Next Episode of Songs of Praise is
Season 2018 / Episode 49 and airs on 16 December 2018 13:15
Songs of Praise is a BBC Television religious programme that presents Christian hymns which first aired in October 1961. The first edition was broadcast from the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cardiff, and the series is one of the longest-running of its kind on television anywhere in the world.
To mark Epiphany, Sean Fletcher is in Durham for the UK's largest light festival. He joins tens of thousands of visitors who come to see the medieval city and towering cathedral transformed by light installations. Falling each year on 6 January, Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas and marks the end of the festive period. Sometimes known as three kings day, it is a time to remember the story of the wise men led by a star to Bethlehem to worship the infant Jesus. Sean meets professor of physics Tom McLeish to discover more about this part of the Christmas story and explores the great cathedral to learn more about its rich Christian history.
Katherine Jenkins hosts a special programme which joins Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate 150 years of the Christian charity Scripture Union. Hymn writer Bishop Timothy Dudley Smith reveals how his faith continues to inspire him to write music, even in his nineties. And Pam Rhodes meets Douglas Gresham, the stepson of CS Lewis, to find out how he let the light of his Christian faith shine through his children's books.
Hymns and songs from the historic Methodist Central Hall Westminster with guest Julian Lloyd Webber, who reminisces about his father's time there as organist. The Rev Tony Miles and Rev Martyn Atkins reveal the hall's links to the United Nations. Connie Fisher visits the St Vincent's Family Project supporting local young families and children, and she hears from performers from the West End's musical theatre about the challenges of being a Christian in the world of show business.
Sean Fletcher joins his church's 4am tea run in London's Covent Garden to mark Homeless Sunday. The Rev Kate Bottley meets a teenager in Preston who creates unique gift bags for those living on the street, and we meet the man converting old shipping containers into ingenious new homes in Bristol. Plus hymns from around the country, including When I Needed a Neighbour and Beauty for Brokenness.
On the centenary of British women over the age of 30 first getting the vote, Rev Kate Bottley celebrates pioneering Christian women. She visits Mansfield College in Oxford to learn about Constance Coltman, the first woman to be ordained in a UK denomination over a century ago. Josie d'Arby gains exclusive access to a 400-year-old church altar cloth which experts say is from a skirt worn by Queen Elizabeth I. Josie also meets Ruth Awogbade, who launched her own Christian fashion magazine. The music in this programme, from across the UK, is inspired or written by women.
Claire McCollum joins bishop James Jones in Lincoln to learn about the links between Christianity and forests. The 800-year-old Charter of the Forest is given a 21st-century relaunch and JB Gill meets a former addict whose Christian faith, combined with his new job as a tree surgeon, have together cured his addiction. In Essex, a group prepares for Lent with 'Forest Church', plus hymns and songs celebrating creation, including Great Are You Lord and Indescribable.
In a programme celebrating Britain's greatest hymnwriters, modern legend Graham Kendrick tells Sean Fletcher about the story behind his contemporary anthem Shine, Jesus, Shine, and Pam Rhodes talks to the leading modern hymnwriters Timothy Dudley Smith and Bernadette Farrell.
At the Royal Albert Hall a congregation of 5,000 sing some of the country's favourite hymns.
The Rev Kate Bottley finds out how St John Ambulance began as an ancient Christian order in Jerusalem back in the 11th century and brushes up her first-aid skills. Meanwhile JB Gill meets the first person in the UK to donate an organ to a complete stranger.
Josie d'Arby and Claire McCollum are in St David's in Pembrokeshire to explore the area's saintly connections. Josie meets a couple who've found a new way to live with dementia and Claire visits a farm where city children get to experience country living. There's also a special performance from Katherine Jenkins.
Katherine Jenkins meets parents and their newborn babies at Basildon's Maternity Unit, and talks to midwives about their work. Katherine also meets Katharine Hill, UK director of charity Care for the Family to hear her tips for parenthood and learns about often overlooked references in the Bible of maternal language to describe God. Pam Rhodes meets Lizzie Lowrie who, last year, held a service in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral entitled Mother's Day Runaways. It was aimed at the increasing number of women who, for reasons of loss, singleness or infertility, cannot bear to be in church for a traditional Mothering Sunday service. The idea came from Lizzie's own personal journey after marrying she expected children to follow, but has since had six miscarriages. Mother Pippa Ankers talks of bringing up her son Barney who has Down's syndrome. Barney speaks of his Christian faith and shows off his drumming whilst Pippa shares her experiences of raising a child with additional needs.
The Rev Kate Bottley celebrates spring on a farm run by Christians in Derbyshire. Owners Roger and Beryl have offered a fresh start to local young people for 40 years by giving them work on the farm. JB Gill meets a Christian couple attending a church-run marriage-preparation course. Methodists in Derby open a brand new townhouse to replace their old church building. There is also a tribute to the late Billy Graham, the US evangelist who affected millions of Christians around the world and who died in February. The programme has hymns old and new, including Be Thou My Vision, And Can It Be, and Our God Is Greater. The Irish hymn St Patrick's Breastplate marks St Patrick's Day, and a performance of Drop Drop Slow Tears reminds us we are in the season of Lent.
For Palm Sunday, Sean Fletcher visits St Albans Cathedral, the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain and where the original hot cross bun comes from. The programme also meets the amateur artists behind Bridport's modern paintings of the Stations of the Cross.
For Easter Sunday, Aled Jones is in his hometown of Bangor in north Wales to hear the Easter story. Claire McCollum is in her hometown of Belfast in Northern Ireland to see the impact the Good Friday agreement has had 20 years on. Aled also celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the Royal Air Force with a visit to RAF Valley. With Easter hymns from Bangor Cathedral and a special performance from Cor Glanaethwy.
Sean Fletcher explores the power of singing to express the Christian faith and to change people's lives for the better. He meets music historian and choir conductor Dr Andrew Gant and attends the True Worship Summit - an international conference celebrating gospel music - and joins hundreds of singers from all over Europe to take part in singing workshops led by some of the biggest names in gospel. Strictly finalist Alexandra Burke opens her heart about her Christian faith and how her late mother inspired her to sing and perform. And the Rev Kate Bottley meets The Missing People Choir - a singing group that brings together people who all have loved ones who disappeared. Kate speaks to Peter Boxell, whose son Lee went missing in 1988, and to Peter Lawrence, whose daughter Claudia disappeared in York in 2009. They tell Kate how the choir helps them cope and about reaching the final of Britain's Got Talent last year - which led directly to some families being reunited.
Claire McCollum meets compassionate Christians including charity workers and a chef influenced by visiting an African cocoa farm. With modern and traditional hymns.
Josie d'Arby presents Songs of Praise from Northampton's All Saints Church. To mark the 25th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence's murder his mother, Baroness Doreen Lawrence talks to Sean Fletcher about how her faith has helped during her 18 year fight for justice for her son. On the eve of St George's Day, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin reveals the Middle Eastern identity of England's patron saint. Josie finds out about the Good Loaf cafe run by the Christian charity Crime 2 Christ and visits the town's premier rugby club, the Saints, which was founded by a clergyman at the end of the 19th century. The programme has traditional hymns from Northampton's civic church, All Saints.
Aled Jones hosts the first semi-final of a brand new singing competiton, The Young Choir of the Year 2018, from the Pontio Centre in Bangor. Five junior choirs from across the UK sing to win a place in the final.
Aled Jones hosts the second semi-final of the brand new singing competition - Young Choir of the Year 2018, from the Pontio Centre in Bangor. Five senior choirs from across the UK sing to win a place in the final.
Aled Jones hosts the final of the Young Choir of the Year 2018 competition from the Pontio Centre in Bangor. The junior and senior choir finalists sing their choice of inspirational song to impress the judges and lift the trophy.
On Pentecost Sunday Kate Bottley is in Manchester to hear from survivors and families of the Manchester terrorist attack one year on. She meets a woman who tragically lost her son that night and a Methodist minister who was in the arena with her 11-year-old twin daughters. With hymns from churches across Greater Manchester and a very special performance from Katherine Jenkins and Parrs Wood High School choir.
Claire McCollum visits the city of Perth on the banks of Scotland's longest river, the Tay. She meets Lady Mansfield at Scone Palace and finds out more about its role in the country's religious history. Once a large abbey and religious community, it was the site of the Scottish Parliament and the crowning place of Scottish kings. We also mark 175 years since the Free Church of Scotland was established in an event known as The Disruption and reveals the story of how its founding inspired early photography. JB Gill meets local minister, the Rev Scott Burton, whose passion is kayaking on the River Tay. He explains to JB how the river has taught him many lessons, brought alive biblical imagery and helped shape his life and faith.
Sean Fletcher and the Rev Kate Bottley hear how the Christian faith sustains those affected by cancer, including former Blue Peter host and TV presenter Simon Thomas, Baptist minister the Rev Andy Stammers, campaigner Della Ogunleye and cancer specialist nurse Mary Mountford-Lister. Sean visits Maggie's Oxford, a centre that specialises in support and care for those diagnosed with cancer. Kate meets a support group for black women who are dealing with effects of breast cancer. Music includes In Christ Alone, Break Every Chain, God Is Love His The Care, and Keep You Here, a special song from Stuart Townend written after his late brother's cancer diagnosis.
