All Things Considered

All Things Considered


Religious affairs programme, tackling the thornier issues of the day in a thought-provoking manner


Priest and Farmer  

Ahead of the Royal Welsh Show, Roy Jenkins spends a day with farmer and Anglican priest Canon Eileen Davies.


Gay pride events across the country this summer are marking the half-century since homosexuality stopped being a crime. But that anniversary reflects a far wider change of attitudes. Those 50 years have seen a radically different landscape being shaped on a range of moral and ethical issues. For most of that time, the British Social Attitudes survey has tracked shifts in public opinion. Its latest report summarises views on everything from tax evasion and benefit fraud to civil liberties, immigration, and what are classed as 'moral issues: sex, gender and euthanasia'. Today Roy Jenkins explores how attitudes have changed, and where they might be heading, and asks what place is left for the religious bodies once looked to for a lead in the area of morality. Joining Roy are: Roger Harding, the author of that most recent study and Head of Public Attitudes at the social research organisation NatCen. Dr Tristan Nash, senior lecturer in philosophy at University of Wales Trinity St.David. Rev Carol Wardman, bishops' adviser for church and society for the Church in Wales. Jim Stewart, public affairs and advocacy officer for Evangelical Alliance Wales.

Interfaith marriage  

Should interfaith marriage be welcomed or resisted? Does it strengthen a community, or add unnecessary stresses? And what challenges face the people embarking on it?

Is there room in faith for doubt?  

Is there room for Doubt in Faith? Roy Jenkins and guess explore the issues.

Agreeing to Disagree  

Last weekend, many thousands across the country were marking the anniversary of the killing of the MP Jo Cox. They were celebrating not least the words from her maiden speech: "we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us". Yet within hours, an attack by a man from Wales on Muslims leaving a London mosque provided another horrific reminder that there are those who actively want to feed division. In many recent terrorist atrocities, religion is seen as a significant element, however distorted. Those responsible are more interested in fostering division than unity, rejecting any principle that on most things we should simply agree to disagree, and get on with life. Meanwhile in another area, Tim Farron appears not to have been allowed that luxury, as privately held religious views were deemed as incompatible with leadership of a liberal political party. What, then, can agreeing to disagree mean? How can freedom of conscience be maintained, alongside the freedom not to be victim of terrorist atrocity. And what part does compromise have to play? Joining Roy to discuss the issues are: Lord Murphy of Torfaen, who served two periods in Northern Ireland, one as secretary of state, and was also twice secretary of state for Wales. Shereen Williams, Director of Projects and Strategy for the Henna Foundation, the Welsh-based charity committed to strengthening families within the Muslim community The Rev Dr Karen Smith, specialist in church history and Christian spirituality at Cardiff University and the South Wales Baptist College.

Refugee Week  

Roy Jenkins marks Refugee Week by meeting families and individuals from Syria and Africa who are being welcomed and helped by St David's Uniting Church, Pontypridd.

Pentecost and the Holy Spirit  

The feast of Pentecost, which is celebrated this week, is seen by Christians of many traditions as the birthday of the church and the start of its mission to the world. It focusses on the descent of the Holy Spirit on the first followers of Jesus in an event of intense drama. But what does it all mean today? Who or what is the Holy Spirit? Increasing numbers of people claim ecstatic experiences as a result of encounters with that Spirit; but to what extent do they differ from the kinds of ecstasy offered by a high octane pop concert, a sublime choral work, or some illegal substance? Joining Roy to discuss the topic are: Jules Evans, philosopher and author of The Art of Losing Control, published this month, and Policy Director for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London; Chris Cartwright, General Superintendent of the Elim Pentecostal Church in Britain and Ireland; Rev Dr Rosa Hunt, minister of Salem Baptist Church, Llantwit Fardre; and Canon Matthew Jones, Catholic parish priest of the Llanishen area of Cardiff.


Roy Jenkins and guests discuss fear following the bomb attack in Manchester, asking how to deal with fear, why it is so powerful and if religious faith can make a difference.

Religion and Politics  

Roy Jenkins asks if politics should be the business of religious bodies and if mixing faith and politics can be as much a curse as a blessing for politicians and people of faith.

The Value of Money  

Roy Jenkins and guests look at how religious faith should affect the acquisition and spending of money and especially how much of it is given away.

Marian Apparitions  

A hundred years ago this week (13th May), three children reported seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary while they were playing on a hillside. The oldest of them was only ten. Yet so convincing was their account that soon crowds were gathering at the site of the event, near the small Portuguese town of Fatima. It's now one of the most important centres of Catholic pilgrimage in the world, with millions of visitors each year, and two of those three children are being canonised - recognised as saints - when Pope Francis visits the town this week. Catholics in Wales are marking the centenary with services and processions across the country featuring a statue of the Virgin Mary - and relics of the two youngest children. Fatima is just one of many shrines around the world where pilgrims flock to take inspiration from similar apparition events - from Lourdes in France to Knock on the west coast of Ireland and Guadelupe in Mexico. But what are we to make of claims of such appearances? Are they real ... or the product of hallucinations or other psychological factors? And what does it say about the place of the Virgin Mary in the church. Photo: (c)2017 Shrine of Fatima.

