shadow of Covid will cast a long shadow over the meaning of this holy season.

In this programme laced with Christmas music, Rosa Hunt has been talking to those who celebrate Christmas year-in year-out, but who this year have had to find new ways of marking the birth of Christ, from innovative use of the internet to quiet meditation. Guests include Dr Emma Gibbins, director of music at St Woolos Cathedral, Lucy Graham - one of the choristers there, Revd Aled Davies of the Welsh Sunday school council, Cath Woolridge, a contemporary worship leader and author, and Revd Dean Aaron Roberts, Rector of a group of parishes centred on. Rudry near Caerphilly.
access_time6 months ago
Waiting at shops, waiting for a vaccine, grappling with changing rules we're often reminded these days that 'patience is a virtue'. But how important a virtue is it? Roy Jenkins talks to some people whose patience has been tested to extremes, and who have all managed to overcome their natural impatience. Rev'd Shirley Murphy has patiently put up with racism, whilst Rev'd Zoe Heming has had to bear chronic pain. Special needs teacher Myra Harris talks about the patience required in her job of teaching young autistic and non-verbal children, (not to mention teaching piano to young students!) whilst theologian Paul Dafydd Jones has become so fascinated by the various uses, and misuses of the term in Christian theology, that he's writing a two-volume work on the subject.
access_time6 months ago
All Things Considered on BBC Radio Wales today marks the death of one of Britain’s most influential religious leaders.

Lord Jonathan Sacks was Chief Rabbi for 22 years, widely honoured far beyond his own community as an intellectual giant, an original thinker making profound teachings accessible to non-specialists.

More than 20 books and many lecture tours gave him a global audience; millions listened to his regular broadcasts; and his views were widely sought.

As Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth, he carried responsibility for most Orthodox Jews, and walked some very difficult lines. But he persisted in setting out what he believed it meant to be Jewish.

Roy Jenkins met Jonathan Sachs in 2009 when he published his book ‘Future Tense – a vision for Jews and Judaism in the global culture’.
access_time6 months ago
Is now the time to start to remember all those men and women who have given their lives in service to others (doctors, nurses, police officers and others) as well as those who have served in the armed forces? Roy Jenkins explores the the significance and expression of remembrance during the current restrictions, and talks to a number of people from around Wales, including writer and artist Ted Harrison, Rev'd Zoe King, Professor Uzo Iwobi, Rev'd Euryl Howells, and undertaker Alan James.
access_time6 months ago
250 years ago this November, the Methodist John Wesley preached a sermon in which he popularised that phrase: “agree to disagree”. The idea that those with opposing points of view can co-exist within a system, has always been essential for democracy to work. In both the US and the UK, the democratic practices of churches had a significant impact on the development of our contemporary political systems.

But there’s a growing sense today of polarisation in democracies around the world, epitomised by this year’s particularly bitter US election battle. What’s happened to our ability to agree to disagree? What could we learn from those democratically pioneering churchmen, and does a faith-driven ethic have anything to offer democracy today?

Talking to Rosa Hunt about these issues are:

Chris Anderson: social scientist, a professor in policy and politics at the London School of Economics
Gina Miller: Political campaigner
George Craig: Methodist preacher and a former senior civil servant at the Welsh Assembly
Rev Jamie Washam: Minister of the First Baptist Church in Rhode Island
Philip Jenkins: professor of history and religion at Baylor University in Texas, and a contributing editor for American Conservative Magazine
Sarah Teather: former minister in the coalition government, now the director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in the UK
access_time6 months ago
We currently live in a world of masks. Be it a shop, office or even a wedding, we all need to wear a face covering. Jonathan Thomas asks whether there are unintended implications from wearing a mask in a religious setting, and we hear from Muslim Azim Ahmed about how wearing a mask has presented theological challenges to worship. He discusses why some Muslim women choose to veil their faces, and the opposition to this in some secular countries. We ask whether new light might be shed on this discussion now we are all covering our faces in some way. Radhika Kadaba explains the importance of the face to Hindu worship, and how applying KumKuma to the forehead opens up a connection to the divine.

We explore how different religions approach the face of God, and whether this has any meaning or message for us today. Father James Siemens explains the importance of icons to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and the wonders of the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. Art historian Professor John Harvey from Aberystwyth University discusses how artists over the centuries have grappled with whether they can depict God at all. For Muslims Allah and the Prophet Muhammad are beyond human comprehension so are not depicted visually, but instead artists and architects have used design and geometric patterns to express the heights of their faith.
access_time7 months ago
This week's programme marks the life of Dilys Price OBE, who's died at the age of 88.

