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The congregation of Glendale Christian Church braved cold temperatures and slick roads Sunday to remind their leaders how much they are loved.
The church was packed as it held a special ceremony commemorating 40 years of service by Brother Mike Bell and his wife, Sharon.
Bell was touched by the outpouring of support offered Sunday.
The journey was by design as God was accommodating in keeping the Bells in Glendale so long, he said.
“It’s quite exciting; quite humbling,” he said.
The Bells moved to Glendale in December of 1970 and Mike Bell officiated his first service on Jan. 3, 1971. Bell said the occasion was both joyful and sad, as many members who were instrumental in their ministry now are gone. But Bell said he knows there is a “cloud of witnesses” watching over the church.
In addition to offering the couple gifts, including a tower grandfather clock, numerous colleagues and friends spoke of the Bells’ sacrifice and love for the Glendale community.
Jeff Gaines, associate minister, described Sharon as the perfect preacher’s wife
“And Brother Mike is not bad,” he said jokingly.
Gaines said the Bells are enjoying a wonderful life because they live for the lord, and have served diligently for so long because they care.
“Brother Mike and Sharon have served for 40 years, not out of duty, or because it’s a job, or because they had to,” Gaines said. “They did it out of love.”
Laura Jones, administrative assistant at the church, agreed and said the Bells have been an inspiration to her through their actions. When you hurt, she said, they hurt. And when you feel joy, they share in that joy alongside you.
The pastor also has an unyielding energy about him, she said, even as people tell him to slow down.
“He just keeps going and doing what God charged him to do,” she said.
Cordell Tabb, who serves with Bell on the board of Hardin County Water District No. 2, said he has learned a lot about Bell’s quirks over the years, joking Bell’s love of Diet Coke.
Tabb also joked that Bell is so well known the president and the Pope are acquainted with him.
State Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown, presented the Bells with a citation and said they encapsulate the definition of extraordinary people through their faithful devotion to the church, dedication to the Glendale community and the enrichment of others’ lives by guiding them in their spiritual walk.
Former U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis presented Bell with a transcript of a speech honoring the Bells presented to Congress by U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie.
Bell referenced the birth of Jesus and the wonder the shepherds and wise men felt.
“The center of everything is Jesus Christ,” Bell said, adding that they’ll never forget Sunday’s service.
Sharon Bell said when she and her husband arrived in Glendale, they expected to move on within a few years, but God had other plans.
However, she deflected the praise and said everyone should strive to love and help others.
“We’re not exceptional,” she said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.