William Williams and the Great Welsh Hymn  

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of the greatest of Welsh hymn writers, William Williams Pantycelyn. His best known composition, Guide me O thou great Jehovah, has been dubbed the second national anthem. It's sung around the world, and is as likely to be heard in an international rugby stadium as in a church. Until relatively recent times, hymn singing was regarded as a key characteristic of Welsh life, and it was central to some of the great revivals which helped to shape the religious landscape. It's now very different. The cymanfa ganu singing festivals are just a memory for most communities. Far fewer people are in church and chapel. And most contemporary worship music has no place for traditional four-part congregational harmony. Today Roy Jenkins explores why hymns have been so significant in Wales, and what kind of future they might have.

An American in Wales  

Human beings have been telling one another stories since they first learned to speak. They amuse, warn, educate, and lull small children to sleep; and our guest today is an American spiritual teacher who believes that a particular kind of storytelling can change communities, deepen relationships and cultivate compassion. He spent six months in Wales last year sharing his enthusiasm, at the invitation of the Anglican diocese of St. Asaph. Mark Yaconelli is a writer and retreat leader, a community activist and youth worker, with a wide following across the United States. Like his celebrated father Mike Yaconelli, who trod a similar path before his death after a road accident 13 years ago, he makes regular appearances at Christian festivals in the UK. During his time based in Llangollen, he helped to establish community storytelling programmes, and developing training for youth leaders and clergy. Mark talks to Roy Jenkins about his belief in the transformational potential of the spiritual tradition of sharing the stories of our lives; why he is not afraid of disappointment and doubt; and how imagination is a vital key to the life of the church. First broadcast 10 July 2016.

New Hengoed Chapel  

Pot noodles, toast with chocolate spread, cocoa pops, tea and coffee, hip hop and gangster rap all in a Grade II listed chapel - some of the essential ingredients of a challenging, pioneering youth ministry which has been running for seven years in the Rhymney Valley. It's the vision of Kath Miller, a Baptist Minister, who felt compelled to offer a place of unconditional welcome to teenagers, young adults and children in the significantly deprived area of Cefn Hengoed. On two nights a week and on Sunday mornings, they offer a different kind of church which doesn't preach or teach but simply aims to live out the gospel of Jesus by extending love, hope and help to those most in need, the excluded, the poor, the marginalised. They have been barricaded in the church, had number plates stolen and items vandalised yet Kath, together with her husband Carl, and their handful of helpers, are adamant that they will not ban anyone from the church. Having built up a relationship of trust and mutual respect over several years, the community is now beginning to see the positive and sometimes lifesaving effects of this project at New Hengoed Chapel. Roy Jenkins meets Kath and Carl Miller, young people and members of the church to hear about why the work exists, the impact it is having and plans for the future.


At the start of Holy Week, in which both Easter and Passover are celebrated, and with Ramadan coming soon, Roy asks what it means for these festivals to be considered as Holy, and explores the meaning of Holiness. Joining Roy are:Father Roger Dawson, Director of St Beunos Jesuit Spirituality Centre near St.Asaph; Rabbi Michoel Rose of the Cardiff United Synagogue; Laura Jones, who spent five years as a university Muslim chaplain and is currently taking a second master's degree examining Islam in contemporary Britain; and Rev James Griffiths, former barrister and law lecturer and now curate at St Mark's Evangelical Anglican Church at Gabalfa in Cardiff.

Living with Grief  

In commemorative events across the country, people have been standing with those bereaved by the Westminster terror attack. But grief is intensely personal: no one can enter fully into another person's pain. On All Things Considered this week Roy Jenkins explores grief with a priest whose daughter died in the 7/7 London bombings, a bishop whose wife died after more than 40 years of marriage, and a professional musician who had to tell his six year old daughter that her mother wouldn't be returning from hospital.

Faith in Northern Ireland  

The death of Martin McGuinness, and before him Ian Paisley, mark the end of an unlikely friendship which spanned a divide. After events in Westminster have again put terrorism in the front of our minds, Roy Jenkins examines the relationship between religious faith and Northern Ireland's historic troubles; finds out how churches there are responding to the new reality; and asks what faith communities of Northern Ireland can teach the world. With Roy are: Dr Gladys Ganiel, a Research Fellow at the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University Belfast. Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet, theologian and leader of the peace and reconciliation organisation the Corrymeela Community. Rev Brian Anderson, Methodist Minister and Vice President of the Irish Council of Churches.

Religion and Humour  

Roy Jenkins and guests explore the relationship between religion and humour ahead of Red Nose Day 2017.


It's 50 years since the Act which legalised Abortion. More than eight million pregnancies have ended this way in that time, and arguments surrounding the issue have never gone away: there's a ten-minute bill before parliament this week. As demonstrators picket clinics offering abortion, Roy Jenkins explores the current situation. Is change needed? And with religious figures vocal on both sides, to what extent are insights of faith being sought or listened to? With Roy are: Josephine Quintavalle, co founder of think tank Comment on Reproductive Ethics Canon Steven Saxby, Anglican priest and supporter of Christians for Choice Dr Sandy Kirkman, former principal lecturer in midwifery at the University of Glamorgan.

Famine and South Sudan  

The haunting pictures have returned. Every few years, it seems, we're confronted with amaciated men and women, and skeletal children. Now the United Nations has declared famine in South Sudan, and at least three other African nations face the same threat. Roy Jenkins asks what constitutes famine. Can it be prevented? And in a country which is overwhelmingly Christian, what are the churches doing?

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