In early 2012 I was given the opportunity to work with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu on a book of inspirational stories about what it means to be a Christian today, and how faith transforms lives. It was a fantastic project to work on and I met some wonderful people, whose stories I tell in the book.
You can watch short video interviews with each of the contributors on the Archbishop's website. There is inspiration to be taken from each person, but I think that you will be moved or drawn by particular individuals depending on your own circumstances and where you are in your own life.
The diversity of the church and the good work it does shines through, as stereotypes are challenged and we see real faith in action. There is Matt Woodcock, a journalist turned vicar who made the pub his pulpit, and youth worker, Lee Kirkby whose events led to thousands of teenagers banging on the door of Beverley Minster demanding to be let it. There is refreshing honesty from Robin Gamble, a vicar who opens up about his own struggle with doubt, and Sarah Nicholson, a young widow who talks about her journey through bereavement. Then there are people who've used their professional skills to go the extra mile, such as doctor's, Professor Edwin Pugh, who works with refugees in war zones, and Beryl Benyon OBE, who set up a charity to supply medical relief overseas.
"The stories of how everyday lives could be changed for the better by God working through people in small ways, should encourage everyone to remember the role each individual has to play in society and helping to contribute to the Common Good of the nation," Dr Sentamu explains.