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God’s Biker - Sean Stillman

On All Things Considered this week, there’s another chance to hear a programme first broadcast in 2012 in which Roy Jenkins’ meets the man behind one of the most distinctive places of worship in Wales.

He arrives on his Harley Davidson. Leather-clad bikers usually make up at least part of the congregation. And alongside them are many men and women grappling with problems which make them all too familiar with life on the streets. This is Zac’s Place, which describes itself as A Church for Ragamuffins, ‘a place of glorious chaos and complicated beauty.’

Here there is a coffee bar and a soup kitchen, daily breakfast for the city’s rough sleepers, and the major attraction on offer is warmth and tolerance for people who might rarely find it elsewhere.

And the man behind it all is Sean Stillman, the Harley Davidson-riding preacher who in July 2019 became the International President of the Christian motorcycle club ‘God’s Squad’.

Worldwide bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith

It is twenty years since one of the world’s best-loved fictional crime-fighters cracked her first case. Precious Ramotswe, founder of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, cheerful, gentle and armed with canny intuition, has now appeared in eighteen books set in Botswana, selling a staggering 20 million copies in English alone, and translated into more than 46 languages.

Her creator, Alexander McCall Smith, has received huge praise from critics, not least because they find her charm a reflection of his. As one put it:

“If he has a raging ego, extreme vanity or hopeless insecurity, or, indeed, any of the other traditional writerly frailties, Alexander McCall Smith keeps them well hidden. He is charming, avuncular, a global publishing phenomenon who looks like a Rotary Club chairman.” (The Times, March 15th 2008)

He might have made Precious Ramotswe Botswana’s most famous sleuth, but he sets much of his prolific output in his home city of Edinburgh, including the 44 Scotland Street series and the Sunday Philosophy Club. There are also more than 30 children’s books, a string of stand-alone novels, and various non-fiction titles, quite apart from his academic work as a professor of medical law.

This edition of All Things Considered was first broadcast in May 2018

Royal Welsh Show

Roy Jenkins reports from the 100th Royal Welsh Show to see how churches and faith communities are addressing some of the issues facing farmers in today's uncertain times. He speaks to members of the Show's chaplaincy team, to the Lady Ambassador, and to a working farmer who is trying to plant micro churches among the farming community.

Forest Church

There’s a palpable sense of urgency around environmental issues in public dialogue, often reflected by a desire to live in closer sympathy with nature: many religious traditions find inspiration and resources for this in their scriptures and prayers relating to creation.

In 2012, the Forest Church movement was founded in Wales. It's now become a worldwide phenomenon, and is a leading part of a growing movement exploring green expressions of the Christian faith.

In this programme, Mary Stallard visits a Forest Church training retreat held at Cae Mabon in Snowdonia, and hears from Bruce Stanley, co-founder of the Forest Church movement; and Maria Nita, an academic who's been studying Green Christianity for many years.

4 episodes