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  • Mary Beard's Forbidden Art; The Mormons and Tonga; Gordon Brown
    What is the purpose of religious images and why have some of them caused controversy over the centuries? These are two of the questions addressed by the classics scholar Professor Mary Beard in a two part BBC2 series called ‘Mary Beard on Forbidden Art’. Mary joins Dr Fozia Bora, Associate Professor of Islamic History at the University of Leeds, to discuss some of the themes and ideas in her new documentary. The former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has put his weight behind a campaign to get aid flowing to Afghanistan. Along with Save the Children and a group of faith leaders, he is launching an online petition to persuade the British government to convene an aid conference so that the country’s needs are met. He joins Edward Stourton to discuss the desperate situation in Afghanistan. In 1942, a Jewish woman in Vienna called Kamilla wrote a long letter to her children who had escaped Nazi-occupied Europe and were living in Britain. It was the last letter they got from her. Not long after she wrote it, she was deported and eventually murdered at Auschwitz. 80 years later the letter has become the inspiration for an musical way of marking Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on Thursday this coming week. The album 'Letter to Kamilla' is the work of the composer Benjamin Till in collaboration with Michael Etherton, the Musical Director of a Jewish male vocal ensemble called Mosaic Voices and also Kamilla’s great grandson. Michael and Benjamin are in studio to talk about Kamilla and the music her letter has inspired. Producers: Helen Lee Carmel Lonergan Editor: Tim Pemberton
    1/23/2022
    43:46
  • Joe Biden's First Year Report; Chaplaincy; Where Do We Draw Our Moral Compass From?
    As the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill continues its passage through Parliament, our Presenter Edward Stourton explores why the proposals on Protest are such a contentious issue, with Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain. Chaplains are appointed to work in all kinds of places outside the normal life of the Church, from hospitals to care homes, to schools, we hear from some of them on how they've dealt with the pressures of the past two years. One year on from the Inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Edward discusses how Joe Biden’s Catholic faith has shaped his Presidency so far, with Professor Anthea Butler, Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Christopher White, Vatican Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. China is set to impose restrictions on the sharing of any religious content online, without a special permit from the Government. Mervyn Thomas, Founder President of the Christian Human Rights Organisation CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) outlines his concerns to Edward. As we await the Government investigation into the Number 10 gatherings, led by civil servant Sue Gray, Edward asks where should we draw our moral compass from ? Joining Edward in the discussion are Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, Principal Rabbi of the Manchester Reform Synagogue, Imam Rakin Niass, a Secondary School Head of RE, Philosophy and Ethics and The Rt Revd Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester. Producers: Jill Collins, Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Editor: Tim Pemberton
    1/16/2022
    43:48
  • Faith-inspired public art; 100th online church service; Pagan extremism
    What kinds of faith-inspired statues, sculptures and murals might we see in the future on Britain’s streets and public spaces? Faith groups are among those that have been encouraged to apply for part of a £1 million ‘untold stories’ grant from the Mayor of London which closes on Wednesday and aims to better represent the capital’s communities. The funding follows heated debate in the last few years over which statues should remain standing in the UK. Our reporter Vishva Samani’s been finding out more. The Church of England is live streaming its 100th online service since the pandemic began on the 9th January. Sunday spoke to worshippers who are part of the online community - and Emily Buchanan talks with Amaris Cole head of digital for the Church of England and asks will we be seeing more online services? We saw it in the images from the attack on the US Capitol a year ago - the co-option of pagan symbols by far right extremists in support of their ideologies. The phenomenon isn't confined to the States - in this country police officers who are themselves pagan are involved in training counterterrorism agencies to help them recognise and deal with the problem. So what is the appeal of pagan symbols and ideas to far-right and how can the co-option be resisted? Sergeant Andy Pardy from the Police Pagan Association explains. Producers Carmel Lonergan Rosie Dawson Editor Tim Pemberton
    1/9/2022
    43:52
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu's life and legacy, It's a Wonderful Life, Volunteering
    Following the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop David Walker remembers the life and legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa. Actor and activist Michael Sheen tells William about the transformative encounters that led him to give away a large chunk of his earnings and turn himself into a social enterprise - a not-for-profit actor. Champion baker David Atherton shares his recipe for Florentines and talks candidly about growing up gay in a conservative evangelical Church. He tells William how winning the Great British Bake Off connected him to others struggling to reconcile their sexuality with their strict Christian upbringing. As the Christmas film classic It's A Wonderful Life turns 75, we hear about its religious meaning and how it's taken on the power of a modern-day myth. And we meet the faith groups plugging gaps in local services by providing an army of volunteers - from stewards at vaccination centres to cooks at homeless shelters and shelf-stackers at food banks. Volunteers tell us what motivates them to help their local community. And, with government finances under more pressure than ever, we find out how the relationship between faith groups and the state is changing. Producers: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham and Carmel Lonergan Editor: Helen Grady Christmas Florentines Ingredients • 1 egg white (approx. 40g) • 50g icing sugar • ½ tsp vanilla extract • ½ tsp mixed spice • Zest of an orange • 100g flaked almonds • 30g dried fruit and seeds (your choice) Method 1. Preheat oven 160C. 2. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat, or greaseproof paper (and rub in 1 tsp of vegetable oil). 3. Mix the egg white, icing sugar, vanilla, spice and orange zest until smooth. 4. Mix through the almonds and your dried fruit/seeds. 5. Put a 10cm biscuit cutter onto your tray and add a spoon of the mixture. Press this around and remove the cutter so you’re left with a perfect disc. Continue until you’ve used up your mixture. 6. Bake for 12-14mins until golden brown then allow to cool before lifting gently. 7. You can add melted dark chocolate as a decoration if you wish.
    12/30/2021
    43:38
  • Angels, Churches and Omicron and Dorothy Day
    This week Sunday hears from churches how they’re adjusting to the Government’s Plan B in light of rising cases of Omicron. Carol concerts are cancelled, Christmas services face restrictions, and clergy are becoming frazzled and weary. Buddhists at a monastery in Scotland say their silent retreats are being disturbed by gunfire. The Samye Ling Tibetan Centre at Eskdalemuir in Scotland is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in western Europe and they are objecting to a planning application asking for six military grade training grounds to be built on surrounding land. Amina Ahmed talks to us about her husband, Mubarak Bala, President of the Humanist Association in Nigeria and a human rights activist. He was arrested last year in Northern Nigeria and accused of blasphemy but, after 19 months in detention, he is still awaiting trial. A centuries old way of life for Gypsies and Travellers is under threat of being criminalised under proposals in the Government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently making its way through Parliament. Dorothy Day the campaigning journalist, socialistl activist and advocate for the poor moved one step closer to Sainthood this month as the diocese of New York sent evidence of her good works off to the Vatican. We explore who she was and why, in life, she hated being described as a saint. And do you believe in Angels? They’ve become a symbol of hope during the past year and perhaps we all need one in our corner right now. This week Sunday asks what angels look like. Do they resemble us? Or is the Biblical representation of angels something entirely different?
    12/19/2021
    43:53

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