John Bell – hymn writer
We often sing hymns written by John Bell, hymns such as Who would think that what was needed (Rejoice and Sing 178), Will you come and follow me (R & S 558) and The love of God comes close (R & S 107).
John Bell was born in Kilmarnock in November 1949. He became a Church of Scotland Minister, where he worked in youth ministry, and later a member of the Iona Community. He worked as part of The Wild Goose Worship Group, producing resources for worship as well as hymns. He has produced many collections of hymns and songs, sometimes with Graham Maule. He has also published collections of songs from the World Church. Many of his hymns are set to folk tunes.
John is a broadcaster, lecturer, preacher and worship leader. He is based in Glasgow but travels across the world. He works with his Iona Community colleagues in the area of music, worship and spirituality. For him and the Iona Community, community is where the Spirit of God is at work. Worship should be a community experience. He argues that hymns are not a personal product and criticises those who write deeply personal songs and then publish them as contemporary hymns. Joan