In a special Sunday programme, Edward Stourton takes a look at the relationship between religion and music.
He begins with Gospel music and talks to historian Viv Broughton, promoter Roy Francis and singer Dawn Thomas Wallace about music that has its roots in the black oral tradition and which has had a massive impact on the popular music scene.
The Rev Dr Jonathan Arnold discusses why religious music is still popular despite declining attendances at our traditional churches.
Edward also investigates the power of music to induce a sense of spiritual well being with Neurologist Professor Michael Trimble and Music Psychologist Dr Ruth Herbert. And Professor Rupert Till explains why he believes that popular music has become the primary location for young people to find meaning and belief in their lives.
Music Therapist Grace Meadows describes how music can give a voice to those who have difficulty in communicating.
The programme ends with Cantor Zoe Jacobs - Britain's first Cantor in Reform Judaism - talking about her role.
Legal loopholes, Christian Liberty, conflict resolution and World Humanitarian Day
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham explains why some MPs want to close a legal loophole so that it is illegal for sports coaches and religious leaders to have sex with anyone in their care under the age of 18.
Maji Peterx is a specialist in conflict resolution and has brought together former members and victims of Boko Haram in trauma awareness and peace-building workshops. He talks to Emily about his work and explains what he will be doing in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin this week.
Why is one of Scotland’s biggest pilgrimage sites to close? Despite a petition with over 5000 signatures to keep it open, the pilgrimage centre at Carfin Grotto, North Lanarkshire, is likely to close as officials say it’s not making enough money.
And Monday 19th August is the United Nations’ ‘World Humanitarian Day’. This year the focus of the UN's World Humanitarian day is on women. We speak to humanitarian aid workers Shivani Rana from Christian Aid and Zoe Corden from CAFOD about how dangerous their work has become.
Sister Helen Prejean, Brexit and the Border, Hong Kong Protests
Sister Helen Prejean is known worldwide for campaigning against the death penalty in the US. She is the author of the bestselling ‘Dead Man Walking’ and joins Emily to talk about her latest book – a personal story of faith and spirituality.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the start of The Troubles and although the Good Friday Agreement saw an end to the violence twenty years ago, many in Northern Ireland are feeling unsettled because of Brexit and the prospect of a hard border. The Rt Rev Dr William Henry, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland, and Father Martin Magill, a Catholic priest on the Falls Road, discuss the current situation.
Deacon John Lam, from the Catholic Chaplaincy at Hong Kong International Airport, talks about the protests currently underway there.
On the 14th August there is a performance of L’enfance du Christ by French composer Hector Berlioz at The Proms. Professor Barbara Kelly talks about this vividly dramatic oratorio (including the well-known Shepherds Farewell chorus) which tells the story of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt.
Christian charity Home for Good says that church goers in the UK are still supporting overseas orphanages despite a UK government pledge to end its support of them. Emily is joined by the charity’s Head of Advocacy - Emily Christou.
Photo credit: Scott Langley
Flood clean-up, Human trafficking, Theology of beards
A major clean-up is underway as homes were deluged, bridges destroyed, roads blocked and towns cut off as flash floods devastated parts of England. Reeth, in North Yorkshire, has been badly hit by the floods and the Bishop of Ripon, Helen-Ann Hartley has been one of those helping farmers and villagers as they try to get on top of the aftermath.
The Salvation Army have been brought in by Coronation Street writers to help writers with a story-line about human trafficking and modern slavery. Andrew Wileman from the Salvation Army’s Anti-trafficking and Modern Slavery team tells William how the public are often the first to alert authorities to potential victims and how the Salvation Army help those caught up in the crime.
Facial hair. It’s a personal thing. Beards may be ‘in’ right now but the history of hairy faces hasn’t always been harmonious. Having the wrong beard at the wrong time in religious history could be a matter of spiritual life or death. The anonymous Christian commentator The Church Mouse has chronicled the holy history of furry faces in a new book called Beard Theology.
Sunday morning religious news and current affairs programme presented by William Crawley.