(Steve’s Spring Letter for 2015)
I’m writing to you from the skies having just left Winnipeg on route to Toronto for a weekend of concerts in Ontario. It’s been an uncommonly full winter/spring season, and I’ll admit to being a tad weary, but I still love what I do and am so grateful for your support, which allows me to continue in my vocation to “encourage Christian faith and thoughtful living through artful word and song.”
My friend Jamie Howison and I have written a book reflecting on the various Hebrew Psalms that I’ve set to music over the years. Jamie is a priest in the Anglican tradition and has been an important friend and mentor since the early days of my solo career.
In addition to the book, we’re creating a companion CD that collects all of the psalm/songs I’ve written and recorded over the past couple of decades. The project is called I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN: A Songwriter’s Journey Through the Psalms. Each of the book’s 16 chapters corresponds to the songs on the CD and includes a pastoral reflection by Jamie plus a brief recollection by me on why I engaged with that particular psalm in the first place.
The project is meant to help the reader/listener engage thoughtfully with these ancient prayer-poems that have nourished God’s friends for thousands of years. I’m really pleased with the way it has turned out and I think folks will find it to be a helpful personal resource as well as something they’d like to share with friends who may be looking for inspiration for their own faith walk.
The cost of production (design and manufacturing) for the first printing of the book and CD is roughly $10,000. It would be so helpful if several of you were able to support this financially. I’ve included a response form you can fill out and send in, or you can donate online at www.stevebell/support (this page). All contributions are tax deductible and will help immeasurably to further this work. If donations exceed the amount we hope to raise, they’ll simply go into the general fund to help keep the ministry afloat this summer.
More big news from the last months is the release of my four CD set Pilgrimage, and the feature-length documentary Burning Ember: The Steve Bell Journey (available on DVD from www.stevebell.com). Both projects have been enthusiastically received, and the documentary in particular has had surprising success, winning several international awards as well as getting picked up for television broadcast in Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Germany and the UK. Negotiations are underway for TV broadcast in North America, so watch for news about that.
I’ve continued to write my multi-media e-book series on the spirituality of the Christian calendar year. When complete, there will be seven books available on a dedicated app called PilgrimYear, which can be downloaded to all mobile devices or simply read online. The beta versions have had a few glitches but I think we’ve got most of those worked out and we will be releasing the new app to the public early September. I feel strongly that there is great benefit to the recovery of this rich spiritual tradition. I’ve personally gained much from the effort to discover some of these ancient pathways to a rooted faith in a God who both enters and transcends history, impregnating each moment with profound, resonant meaning and ennobling his saints to be ambassadors of a gospel that must be proclaimed and enfleshed to be believed and beloved.
Of course I continue to write songs—I already have a half-dozen new ones—so you can assume I’ll be itching to begin work on a new album of material within a year or so. Otherwise, there’s much more I could report. For instance, Murray Pulver and I are currently producing a new CD of contemplative worship songs by singer/songwriter Alana Levandoski. That project will be coming out in the fall and Alana will be joining me for several concerts dates from October through to December. To hear a song (in progress) from that project, visit http://blog.stevebell.com/2015/04/alana-n-me.
Thank you for your prayers and support! I am well aware that this work is a work we do together. I hope and pray that I represent us faithfully and well, and sincerely ask your and Christ’s grace and forgiveness where I don’t.
– Steve Bell