Aled Jones returns to Grenfell Tower 12 months after Britain's worst peacetime fire, in which 71 people lost their lives, to hear inspiring stories of faith and to find out how the community is coping. He catches up with the pastor still helping survivors and hears the moving story of one woman and her family, who lived on the 13th floor of the Tower. He meets Gaby Doherty who has written a book capturing stories of hope from within the community and finds out how one young man volunteers his time to create new green spaces for families to enjoy. Josie d'Arby heads south to meet EsmÚ Page who was so moved by the fire she set up Cornwall Hugs Grenfell to provide free holidays for those affected and there's music from around the country offering words of comfort and support.
Sean Fletcher is in Tilbury Docks near London to mark 70 years since the SS Empire Windrush brought nearly 500 new settlers from the Caribbean, an event that came to symbolise the beginning of modern Britain. He travels up river and into London to explore the challenges those new arrivals and their families have faced right up to the present day, and to celebrate the faith and music they brought with them.
The Rev Kate Bottley is in Launde Abbey in Leicestershire to explore the power of prayer and reveals how more Christians are using apps and daily e-mails to help them worship. Pam Rhodes finds out about plans for a huge wall of answered prayers and meets a very special baby born over four months early. With special performances from Only Boys Aloud and soprano Margaret Keys.
Claire McCollum and JB Gill celebrate 70 years of the NHS with staff and former patients. Claire visits Trafford General, where the then health secretary Aneurin Bevan launched the National Health Service in 1948. JB Gill joins Tim, who is a chaplain to paramedics, to find out how he supports both the ambulance crews, patients and their relatives. Senior manager Olivia Amartey reflects on the role her Christian faith has played during her 35-year career in the NHS. Medical student Libby Adderley talks about how the NHS support that helped her overcome anorexia made her determined to give back by becoming a doctor.
The Rev Kate Bottley is in the Lake District to explore the stunning scenery of this World Heritage site. She joins a church youth group taking part in a team-building exercise at the YMCA's National Centre, Lakeside, tries her hand at sailing on Lake Windermere and even has a go on the outdoor centre's zip wire. The programme finds out about the inspirational beauty of Eycott Hill Nature Reserve through professional photographer Andrew Heptinstall, and JB Gill visits Cartmel Priory, thought to be the first church in the world to have created a virtual reality experience. There is also a stunning new performance of Amazing Grace from the international singing group Il Divo.
The programme visits the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, one of the country's most holy places and, as Pam Rhodes finds out, a major pilgrimage destination famed for its shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Sean Fletcher joins pilgrims travelling to Mont St Michel in Normandy, and Katherine Jenkins spends the day with Brother David on holy Caldey Island.
Claire McCollum explores Northern Ireland, beginning at Giant's Causeway - a Unesco world heritage site. She speaks to a local geologist who explains how the interlocking columns of rock were formed and how he marries his science with a deep faith in a creator God.
JB Gill takes a ride around the Strangford Lough in County Down with a Christian cycling group. He's put through his paces on the narrow countryside roads and finds out from the team leader how cycling brings them closer to God.
We also mark the 125th anniversary of the Girls' Brigade. Founded in 1893 in Dublin by a pioneering woman named Margaret Lyttle, Girls' Brigade aims to empower girls, develop skills, build friendships and explore the Christian faith. Groups now meet in 51 countries around the world and we drop in on a thriving company in Sunderland to see what it's all about.
Claire meets Belfast boy Philip Mulryne who left professional football behind to become a Catholic priest. Philip was signed up to Manchester United as a teenager and had many successful seasons with Norwich City, but as he reached the end of his 20s he realised there was something missing. He tells Claire about his journey to finding fulfilment in the Christian faith which led him to the priesthood and even a vow of poverty.
With traditional hymns and modern worship songs from across Northern Ireland including a performance from singer-songwriter Kathryn Scott.
200 years after the birth of Emily Bronte, Aled Jones is in Haworth in Yorkshire exploring the Christian upbringing of the author of Wuthering Heights, and we revisit other Christians who have inspired us over the last 12 months.
Sean Fletcher is in Alton in Staffordshire, not at its famous theme park Alton Towers but at its castle, now a Catholic youth retreat centre which raises self-esteem, and builds and strengthens friendships. He meets the young Christians running it who help ensure the youngsters leave with some treasured memories.