Dilys was perhaps best known as the world’s oldest female skydiver. A remarkable woman whose infectious enthusiasm inspired everyone who met her, she was a dancer, teacher, public speaker, the founder of the Cardiff based Touch Trust, working with people with disabilities, and much more. Her life was one of ups and downs – quite literally – including in her relationship with her Christian faith – and in 2018, at the age of 86, she added to her list of achievements working as a fashion model.

She grew up in a Bible College where her family welcomed Jewish refugees who'd arrived in Swansea on the Kindertransport, and as a young woman she learnt to dance with the celebrated Rudolf Laban, a German exile who had fallen foul of the Nazis at the 1933 Berlin Olympics. A whirlwind romance in the 1950s saw her marry the man she'd got engaged to on the evening they first met, and on retiring from a career as a dance teacher and educator she founded the Touch Trust in the late 1990s, just in time to become part of the new Wales Millennium Centre.

In September 2018, Mary Stallard met her to talk about her journey of faith through the - sometimes literal - ups and downs of a remarkable life.
access_time7 months ago
To be fair, I didn't know he was a burglar at the time!" Would you let a burglar stay in your house? Would you even give him the keys? That's what one of Roy Jenkin's guests did in the name of hospitality! The plight of the hospitality industry is much in the new, and in this context hospitality is largely a commercial transaction. But for many people of faith, showing unconditional hospitality, making room for the stranger, is a fundamental expression of their religion, and a demonstration of human compassion. Roy Jenkins talks to Rabbi Monique Mayer of Cardiff Reformed Synagogue; to Ben Sutton, a member of Llanrhian Church in Pembrokeshire, who has volunteered at the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos; and to writer Andrew Graystone, who has offered hospitality to numerous guests, including asylum seekers and a burglar!
access_time7 months ago
A dog called Eric; a cat called Noel. On World Animal Day, which also happens to be the feast of St Francis, 4th October, Roy Jenkins explores the relationship between people and their pets. Is this something St Francis of Assisi had in mind when he famously befriended a wolf, and preached to a flock of birds? Ideas of Francis have changed over the centuries, according to Professor Mary Heimann, and he has been transformed from staunch Catholic ascetic to a sentimental lover of animals. And according to John Evans, a member of a Franciscan order, he wouldn't even have been able to afford to keep any pets. Among others Roy talks to the Bishop of Monmouth, Cherry Vann, about her pet chickens and her dogs; Catholic priest Christopher Hancock talks about his rescue greyhound; and the Revd Dr Jason Bray talks about the way his cats have managed to boost his ratings when live-streaming evening prayer!
access_time7 months ago
As part of BBC Radio Wales' 2020 lockdown Elvis weekend, this is another chance to hear All Things Considered's 2019 celebration of Elvis' gospel music.

This time last year, Porthcawl was gearing up for its 15th annual Elvis festival. Thousands of people were about to come to town for the unmistakeable music, and also to spot smartly dressed Hounddogs, countless rhinestone-studded jumpsuits and no doubt a few pairs of blue suede shoes.

But along with the imitation and the adulation, some have a particular reason for devotion to the King of rock and roll – they find it in his gospel music.

Roy Jenkins asks whether gospel music reveal the real Elvis; how important his faith was to him; and to what extent his music has a spiritual impact on those who hear it.

Featuring in the programme are:

Rev Wynne Roberts, 2018 winner of the Best Gospel Elvis
Juan Lazano, MD of the Porthcawl Elvis Festival's house band
Lorraine King, singer and songwriter
Rev Martin Gillard, minister of Gilgal baptist church, Porthcawl.
access_time8 months ago
On the eve of World Alzheimer’s Day Roy Jenkins explores the role of faith for those living with dementia. Dementia is a progressive disease that impairs memory, and the condition affects more than 40,000 people across Wales.

Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, discusses the nature and value of faith for people living with the condition. We hear how imagery and touch are vital in crafting accessible worship, and how music also can be particularly powerful in reaching people in advanced stages of dementia. Maggie Grady, a music therapist, explains how the charity Mindsong uses music to help unlock deeply buried memories.

We explore what faith groups can do to become more ‘dementia friendly’, and we hear from the Diocese of St. Asaph in North Wales, which has worked hard to reach this status. Bob Woods, an Emeritus Professor at Bangor University, explains the importance of listening to the needs of people living with the condition, and how the university has helped churches on this journey. We hear how the Hindu community in Cardiff is challenging the stigma surrounding dementia. Versha Sood explains the ways in which the community is supporting its families to live well with the condition, and to uphold their faith.
access_time8 months ago
In 2019, ahead of his visit to Cardiff where he led workshops at the Llandaff and Monmouth Festival of Prayer, Roy Jenkins met member of the Iona Community, the Rev John Bell.

A prolific writer, preacher and broadcaster who’s passionate about social justice and not afraid to say what he thinks, John has often been described as a ‘John the Baptist’ like figure. He’s spent a lifetime devoted to the ministry of music in particular, working to “renew congregational worship” in the church at “the grass roots” – and to that end he’s produced an ever-growing list of hymns which have been taken up around the world, many of them with a distinctly Scottish melodic flavour.

Roy Jenkins talked to him about his life, work , and passions.

This programme was first broadcast in 2019.
access_time8 months ago
For some Christian families homeschooling is a growing trend, and not just during lockdown. It's estimated that some 5-10,000 in the UK have chosen this route, following Biblical guidance, and sometimes using an overtly Christian curriculum. Rosa Hunt talks to some Christian families about the highs and lows of educating children at home.
access_time8 months ago
What will, or what should the world look like after the current pandemic? Some Christian organisations are calling for ambitious reconstruction programmes along the lines of the great initiatives that came about at the end of the Second World War. Roy Jenkins looks back to some of the visionary ideas that were proposed 75 years ago, and looks forward to some of the ideas being put on the table now. Featuring historian Martin Johnes of Swansea University; writer Jonathan Langley; theologian Elaine Storkey; Simon Perfect of the think-tank Theos; and Revd Ian Rees, Rector of St Mary's Swansea.
access_time9 months ago
As the Church in Wales begins to celebrate its centenary, Roy Jenkins looks at the difficult circumstances attending the birth of this national institution from the remnants of the Church of England in Wales. The feud between church and chapel which haunted the Wales of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was as divisive as Brexit, and actually lasted longer. When disestablishment finally happened in 1920, much against its will the Church found its status severely reduced, and its financial assets effectively nationalised. The argument back then was that only a minority of Christians in Wales worshipped in church; with the decline of non-conformism, that position has now been reversed. Featuring interviews with John Davies, Archbishop of Wales, Joanna Pemberthy, Bishop of St Davids, together with Professor Norman Doe, Professor Densil Morgan and one of the Church's youngest clerics, Dean Roberts, the programme looks at the Church's historical legacy, and the impact that has had on its mission today.

This programme was first broadcast in January 2020.
access_time9 months ago
It might seem that Coronavirus has relatively little effect on the young, but the side-effects of lockdown have been enormous: disruption to schools and to higher education, limited job opportunities, greater mental stress. Nevertheless, for some people their faith has become ever more real to them, and ever more valuable at this difficult time. Mary Stallard talks to three young Christians about their experiences of coming to terms with life during the pandemic: Sian Connolly and Nara Baxter were both at school when lockdown was imposed; Chloe Shaw was expecting to complete an MA in journalism.
access_time9 months ago
It's said that perhaps a quarter of the US population could claim in some ways to be evangelical. Among white evangelicals, the overwhelming majority vote Republican. The influence of evangelical Christians on the country's government and policies has arguably never been greater, and so as the Presidential election approaches Jonathan Thomas speaks to some key religious leaders to understand their beliefs and hopes for the future. Pastor Mark Burns is a black televangelist with a direct line to the Oval Office; Dr Russell Moore maintains a somewhat more sceptical view about the involvement of evangelicals in politics. He is a key figure in the Southern Baptist Convention and was once described by President Trump as "a nasty guy with no heart". Journalist Sarah Posner, author of a recent book on the evangelical right, 'Unholy', comments on the recent rise of evangelicals within the Republican party, whilst Welsh historian David Ceri Jones offers an historical perspective on the various strands of evavangelicism within the USA.
access_time9 months ago
Graham Kendrick is a prolific songwriter and worship leader whose music is sung by churches of every kind across the world. He celebrates his 70th birthday this weekend.

From his early career travelling by motorbike to play folk rock at church cafes across the UK he went on to leading tens of thousands of people at worship festivals. Along the way he produced perhaps the best known contemporary worship song, Shine Jesus Shine, and a huge number of others - more than 40 albums over 50 years.

