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The U.S. Congress and Brighton City Honor RMC's Rex Bell
"Pastor Rex Bell has made the City of Brighton a better place to live" were the words expressed by U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman at a ceremony in Brighton, May 1. Coffman presented a plaque, voted in the U.S. House of Representatives, recognizing his “many years of extraordinary work and dedication to the City of Brighton.” Bell served the City Council as its Councilman for two terms.
A Congressional Record plaque stated that, “Council Member Bell’s dedication to the City of Brighton and his leadership and vision have, among other accomplishments, contributed to the city’s growth and prosperity.
“As a Brighton City Council Member, Rex Bell has consistently and effectively guided city policy towards improving quality of life. Council Member Bell has served his community for 23 years as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the City of Brighton. Council Member Bell has, without a doubt, enhanced the quality of life for every citizen in the City of Brighton throughout his tenure as a City Council Member and as a resident of the City of Brighton.”
Signed by Coffman, the plaque stated that, “Rex Bell represents the very best in public service that the State of Colorado and our nation has to offer.”
Surrounded by his family and fellow members of the City Council, Pastor Bell commented, “I’m humbled, grateful and kind of empty because it’s the passing of a part of my life that has been very important to me, so I feel like I’m moving on to new land and ventures, that I don’t know what I’ll be, even though I’m still for the city, I don’t make policy.”
Commenting to NewsNuggets, Pastor Bell, who is a retired minister and still serving the Northeastern Colorado churches alongside Pastor Don Lopes, believes “that Adventist ministry needs to be in the marketplace. In Brighton, when we came here, there were 11,000 people and it grew to 31,000 in that period of time, ministry. How are we going to involve and relate to all of that rapid growth unless the Adventist church is in the center of the movers and shakers, the formers of our community?”
Reflecting on his community service, Bell explained, “I do not want to take my religion to the city, but I want to take my faith, and there’s a difference. And I want to take Christ to the community and that’s what we attempted to do and we got involved and one thing led to another and that’s what happened.”
He became good friends with many people at City Hall. They asked him to serve on the Planning and Zoning Committee, and he said, "I’d be delighted to do so and then an opening came for city council and city council was successful and then I was re-elected and term limited.”
“The most important thing is building a team of people that embrace one another, who will work with differences of opinion without offense. That’s important because we can’t go anywhere unless we work together and we all pull the same horse. Even though we may disagree, it’s vital,” Pastor Bell said.
He agreed that this should work for the church, too. “Man, yes, yes, yes. Profoundly,” he said with a smile.
Colleagues from the City Council also presented Rex Bell with a plaque, expressing “gratitude for all your hard work and selfless dedication in serving the Brighton staff and community.”
Phillip Rodriguez, City Manager commented that “to be able to honor Councilman Rex Bell is not only a reflection of his service and all the good things he was able to do for the community, but it was a chance for us, as an organization and as a city, to really just honor and focus in on the good man that Rex Bell is and the family that the Bell family is in our community.”
“If an issue got a little bit off track, a little bit derailed, and overly-politicized, one thing he was able to do was to help us refocus on what our highest priorities are and our calling in public service. And, in doing so, he helped the Council to find a resolution,” he added. "Because Rex really was someone who shared a lot of wisdom with us and the rest of the Council. He helped us aspire to be more as a community," he added.
Rodriguez will remember Rex Bell’s cool approach to issues as well as his quiet, kind demeanor, which is what many fellow council people will miss “We were having some tension over water rates and water billing and things like that, and one of the things he said that I won’t forget was, ‘The one thing we never want to do is lose our people. If we don’t have a people,’ meaning a community, ‘then there’s no point in anything we’re doing.’ Let’s not lose our people.' We all just took a proverbial moment of silence and focused back on what it is that we really do,“ Rodriguez added.
“It became obvious that he will be missed. It was wonderful to hear the Council members recalling phrases that Rex often repeated as they worked together for so many years. There was an obvious appreciation and admiration of Pastor Bell's wise and calm presence,” commented Eric Nelson, Rocky Mountain Conference VP for administration who participated at the event in Brighton’s City Hall.
At the outset of the ceremony, Pastor Bell took time to pray for his fellow Council members and Congressman Coffman. Before the event, he “hoped for a moment to pray with him for America and the challenges of Washington currently,” he commented.
The contribution of Pastor Rex’s time and effort as a pastor and community leader “has been a major contributing factor in helping the Brighton Seventh-day Adventist Church be recognized as a church of significance to Brighton and it’s people,” Nelson concluded.
-- Rajmund Dabrowski: text and photo