Noted Musician/Storyteller to Lead Spiritual Life Sessions

John BellJohn Bell

Eastern Mennonite University will hold a spiritual life week emphasis Monday through Friday, Jan. 9-13, on the theme, “Engaging Jesus.”

John Bell, a songwriter, storyteller and creator of insightful worship resources that engage the gospel framework with contemporary culture, will speak and lead music and workshops throughout the week.

Bell, who was born in Scotland and is a member of the Iona Community there, is a liturgical composer who writes cooperatively with colleagues in Glasgow and has a deep interest in music from non-European cultures.

Bell will open the week with worship and reflection 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 9, in Martin Chapel of the seminary building and speak at the opening seminary convocation 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Martin Chapel. He will also speak in seminary chapel 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

He will also speak on “Christ’s aspect of humor” at the opening undergraduate convocation of second semester 10 a.m. Wednesday in Lehman Auditorium.

Two evening programs in the series are co-sponsored with neighboring Park View Mennonite Church.

Bell will speak on what it means to “Engage Jesus” at a vesper service 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, and lead a musical narrative and storytelling journey around the world 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11. Both sessions will be held in the Park View sanctuary and are open to everyone.

At an informal gathering in the Common Grounds Coffeehouse in the University Commons 8-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Bell will respond to persons’ query, “If you could ask Jesus any question, what would it be?”

Bell will conclude the week with a message on Christ’s views on family life 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13, in Lehman Auditorium.

Although primarily a preacher and teacher, Bell devotes more than half his time to areas of music and liturgy, working with larger conferences and with small parishes largely in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

With his associates, he has produced some 15 collections of songs and octavos and a wide range of liturgical materials intended for use by lay people. He has authored collections of sermons and meditations, appears on radio and television and “manages to survive without the benefit of a wife, car, cell phone, camera or computer.”

“We anticipate John Bell’s ministry on campus at the opening of second semester,” said EMU campus pastor Brian Martin Burkholder. “He has a remarkable ability to enliven the gospel message through story and is a tireless believer in the song of people around the world and of the Christian church.”

For more information on the week’s activities, contact Brian Martin Burkholder at 540-432-4196; e-mail: