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Sister Helen Prejean

Roy Jenkins guest is a nun who is one of the world’s best-known campaigners against the death penalty.

Sister Helen Prejean came to international fame when she was played by Susan Sarandon in the Academy award winning film Dead Man Walking, based on her best-selling book of the same name. She has had direct dialogue with two popes, and is credited among those who’ve helped move the Catholic Church into opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances.

Helen Prejean has witnessed the trauma of men being executed on six separate occasions, but the willingness to put herself through this, like her worldwide campaigning, required first a revolution in her own thinking - not least in her understanding of her faith.

In a new book River of Fire, she describes her spiritual journey, with passion and humour.

This programme was first broadcast in February 2020.

Rob Parsons

Rob Parsons is an international speaker and the author of over twenty books. Born and raised in Cardiff, he worked as a lawyer before founding Care for the Family, a national charity with centres around the UK. For more than 30 years the charity has offered down-to-earth practical guidance on such matters as bringing up children, preparing couples for marriage and supporting people through bereavement. He’s travelled all over the world as an inspirational speaker, for both Christian and corporate events. His most recent book, ‘From the Heart’, is based on his column for the magazine Premier Christianity.

Heroes and Villains

Do we get the leaders we need, or do we just get the leaders we deserve, with all the character flaws that we ourselves may possess? Trust in politicians is low, and standards of behaviour in public life not always of the highest. And yet, is it reasonable for us to expect flawed human beings like ourselves to be perfect? Jonathan Thomas discusses the issue of contemporary leadership with a panel of guests: Dr Thomas Prosser, Reader in European Social Policy at Cardiff University and author of a book exploring self-interest in voting; Catherine de Souza, Senior Leader at City Church and national leader of Kyria Network in Wales, devoted to promoting the interests of women in leadership roles; and Dr Iwan Russell-Jones, a lecturer in Christianity in the arts.

Faith on the Ocean Waves

For many Christians the second Sunday in July is Sea Sunday; traditionally it’s the day when many churches remember and pray for all those whose working lives are spent on the ocean waves.

About 90% of the world’s goods and fuels are transported around the globe handled by an estimated 1.6 million seafarers. At sea, working conditions can be tough at the best of times but the pandemic has had a number of knock-on effects on their lives, as has the war in Ukraine.

In this programme Roy Jenkins finds out about the difficulties of working and living on the high seas, and about the way in which faith is practised among crews who are often multi-national and multi-faith. We learn about the work of port chaplains, and join them as they visit a ship in port. We also drop into a seafarer centre – also known as Flying Angel Clubs. The chaplains and the volunteers provide practical and emotional support to seafarers – many of them from Ukraine, Russia, China and the Philippines who can expect to be away from home for months on end.

Our guests.
Ros Downs
A retired naval architect and now a volunteer Ship Welfare Officer, Mission to Seafarers based in Newport.

Revd Mark Lawson-Jones.
Port Chaplain South Wales, Mission to Seafarers.
This Anglican charity operates in 200 ports all over the world.

Peter Morgan
Regional Port Chaplain, Stella Maris, Bristol Channel Area which includes S Wales.
This Roman Catholic charity (formerly known in the UK as the Apostleship of the Sea)operates in 54 countries.

Adam Oliver
A former seafarer and now Ship Visitor, Mission to Seafarers based in Milford Haven & Port Talbot.

Professor Helen Sampson.
Director, Seafarers International Research Centre. (SIRC)
The centre has carried out research into life on board for seafarers, and the insecurity of their working conditions. The centre has also studied how faith is practised at sea, and is now conducting research among women seafarers who account for 2% of the global seafaring workforce.

Music used.
“Sailing by” by Ronald Binge. It is used before the late-night Shipping Forecast broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Extracts from “Dawn” and “Sunday Morning” from Sea Interludes by Benjamin Britten.

4 episodes