Long recognised as one of the key figures of the contemporary Christian music scene, he’s been described as its equivalent of Eric Clapton – though with nearly twice as many albums to his name.

Roy Jenkins talks to Graham about his music and his life.
access_time10 months ago
‘How can I keep from singing?’ asks the old American hymn. At the moment though, the answer to that question is simple - we can’t. In our churches, chapels and cathedrals, congregational and choral singing is not allowed for fear of spreading the coronavirus. Yet for thousands of years, singing has been an an important part of Jewish and Christian worship, and the desire to sing is deep rooted in the human condition.

In this week’s edition presented by Roy Jenkins, we explore the importance of singing as an expression of faith. While spoken responses are allowed in church, we ask whether singing is being blamed unfairly for spreading the virus. In lockdown many have resorted to the internet to make music to and with others online, and technical imperfections notwithstanding, churches have reached out online too. We consider whether the pandemic might signal a significant and irreversible decline in congregational and choral singing under one roof. Or, has the pandemic brought about a new opportunity to reach people who might not normally be able or want to come to church.
access_time10 months ago
In recent months most of us have experienced greater isolation than we could ever have imagined. For some this unexpected solitude has been a welcome relief, a chance to reflect and take stock, but for others it has been accompanied by profound feelings of loneliness. Loneliness can affect people of any age, and most of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives.

We hear from three different people in Wales about their experiences of loneliness. Zahra is a Muslim and made a new home in Cardiff aged forty-five when she was forced to flee from Iran. She found a route out of loneliness through a FAN (Friends and Neighbours) group in Canton.

University chaplain Rev. Sam Aldred tells us about loneliness in the student community, and we meet Katie, a young student who is missing her church community due to the Corona virus lockdown.

At St. Mary’s Malpas in Newport a Dementia Café run by Rev. Rebecca Stevens is reaching out to the isolated in her community. She discovered that it wasn’t only those suffering from dementia who were lonely, but their carers were too. Retired vicar Rev. Henry Davies tells us how the café has offered support.

We ask whether faith communities have something unique to offer when it comes to loneliness - does having a faith make any difference? Experts Rev. Professor James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, Salisbury, and Dr Deborah Morgan, senior researcher at the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University, offer their perspectives.
access_time10 months ago
In all probability somebody not so far from you is living in slavery, and if you use a mobile phone or a computer then the likelihood is that you have benefitted from slave labour across the globe. Roy Jenkins investigates this growing problem in Wales and the wider world, and asks what faith communities are doing to address it. Taking part in the programme are the UK's former anti-trafficking commissioner Kevin Hyland; Ali Ussery, founder of the Colwyn Bay organisation Haven of Light; Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti-trafficking and Modern Slavery at the Salvation Army; and photographer and youth pastor Jane Lasonder, who is based in Penarth. This programme was first broadcast in June 2019.
access_time10 months ago
The shocking killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis this May sparked off a global wave of support for movements celebrating black lives and seeking to address racial injustice. It has led to soul-searching in this country too, questioning how far our own society is tainted by a legacy of racism. This has been expressed very visibly through protests targeting and sometimes toppling statues of and monuments to figures seen to be associated with the UK’s colonial history – a history with which the church itself has a complicated relationship.

But removing or defacing public art is a significant symbolic step which can be highly controversial, and assessing our relationship with the past and the role churches have played is not a straightforward task.

Joining Rosa to discuss the issues are: Patrick Thomas, Church in Wales vicar in Carmarthen, where there’s a current debate about how to respond to a monument to Sir Thomas Picton; Chine McDonald, a black London-based writer and broadcaster who speaks about faith, race and gender; Lester Freckleton, pastor of Vine Community Church and chair of a black church leaders group in Cardiff as well as a learning and development consultant dealing with issues around diversity and equality; and Wanda Zyborska, artist from Bangor who has been making an annual sculptural protest about a statue of Sir Henry Morton Stanley since it was erected in 2011.
access_time10 months ago
The Corona virus emergency caused a crisis in our food chain; panic buying left gaps on supermarket shelves, and the closure of the hospitality industry left some farmers with no option but to pour their milk away. Mary Stallard speaks to farmers in Wales who were affected by the crisis. She explores how faith can be a resource in times of great uncertainty, and we hear how a network of farming chaplaincies in Wales are offering support to their community.
access_time11 months ago
Roy Jenkins looks at the work of some churches in addressing social issues that have become starkly prominent during the Covid emergency. From foodbanks to debt counselling, churches are increasingly undertaking work once considered the domain of the welfare state. But with rising demand for food aid, and the fear of a major financial as well as health crisis, it is likely that many of these initiatives will continue for some time to come.
access_time11 months ago
Dr John Sentamu preached his final sermon as Archbishop of York last Sunday. For 15 years, he’s been among the best recognised, most loved figures in the Church of England. He’s also a man who knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of vicious racism.

