This blog site is about our connections up here in the North country.  Another of the connections we have is the acquaintances of Pastors and teachers.  I had a gentlemen come and preach for me many years ago from Ada, Minnesota by the name of Dean Bell.  He was particularly impressed with the services at the Developmental Center.  Later he became a Pastor and serves Fosston and another congregation I believe in Hendrum Minnesota.  We have had some adventures together.  I remember vividly a discussion that he and I had in Boston as we discussed funerals.  Dean called the graveyard the “dormitory of the faithful departed”.

That was in a blog I wrote years ago about Dean Bell.  He was an erudite and fun conversationalist.  He was extremely conservative and a strong confessional Lutheran.  He was hilarious and his son wrote a wonderful piece on face book.

“Today my dad is achieving something I will never come close to. He is receiving a Doctor of Divinity Degree Honoris Causa frm Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne Indiana. We are so proud of him. Growing up, I always knew about Fort Wayne. I never knew why he went or what he did but he was obviously making an impact on others. Here is a snippet from the graduation program. “A strong proponent of continuing education, Pastor Bella has been very active in attending the seminaries annual symposia and continuing education classes. During his four decades of service in various congregations, Pastor Bell has demonstrated a long-standing and strong commitment of service to the Wider church. He has served as a circuit visitor and a trained Synod reconciler. His membership on various boards is wide ranging, including the Board of Directors of both the  Northern Minnesota District and the Synod, the Board of Regents of both Concordia University Wisconsin and this Seminary, and the Board of Directors of the Confessional Lutheran Educational Fund and the Lutheran Heritage Foundation.”

Pastor Bell was on my mind a lot in the last few weeks and I wrote several times about all the funerals and burials that I have had over the last week or two when I mentioned his name and his remark aboutthe “dormitory of the faithful departed”.  He had picked that up from tremendous scholarship and being a bibliophile.  He had a tremendous sense of humor and often made me laugh out loud.  I was not aware that he had experienced several falls and was in a nursing home and last night I was informed that he had died.  The timing of his death is interesting to me because yesterday is the day the church celebrates the Ascension of Christ. The Ascension means that Christ has led our enemies captive, enemies such as misfortune, death, and hell. Christ leads us to the same place to which He ascended.The disciples were left on the mountain when a cloud hid Jesus. We are still in this world. Dean has left the world but his life was hidden with Christ in God and so are ours. Christ, the head of the church, has ascended. We, the members of his body, have ascended with him. Our reign in Christ above gives us hope in times of trouble. Those troubles have been led captive by Christ.

Christ ascended to give us gifts.  He ascended so the Spirit could call and gather and enlighten us and sanctify us for His work and be His people.  Pastor Bell was called and gathered and sanctified and now he is with Christ.  He will be missed.

Dec. 27, 1945 – May 29, 2019 ADA, Minn. – Dean Bell, 73, Ada, Minn., died Wednesday, May 29, in Benedictine Care Community. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, June 2, at St. John’s Lutheran Church near Ada. Visitation will continue from 1-2 p.m., followed by a funeral at 2 p.m., Monday, June 3, at the church. Burial will be in the church cemetery near Ada. Arrangements by Fredrikson-Ganje Funeral Home in Ada.