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27 April 2012

Hearts and Hymns

Hearts and Hymns

Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes tells us about the hope and meaning she finds in timeless classics...

Whether it’s Thine Be the Glory, Amazing Grace, Praise My Soul the King of Heaven or In Christ Alone, everyone has a favourite hymn. And no-one loves them more than self-confessed “hymn anorak” Pam Rhodes.

The Songs of Praise presenter, writer, journalist and broadcaster recently celebrated the landmark of presenting her 600th episode of Hearts & Hymns – a programme on Premier radio.

“Hymns are like little prayers in your pocket. Whether it’s the psalmist or Stuart Townend writing, these songs find the right words to help us through hard times,” she tells idea.

“I’m a bit of an anorak about hymns. I love the stories behind the writing of them. They are always talking about human experience. When the words get teamed up with the right piece of music they become amazing. We might not be able to find the right words of prayer or remember the right Bible quote but we do remember a hymn.”

It’s the tales of overcoming life’s hardships or praising God through it all that really move Pam when she is speaking to people on Songs of Praise, which she has presented for 25 years.

“There are so many memories, but the ones I remember most are the really intimate and moving interviews with ordinary people. People who may be at the end, looking to their own death perhaps, or their experience of losing people they love. I think the audience also remembers the testimonies most.”

What about those people who say the programme should have no place on the Beeb because of its overtly Christian content? “Songs of Praise is a thoughtful, educational, moral and Christian programme,” she says. “It can be watched on many different levels, whether you’re a Christian or not.

“If you hear someone talking about bereavement, the chances are that what they are saying may be exactly what someone watching is going through. We sew different seeds with the Christian faith, not knowing where they will find fruition.”

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