The programme looks back at two stories of amazing faith featured over the last year, including the fantastic freestyle footballer from Milton Keynes and the Christian astronaut who walked on the moon but found more fulfilment when he gave his life to God.
The Rev Kate Bottley visits the Great Yorkshire Show, where the chaplain to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society tells her about the show's 160-year history and how the church has always played a central role. Kate finds out more about the challenges facing the agricultural community and meets Kate Dale, the Christian farmer who is reaching out to offer support.
JB Gill visits Thirsk to discover the story of the real-life Yorkshire vet behind the ever-popular books of James Herriot. Herriot was the pen name of Alf Wight, and JB meets his son Jim at the museum that was once his father's veterinary practice and their family home. They walk up to Sutton Bank to enjoy what Alf described as 'the finest view in England' and talk about Alf's Christian values and the enduring success of All Creatures Great and Small in print and on screen.
Kate also meets the newly appointed bishop of Ripon, Helen-Ann Hartley, for tea and scones and talks about moving to Yorkshire and her vision for her new role.
With hymns and songs celebrating the beauty of creation, including a performance from teenage singing star Elan Catrin Parry.
It's been 40 years since the last papal visit to Ireland, and Claire McCollum is there to join the celebrations for the historic visit of Pope Francis. The Holy Father specially chose Dublin to host the World Meeting of Families 2018, the largest international gathering of families in the world. We meet up with the 100 strong group travelling from the Archdiocese of Birmingham to be part of the event and we're in Croke Park Stadium for the Festival of Families. One of the places Pope Francis will visit is Knock Shrine and Sean Fletcher finds out what draws 1.5 million pilgrims there every year. There's also another opportunity to see how Claire got on when she joined pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick, known as Ireland's holy mountain, on Reek Sunday. Claire finds out why some young Christians choose to climb barefoot, despite the mountain being covered in sharp stones. There are hymns from Ireland and a performance of Amazing Grace by the group Celtic Woman, filmed on Clew Bay.
Claire McCollum is in Newcastle upon Tyne to see Christian artefacts discovered nearby at Hadrian's Wall, and the programme sees how the city that loves football is helping children with disabilities. JB Gill catches up with Gospel Choir of the Year judge Karen Gibson to find out what it was like to sing at the recent royal wedding, and there are hymns from the Church of St Thomas the Martyr in the heart of the city, led by Philippa Hanna.
Josie d'Arby visits Bristol's 40th Balloon Fiesta and meets Christians making a difference in the city, including mayor Marvin Rees and a cleaner given a surprise gift by university students. Josie joins members of St Peter's Hospice, sharing its 40th birthday with the Balloon Fiesta, and takes to the skies for an unforgettable hot air balloon ride. She also hears from a Christian changing the lives of homeless people by converting shipping containers into homes. Hymns are from around the UK, including three from St Alban's Church in Bristol.
As the RAF marks its centenary, Aled Jones is at the Rhyl Air Show in north Wales to hear the extraordinary stories of two Second World War pilots, Welsh local hero David Lord, who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, and 97-year-old Ernie Holmes, a Lancaster bomber pilot who miraculously survived being shot down over occupied territory.
Josie d'Arby visits Winchester Cathedral 100 years after a simple gravestone inscription inspired the creation of the worldwide movement Alcoholics Anonymous.
And the programme meets Christian Joey G, who is using rap music to bring the message of Jesus to the young people of north Wales. There is also a special performance by Blake and The Military Wives Choir, as well as hymns and songs from north Wales and across the UK.
Katherine Jenkins is back from maternity leave to celebrate Harvest Sunday from Exeter in Devon where she makes ice cream on a dairy farm run by Christians. JB Gill visits a church in the middle of a farm. With singing led by Graham Kendrick and a special performance from Sir Bryn Terfel.
Sean Fletcher reflects on peace and forgiveness by meeting a Christian mother whose son was murdered in a knife attack and who now runs a boxing club to encourage reconciliation between rival gangs. Pam Rhodes talks to the Reverend Nigel Bennett, who survived the 7/7 attack and maintains forgiveness has been essential to his recovery. At Lambeth Palace Sean joins Christians and Muslims learning to gain deeper mutual understanding at a young peacemakers forum. And Canon Andrew White, the vicar of Baghdad, reflects on the results of his pioneering peacemaking work in the Middle East, which he undertook despite the risks to his own life and having MS. With hymns on the theme of peace from around the UK, including Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, Blessed Assurance and There's a Wideness in God's Mercy.
