The John Sentamu Stories are an award-winning series of books which tell inspirational true stories, exploring how faith is changing lives today.
The final book in the series, ‘John Sentamu’s Agape Love Stories’ takes a global view, reaching out for contributors from all over the world.
Stories come from as far as Kenya, New Zealand and Samoa. There are also stories that originate from Carmel’s home of Manchester and from Middlesbrough, where she took her first newspaper job as a Gazette reporter.
The stories told in the book are each as different as the locations are apart. Some tell of great suffering. Richard Taylor’s 10-year-old son Damilola was murdered on his way home from an after-school club; Beverley Thomas’ 18-year-old daughter, Charlene was the innocent victim of a gang-land shooting; Gee Walker’s son Anthony was murdered in a racial attack at the same age, while Maureen Greaves husband, was brutally killed in a random attack while walking to midnight mass where he was due to play the organ. Muthoni Kanga was held hostage by Somali pirates for 694 days and Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale, Paramount Chief of Poutasi, lost his wife and saw his village devastated in the 2009 tsunami.
In the same pages, Carmel also tells the stories of Mary Kolu Massaquoi who uses drama to convey health messages to audiences on the African continent, producing emergency response programmes during the Ebola outbreak of 2014; Patricia Mutangili, a tea-farmer from the slopes of Mount Kenya, who has been instrumental in the Fair-Trade movement in the country; and Archdeacon Tiki Raumati who has done much to unify the Maori and Pakeha people.
Carmel interviewed many wonderful people whose stories she tells in the book. What they all have in common is that their lives are witness to the transforming power of God’s love to impact not just their lives but the lives of countless others.
The book opens with the inspirational story of Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche. Carmel travelled to Paris to interview him face-to-face. He still lives in Trosly-Breuil a stone’s throw away from where he first felt compelled to act against the inhumane treatment of people with intellectual disabilities in institutions called, asylums. His actions have since affected people in all corners of the globe, with an international network of 147 residential communities across 35 countries, with 11 L’Arche communities in the UK alone.
The launch of John Sentamu’s Agape Love Stories was held on 1 December 2016 at St Michael le Belfry church in York. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a special day.
You can watch short video interviews with each of the contributors on the Archbishop’s website.