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STEVE’S FALL/WINTER 2022 UPDATE

Hello dear friends and supporters,

….be filled with the spirit, speaking to one another in hymns and spiritual odes, singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for all things to the God and Father in the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed. 

Ephesians 5: 18b-20 (The New Testament: A Translation by David Bentley Hart)

Just yesterday a dear friend sent me a link to a 2009 sermon preached by Timothy Keller on the above passage from Ephesians. In it, Mr. Keller reminds us that the bridge between Christian belief and Christian character is Christian practice—of which spiritual singing is a vital exercise. 

I’ve never consciously thought of my work in such terms, but as I heard Keller speak, I realized I’ve always kind-of known this to be true. To be sure, there are other exercises that build the bridge between belief and character—prayer is vital of course; acts of kindness and mercy; receiving the foreigner, caring for God’s beloved creation, etc.—but spiritual singing stirs our reverent ardour for God and the concerns of God, it grows humility, it arouses empathy, it softens the soil of our hearts to receive the seed of the Word, and it reminds us that beauty is a structural feature of the manifestation of the love of God.

This has been my vocation from the beginning: to write and sing in a manner that builds bridges between us and God, between us and the other, between us and creation. And I couldn’t ask for more rewarding work.

September 2022 marks my return to regular live concerts after nearly two and a half years of on-line work. It would be hard to overstate how happy I am to be back to what I feel I’m best at. I will, however, continue my online work. In the last two and a half years my team and I have had to pivot fast and hard.  But in doing so, we have developed a fairly sophisticated video studio and the skills to create meaningful content.  Indeed, one of our music videos for a song I wrote for my father, In Memoriam, just won a Covenant Award for best video of 2022. I’m proud to say it was produced in-house by my videographer Jay Johnson. We have all sorts of plans for more productions from vod-casts to online guitar lessons, to more music videos and online concerts… and even short-form documentaries about issues that God has given us concern for. 

But being on the road and engaging people in a live context brings me great joy and renewed energy.

I still, and will likely always need your help to do this work. Opportunities to monetise music have slowed to a trickle while expenses for travel and production have soared. Post pandemic concert attendance across the board is down by 30-40%. I could give you a whole litany of items by way of example but I’m sure you can imagine.

As the year comes to a close, please keep me and my team in mind as you discern where to give your year-end donations. We are dependent on community support and are grateful for every donation large or small. If you give monthly, perhaps you can consider an extra one-time gift, or upping your monthly amount. If you are an occasional donor, perhaps you might consider making a monthly commitment which helps us enormously in terms of planning and budgeting.

I hope you know my gratitude is real and I’m honoured to have been chosen and freed up for this work which I hope to continue for some time yet.

Thank you for your love and prayers. And don’t forget to make spiritual singing a regular feature of your intentional formation. It certainly won’t hurt.

Peace friends,

Steve Bell

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