On Sunday, October 22, members of Vernon Chapel AME Church hosted a wonderful celebration to mark the Bells’ 10th anniversary at the church. The food was delicious and included homemade rolls, chicken, ham, turkey, peach cobbler, and banana pudding. Love was definitely on the menu!
The Rev. DaNita was aware that church members were planning a small gathering after church to surprise Pastor Bell. She loved the idea and had a plan to keep him occupied until the surprise celebration at 4 pm. They would grab a snack and then visit the sick and shut-in like Pastor Bell usually does after church.
The Rev. DaNita really thought she was on top of everything! What she didn’t know was that the planning committee had secretly invited family members, pastors, and friends from all over the country and they were all eagerly waiting for them at the church. God is good!
When the Bells arrived back to the church around 4:30 pm, they couldn’t believe their eyes. The decorations were amazing and they were greeted by a sea of smiling faces. It was truly a beautiful sight. The most touching moment was when they realized that their family was there! The Bells didn’t know that their daughter had driven from Chicago to surprise them. The presiding elder and folks from all over Michigan came to help thank God for this accomplishment.
Several pastors gave remarks about how the Bells have been exceptional role models in ministry. The Bells have been in ministry for 40 years and at Vernon Chapel for 10 years. They are kind, loving, and gracious. They make everyone feel included. In short, the Bells live out their faith and share the love of Jesus with others.
Pastor Bell and the Rev. DaNita are the only two people who have served in every conference of the 4th District. Pastor Bell is a General Board member on the connectional level. The Rev. DaNita has the gift of music. She directs the 4th District Choir and the Michigan Conference Choir. I admire their patience and persistence. Being in ministry can be challenging at times but the Bells find a way to stay positive and always offer an encouraging word.
I am truly grateful to know the Bells and call them friends. Please join me in celebrating their legacy of leadership and powerful ministry. We love you!
The Rev. Yolanda Whiten is the pastor of St. James AME Church in Brighton, Michigan.
Editor’s Note: Rev. Christal L. Bell, daughter of Pastor Larry and Rev. DaNita Bell is the Youth Ministry Section Editor for The Christian Recorder.