Steve Bell’s mission is to “refresh Christian faith and spiritual tradition for the weary and the wary.”
This will be Steve’s third appearance at the Network of Biblical Storytellers Canada Festival of Telling. This time he is our Keynote Artist and will be giving a talk on Saturday at this online event that runs from February 2 through to Sunday, February 4, 2024. We are delighted to have this accomplished musician and advocate join us again.
Among his many accomplishments and recognitions, Steve has been honoured with an appointment to both the Order of Manitoba and the Order of Canada in recent years, as well as having garnered three Juno Awards though his career. These honours leave Steve truly humbled. When he read the Order of Canada’s motto: “They desire a better country”, he knew he could sign on to that. He said, “It is great to be affirmed,” and hastened to add, “there are so many people who tirelessly serve their communities all across the country, and who often go unrecognized. I am known and so my contributions are visible.”
"Steve Bell is a songwriter, storyteller, and troubadour for our time. Over the course of a thirty-year solo career, he has been sharing a message of love, hope and faith through songs, stories, and writings. He is a purveyor of truth and beauty and champion of kindness. He is mentor to many, and an advocate of numerous meaningful causes.”
At one of Steve’s concerts, a man stood to introduce him: “We all see Steve as our friend.” He is our friend through his music and through his stories. He tells stories of how his songs come into being, about the creative process, about the interface of the biblical story and about his life. Steve knows that real life stories resonate with those who hear him and so, with boldness, he shares his own experiences.
He tells us about real stuff. In particular, he does not spare the hard telling of real life as he speaks of mental health issues in his family. His song, “In Memoriam,” written to honour his father, Alf Clement Bell, speaks clearly about his family. One verse reads:
“My father was a fortress
For my two sisters and I
And more-so for our mom
Who suffered so much of her life
He taught us how to live
And then he taught us how to die
We loved him all the more for it.”
Alf was a prison chaplain in Drumheller AB, and Steve, who spent some of his growing years accompanying his father to the institution, loves to remind us that it was inmates of that place who taught him how to play the guitar. They gave him his career. Steve’s love for his father is ever evident; that beloved, gentle and scholarly man became his mentor and best friend.
Steve has been married to Nanci for over 40 years and they have children and the immense joy of six grandchildren. Steve’s eyes light up when he speaks of these little ones. Steve and Nanci live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
As Keynote Artist, Steve will be giving a talk on “The Rhythms of the Christian Storytelling Year.” According to him, our whole lives are shaped by story, though we often do not realize it. He has authored a series of books on the Christian Calendar Year. Having been brought up in a faith tradition that did not follow the liturgical calendar, he is delighted to introduce and reflect on that cyclical beauty for us, and for others to discover anew. We are going to hear a Love Story.
We are thrilled to have you back again, Steve! We can hardly wait to hear your wisdom and insights in February.