Welcome to People and Places, providing an insight into some of the things Christians are doing within the Church, and how they are sharing Gospel values in society at large.
Maria Rodrigues – Discipling women through radio
There can’t be a Christian woman in the UK, who hasn’t tuned into Premier Radio’s Woman To Woman at least once to hear the chirpy, bubbly voice of its senior producer and presenter, Maria Rodrigues-Toth.
Every weekday, between 10.30am and 12pm, this popular magazine show broadcasts interviews with well-known and not-so-well-known Christian women, whose lives are impacting the Church and wider society, and features real life issues affecting women of faith.
A committed Catholic and theology graduate, Maria revealed that boldness played a key role in getting the presenter’s role. She recalled, “Whilst studying for a Master’s degree in Theology – and cleaning people’s houses to pay my way – I got invited to represent my denomination at a gathering on Media and Faith. After scanning the delegate list, I noticed that the CEO of Premier Christian Radio was also in attendance. I tracked him down to thank him for the station, which resulted in him asking me to email my CV. The following week, a job was found for me: editing the station’s teaching programmes. The rest is history!”
Maria considers her work a blessing. “For eight years now, I have had the privilege of listening to women share their stories over the airwaves, often letting me in on some of the most intimate or challenging situations in their lives. Every story encourages me to press in closer to God, because He is the answer to every trial we encounter in life.”
Well-known women, featured on the show over the years, include: politician Ann Widdecombe, comedian Angie Le Mar, actress Sophie Okonedo, and many, many more. However, Maria, whilst inspired by the famous women she has interviewed, sees Woman to Woman as a show for all women. “The show is not focused on celebrities; it is about discipling women and glorifying Jesus through stories. I don’t keep a tally of the famous people because, although they might have a bigger platform than the rest of us, we are all the same at the end of the day, with hopes, dreams, hurts and challenges.”
She also sees the show as having a role that unites and disciples listeners. “There has been so much division in the world over the years – either racially, generationally or denominationally – so one of the aims of the programme is to unite believers under the banner of Christ. It’s a discipleship show, offering advice as well as insight into how to live the Christian life to the full.”
Outside of presenting, Maria keeps herself busy by renovating her home alongside her husband, and speaking at conferences up and down the country.
She also has the Woman to Woman Conference (taking place on November) to look forward to, and life in general. “I have learnt that we can have dreams for our lives and ministry, but often God takes us on higher paths than we expect, or He holds us back in order to teach us something, so I try not to second guess what the future holds, but simply to offer my dreams to God.”
Woman to Woman is broadcast Monday to Fridays on Premier Radio from 10.30am – 12pm. Visit www.premier.org.uk for more details.
JOY POTENTIAL U – Styling the masses to look their best
Individuals, who agree with the saying ‘Dress how you want to be addressed’, are people who find themselves using the services of professional stylist, Joy Odunsi, aka Joy Potential U.
A committed Christian, Joy, who was once an accountant, was literally inspired by her faith to leave her lucrative profession to pursue a career as a stylist. She recalled, “In 2003, I had a clear word from God to move from finance to fashion after 13 years as an accountant in the City which, as you can imagine, terrified me. After my initial shock and hesitation, I took a leap of faith; quit my job; trained at the London College of Fashion as a stylist, and sold my house to birth Potential U – Style and Image Consultancy.”
Via her company, Potential U, Joy provides various services for clients ranging from housewives, working professionals, as well as celebrities who want to put their best foot forward. Services include: Personal Shopping, Wardrobe Detox, Colour Analysis, Corporate Image and Branding presentations, Ladies’ Style, Colour Parties and Wardrobe Management.
Her aims as a businesswoman and stylist are quite clear: “Our objective is helping clients achieve style and confidence with their wardrobe,” she shared. “We have styled celebrities and worked on various TV shows, however our passion is working with ‘ordinary people’ – helping them to look and feel their best.”
Joy loves her work, and considers it a privilege to be able to help people look their best. Some of the clients that have stuck in her mind over the years includes: giving a style makeover to a mum of three, suffering from post natal depression; styling a woman suffering from terminal cancer, who wanted to feel beautiful, and helping a woman choose a great outfit in which to collect her MBE.
Furthermore, Joy believes it’s imperative that people care about how they look. “How you present yourself matters!” she shared. “Statistics tell us that within the first four seconds of meeting a person for the first time, they are perceived by how they present themselves, so it goes to support the saying that ‘First impressions count’.”
And what about Christians? Should they care about the clothes they wear? “Christians live in this world,” says Joy, “so they should present themselves well. That is what styling aims to do.”
Aside from dressing the nation, Joy is often asked to give talks about style and dress by all kinds of organisations, including churches and businesses. Topics covered include: ‘Appropriate dress etiquette in churches for women and men’, ‘What is a winning corporate image?’ and ‘How to dress for your body shape.’
Joy’s desire is for her business to grow and expand, so that she styles people in the UK and abroad, and that she plays a part in ending the myth that styling is reserved for celebrities and the rich. As far as she’s concerned, it’s for everybody.
And what about her future? She’s keeping things close to her chest and just says, “We have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline, which will be revealed in due course. So watch this space!”
Visit www.potential-u.co.uk or like on Facebook @ PotentialUStylist.
UVI OROGUN – Leading videographer whose work touches hearts
One person, who is fast becoming a leader in the field of making gospel videos, is Uvi Orogun. Two of his productions took home awards at JUMP, the UK’s first ever video awards for gospel, held in Birmingham this year: Devoted by Noel Robinson and Yahweh by Living Faith Connections Choir.
It was a proud moment for Uvi when his videos were announced as winners in their respective categories. He recalled, “For me, it is always an honour for any of my videos to be recognised anywhere in the world; so for my work to be recognised at the first ever UK music video awards meant a lot to me, being part of history. I’m so honoured and grateful that my videos were recognised. It feels good to be recognised for what you do.”
Uvi is fast becoming the person artists turn to when they want an impactful video produced. Isabella, Rebecca, Aaron T Aaron and DTWG are among the artists who have utilised Uvi’s services.
The first UK artist to benefit from Uvi’s skills, after he left Greenwich University with his multi-media technology degree, was Sonnie Badu. Uvi contacted the popular praise and worship artist – after being blown away by his worship song, ‘Baba’ – to ask if he could make a video for it. To Uvi’s surprise, Sonnie accepted his offer. Not only did Sonnie love the finished product, but so did the public. Uvi recalled, “He believed in me and trusted me. It was an exciting time for me, and has had over 2 million hits worldwide on YouTube.”
Hearing Uvi talk, it’s readily apparent he loves what he does. “I enjoy video and film,” he said. “Purely because it allows me to express myself in ways that I would not be able to, if I was focusing on one area of media production. With video, I can tell a story that is captivating and engaging, and that also touches various subject matters within a three minute film.”
As far as Uvi is concerned, he ministers the Gospel via his work and, for the record, he doesn’t just make gospel videos. He also produces short films, TV commercials, programmes for churches and documentaries. And as for his future dreams, he would like to make feature films, as well as run a 24-hour gospel music video TV station.
In everything Uvi does, God is at the centre. That way, he believes, he’s guaranteed success. “My faith plays a major, major part in what I do. Without God, I am nothing but mere clay. Every day, before I go on a shoot, I fall on my knees and ask God to take full control of the shoot, and to give me direction and to inspire me. I can tell a story my way and it will bless a few people, or I can tell a story the way God wants me to tell it, and it will bless millions.”
Visit www.mmupictures.com for more details.