When my siblings, Betsy, John and Wick, cleaned out my father's lake house, they found and saved for me files of his many sermons dating back to 1955, as well as three unpublished manuscripts that he had submitted to fulfill his Doctor of Ministry degree. Practicing the Presence of God by my father, the Rev. Dr. James R. Bell, is the manuscript that best represents his life-long career as a minister faithfully serving Christ in his community. In his book he tells us how to live more meaningful and exciting lives by bringing the presence of Christ to others and finding guidance on how to do so in the Scriptures. To this day, even while suffering the onslaught of dementia at age 92, he ministers to those confined to the Alzheimer unit of the assisted living facility that has become his home since the death of his wife in 2009.Perhaps we children suffer more watching our father slip away before our eyes. He was a brilliant minister, received his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1943, served as chaplain in the Pacific during WWII; and for over twenty years served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Flourtown, Pennsylvania, with his devoted wife, Betty, by his side. He preached well into his late eighties and carried his Bible everywhere he went. It is with deep gratitude for his life that we share this manuscript with you.Sandra Bell SmythYale Divinity School, M.A.R. 2010
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