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Twenty with faith

12 December 2014

by Leigh Hatts

THE Archbishop of York's book John Sentamu's Hope Stories: 20 true stories of faith changing lives today (DLT, £8.99 (£8.10); 978-0-232-53109-1) follows his successful Faith Stories, published last year (Books, 5 July 2013). Again, Dr Sentamu has chosen 20 people, but this time not everyone is Anglican. One person even admits to not going to church every week.

Carmel Thomason tells personal stories from a careful mix of male, female, ordained, lay, old, and young. The tales of the facing of difficult problems are easy to read alongside the Archbishop's introduction to each chapter.

There are recurring themes such as overcoming cancer and voicing the belief that God will provide. A graduate, Jenna Gill, gives up the idea of earning "mega bucks" to found a charity giving disadvantaged young people the opportunity to work as a volunteer for projects in Kenya. Andy Roberts also has little money, but starts a charity in Brazil to help girls who are being forced into prostitution at age 12.

Impressive love and sacrifice are shown by congregations prepared to help solve a debt crisis or set up a homeless person in a flat. Sentamu says that prayer, shown here in home, church, and Walsingham, can be a springboard. Elizabeth Pepper, who nursed her husband, says that sometimes "the answer to prayer lies within ourselves, in something we can do".

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