Due out in November (from Morning Star Publishing), A Chicken Can Make a Difference began as an experiment. More than a year ago a number of us involved in Christian writing, publishing and communication began to wonder what would happen if we asked ordinary people to share their stories of faith. What resulted was the Stories of Life creative writing competition, which drew entries in three different categories: Open, Stories under 500 words, and Youth. The organising committee deliberately chose not to ask for a particular type of story, but simply to ask people to share their own personal accounts of faith and life. We were not sure what to expect.
As entries began coming in we soon discovered what a diverse range of people, writing styles and faith experiences were out there. There was no typical story, and while many of the writers may have seen themselves as ordinary, the tales they told were anything but. We read with interest extraordinary accounts of conversion, answers to prayer, life-changing adventures, and of God’s grace in dealing with illness and loss.
Our three judges for the competition, poet and educator Valerie Volk, award-winning children’s and young adult author Rosanne Hawke, and pastor and writer Nick Hawkes were also struck by the richness and diversity of the entries. Each found it hard to nominate the top three stories in their respective categories, while the task of deciding which stories to include in this collection proved equally difficult. In the end we feel we have come up with a representative collection of the most thought-provoking and well-written stories, which also includes writing by some of our judges and those on the Stories of Life committee who were not eligible to enter the competition.
Deciding on a title was our final challenge. We wanted to take something from one of the stories in the collection—but which one? There were so many intriguing titles to choose from, including two with references to underwear! In the end a simple yet profound story called A Chicken Can Make a Difference seemed to sum up best the essence of the collection. In this book one finds stories about quite ordinary things, people and events that end up making an extraordinary difference when the grace of God is involved.
We look forward to the launch of the book and trust these stories help you glimpse something of the many ways in which God is at work in the world. We hope you will be inspired by these real life accounts of how God has worked in unexpected ways to nurture faith, restore hope and bring healing to people’s lives. For those who find the idea that God might actually care personally about them or their needs difficult to believe, we pray that these stories might reveal the God who is love, made known in Christ, who continues to show his mercy and care for us in so many surprising ways.
On behalf of the Stories of Life Steering Committee,
James Cooper—Director of Creative Writing, Tabor College of Higher Education
Mark Worthing—Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, North Adelaide