As the public killing of George Floyd at police hands in Minnesota continues to spark fury and protest around the world, and trains a fresh spotlight on racism much nearer home, All Things Considered revists a conversation between Roy Jenkins and the Archbishop recorded last November, just ahead of his visit to the Hay winter festival, where he was talking about his new book, Wake Up to Advent!

Born in Uganda when it was a British protectorate, the 6th of 13 children, John Sentamu became a lawyer and a High Court judge by the age of 24. He had to flee the country with his bride of three weeks when he was targeted by the notorious president Idi Amin.

He got to Britain, studied at Cambridge, prepared for the priesthood, became a bishop in London and then Birmingham, before becoming Archbishop of York in 2005. Passionate both about sharing his faith and about social justice, he’s known for straight talking and imaginative ventures in mission.

Roy Jenkins talks to Archbishop Sentamu about his life in Uganda and the UK, the importance of forgiveness in response to racism, and his hopes for the future.
access_time11 months ago
Research published last month has indicated that a quarter of UK adults has watched or listened to a religious service since the Covid 19 lockdown began, many for the first time ever. Across the country, people have flocked to various online platforms to take part in services, pray together, and share their faith: many churches have seen their attendance figures far exceed those they had pre-lockdown. Church members and leaders have had to learn a whole range of skills, and adapt during the present crisis to an entirely new kind of church: online church.

Some might see this as a step which is long overdue; improving access to services, and catching up with today’s technology. Others might struggle to participate, whether because of costs or technical ability – or just a feeling that online church isn’t really church at all. So why are so many people joining these services – and can a virtual faith experience really connect a community?

Jonathan Thomas is a busy South Wales pastor who's had to adapt his own services to an online world. Joining him to discuss the issues are:

In Merthyr, catholic priest Father Christopher Hancock, who has attracted online congregations of a thousand people for his live-streamed masses; in Colwyn Bay, Rev Dr Robert Beamish, Baptist minister who in 2018 published a book called preaching in times of crisis and who has researched preaching in a digital context; and in Plymouth, speaker writer and theologian Tanya Marlow, who has been housebound for 10 years with severe M.E.
access_time11 months ago
Since emergence of Coronavirus, churches have had to rapidly acquire new technological skills, and to ramp up their mission to serve the wider community. Roy Jenkins looks at a few of the ways in which churches in Wales have had to respond to the emergency, at a time when church buildings are closed. In Newport the Warehouse Church has continued to stream services online, and further developed its foodbank. In Newtown, churches and members of other organisations are helping to serve hot roast dinners to people in the area, whilst in Wrexham one church community have even tackled the issue of supplying PPE to care homes and the NHS - by using 3D printers! Despite the crisis, churches are reporting greater interest in their work than ever before. As the Rector of Newtown says in the programme, 'My mission has never been so fruitful'.
access_time12 months ago
Mosques closed, families in isolation, home gatherings forbidden - for some people this has been a Ramadan to forget. But as Azim Ahmed discovers, there are positives as well as negatives to be drawn from the lockdown experience, as communities have rallied round to help sustain foodbanks, and to maintain communication with those living in isolation. For families with young children it has been especially tough; but it's been even tougher for NHS staff such as Dr Faraz Ali, a dermatologist redeployed to general medicine. Faraz has been observing the Ramadan fast while working long shifts on the frontline of the battle against Covid-19, and dressed in full PPE.
access_time12 months ago
Mary Stallard explores silence, asking what those who embrace it are looking for and whether we have enough of it in our lives.

This programme was first broadcast in October 2017.
access_time12 months ago
Roy Jenkins meets unconventional US pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, who talks about her sometimes controversial life and faith.

This programme was first broadcast in September 2016.
access_time1 year ago
Timothy Richard (1845-1917) was one of the most celebrated missionaries of his day, famous for his work in China. On the centenary of his death, Roy Jenkins joins a bus tour exploring Richard's Carmarthenshire birthplace, his place of baptism and the chapel where he was ordained. He explores the man's life and his impressive legacy, which even today has huge importance for China.

This programme was first broadcast in April 2019.