Driving up Alabama Avenue from Ward 7 it is easy to see that Ward 8 is changing. One of the first things you see is a nearly completed construction site of what looks to be housing. It is a fairly large building with nice colors and a contemporary yet conservative architectural design. As you pass the building and continue south on Alabama Avenue it is difficult to miss Allen Chapel A.M.E Church and that is where I had a chance to talk with the man who is responsible for helping to bring change to this part of Ward 8 on Alabama Avenue.
Dr. Michael E. Bell, Sr. is the Pastor of the Allen Chapel A.M.E Church and the leader our community needs. As the Pastor at Allen Chapel AME Church, he leads a church with a congregation over 2,000 members, a humble servant of God he embraces ministry beyond the walls of the building. Under his vision and leadership Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church has continued and expanded the services they provide in the community. In asking him why he continues to lead in a direction of service and ministry Dr. Bell responds “one thing that I am passionate about is people and right now people across the country but specifically in our community are hurting. At Allen we are simply trying to remain obedient to God and serve those in need.” It is inspiring to hear the words that Dr. Bell speaks but it is life changing to see how his passion converts to action.
Asked about his path to Allen Chapel, Dr. Bell believes that his path has been ordained and directed by God. Raised in the church all of his life, Dr. Bell is a third generation Pastor. It was not until after he graduated from University of Maryland in 1985 that Dr. Bell received his calling into ministry. As a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, Maryland Dr. Bell continued his education with a Masters of Divinity from Howard University and Doctorate of Ministry from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Bell considers himself blessed to serve as the Pastor of the Awesome, Amazing and Audacious Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church.
Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church has been a pillar in our community for over 160 years. Many great leaders have both Pastored and attended Allen Chapel. Dr. Bell has certainly continued and added to the legacy of “The Cathedral of Southeast”. His knowledge of the Bible and Theology guides members to learn and seek more knowledge. His sincerity about the Lord is shown and felt from the pulpit. His understanding of the needs of the community is shown through the many ministries and initiatives he has begun and his love for Gods people is apparent in every word he speaks. It is almost difficult to get Dr. Bell to talk about him or what the church is doing under his leadership. He does not brag that the McKinley Crudup Food Pantry started during his tenure served over 18,000 people in 2012, nor does he take credit for the hundreds of young men and women and their children who are served in the prison ministry. Dr. Bell believes that walking through the Woodland community not only changes the lives of the residents but has changed the lives of members of Allen Chapel. You will only hear his commitment to young people through his support of the Church School, youth and young adult ministry, Girl Scouts, Woodland Tigers, Vision of Victory Child Development, The Calvin Woodland Foundation, and others. He will not talk about his essential role in the development of a 16 million dollar 91 unit senior affordable housing project that is scheduled to have its ribbon cutting on March 10, 2013. What you will get from Dr. Bell at all times is that he bless God for his favor and his appreciation for being the vessel that God has chosen to lead in this community at this time. Dr. Bell’s humbleness and willingness to serve the Lord is a model. His commitment to Kingdom building guides him to being the visionary our community needs and his heart to serve makes him our man of the year.