The Rev Kate Bottley meets Christian car fans at the Goodwood Revival classic car races. Chaplains Antony Feltham-White and Keith Morrison explain why they bless the race track, and the owners - the Duke and Duchess of Richmond - describe how they welcome a Christian presence at the event. Opera and Christian singer Jonathan Veira performs and tells a story of a friendship forged through a love of classic cars. Kate meets Rev Adam Gompertz, car designer and artist, who has brought his love of God and cars together in his role as a clergyman. Current Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya celebrates 60 years of the children's TV show with former presenters and Christians Tina Heath and Simon Thomas.
Rev Kate Bottley is in Birmingham to hear how Christianity is at work in this modern, multicultural city. She visits Winson Green to meet the Christian couple who have dedicated their lives to working in urban areas. They have some unusual ways of connecting with people, including walking their alpacas to the local school and back.
Josie d'Arby catches up with Julian Lloyd Webber, principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and hears from students aiming to become the next generation of cathedral organists. There is also a special performance from past student, singer-songwriter Laura Mvula.
For Black History Month the programme finds out about the faith and food that the Caribbean community has brought to the city, and there are hymns from St Germain's church in Birmingham.
Josie d'Arby visits Lee Abbey retreat centre in Devon to find out why Christians take their holidays there and how it brings rest and refreshment to people from all over the world. JB Gill helps to distribute copies of the Gideons Bible around London and discovers how one of the charity's Bibles in a hotel room transformed the life of one young man. And a Christian couple explain why they spend their holidays on a canal boat studying the Bible and praying for others.
Katherine Jenkins introduces a feast of favourite hymns as the Songs of Praise presenters and the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, reveal the hymns and worship songs that mean the most to them. The archbishop explains that his favourite has always remained close to his heart because it was the first hymn he sang after experiencing the love of God for himself and becoming a Christian.
Katherine explores the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the famous Chelsea Pensioners and designed by Sir Christopher Wren. She is shown around Wren's chapel in the heart of the community and meets a Chelsea Pensioner who is a regular in the congregation.
Chart-topping British country duo The Shires chat to Claire McCollum about growing up singing in churches and choirs and perform an exclusive version of their favourite hymn, Jerusalem.
Songs of Praise remembers Wilfred Owen, one of the greatest war poets in the English language. He was killed in action on 4 November 1918, during what became one of the very last battles of World War I. Aled Jones and Frank Field MP discuss how Wilfred Owen captured both the horrors and, as he saw it, the futility of war, outside the Birkenhead home where the poet lived from the age of four. Dame Patricia Routledge reads her favourite Wilfred Owen poem and joins the congregation to sing hymns in his memory at Christ Church in Birkenhead, where the poet attended services as a boy. Wilfred Owen enthusiast Martin Impey reveals his latest illustrations depicting the tragedy of war, and the programme meets the winner of Prince William's national poetry competition for a new work inspired by the poets of the First World War.
For a special programme on Remembrance Sunday, Katherine Jenkins is in Southampton to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.
Using rare diaries and newspapers from the time, Katherine discovers how the famous port city was the primary embarkation point for British forces with eight million individual troop movements recorded between 1914 and 1918.
As the birthplace of the Spitfire, Southampton also played a crucial role in achieving victory in World War Two. Katherine meets Don and Margaret, both in their 90s, who helped to build the iconic aircraft. They share vivid memories of the factory being bombed and how parts continued to be made in garages, workshops and even laundrettes across Southampton to enable the RAF to win the Battle of Britain.
Looking to the future, Sean Fletcher visits a Christian project in Slough using contemporary music to engage young people in what peace means in their generation.
David Grant hosts the Gospel Choir of the Year Competition 2018, where five of the best amateur choirs compete to impress judges Gareth Malone, Karen Gibson and Shaun Escoffery.
David Grant hosts the exciting climax of the Gospel Choir of the Year Competition 2018, judged by Gareth Malone, Karen Gibson and Shaun Escoffery.
Sean Fletcher is in Chester to celebrate 50 years of Christingle in the UK, and the archbishop of Canterbury shares memories of feeling lonely at Christmas as a child.
Katherine Jenkins goes back to her childhood church in Neath, south Wales, for Advent.
Sir Cliff Richard performs his new festive song, and poet Lemn Sissay talks about making Christmas special for hundreds of young people.
Aled Jones celebrates Christmas with festive carols from the McEwan Hall, Edinburgh, including O Come All Ye Faithful and Joy to the World. With special guests Russell Watson, Katherine Jenkins and Collabro.
Katherine Jenkins is in Edinburgh for the Scottish Big Sing from the McEwan Hall. With special guest performances from Susan Boyle, The Overtones and The Ayoub Sisters. JJ Chalmers discovers the history of bagpipes and finds out more about the upcoming Hogmanay celebrations in the city.
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