The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Chaplain Major Howard Bell

932nd Airlift Wing
Scott AFB, IL

Sponsor: Rep. John Shimkus, (R-IL)
Date of Prayer: 07/18/2013

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Chaplain Howard Bell who led us in the opening prayer .

The tradition of the opening prayer began with the Continental Congress in 1774 when Reverend Jacob Duche of Philadelphia offered a prayer at its start. Since that time, the House has enjoyed over 200 years of service from the Chaplaincy of the House and our guest chaplains.

Chaplain Bell has faithfully served in churches in Missouri and Illinois since 1988. While serving his church, Chaplain Bell was commissioned a chaplain captain in the United States Air Force Reserves in 2002 and was assigned as an Individual Mobilization Augmentation to the 375th Air Wing at Scott Air Force Base.

In 2008, he was deployed to Afghanistan and assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Force at Bagram Airfield as the hospital chaplain, where he received the Army Commendation Medal. Since then, he has received the Air Force Commendation Medal, the International Security Assistance Force Medal, and the Afghanistan Enduring Freedom Medal. Chaplain Bell was also appointed wing chaplain of the 932nd Airlift Wing, where he supervises the ministry for nearly 1,200 airmen in the wing.

He is married to Reverend Penelope Barber and has two children, David and Rachel. Currently, he is the pastor of the Farina United Methodist Church in Farina, Illinois, and of the Louisville United Methodist Church in Louisville, Illinois.

It is my honor to welcome a man who encompasses so many of the wonderful qualities of the people of Illinois, and I would like to personally thank Chaplain Bell for offering this morning's prayer .

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Almighty God, we ask for Your divine blessing upon this Congress. We ask that You bless them as they share the privilege that befuddled Moses, challenged Churchill, and has driven some to amazing achievement––leadership.

We thank You for choosing leaders with integrity, who ably lead this country, who motivate us in our work, and ultimately promote freedom in the world.

Give to this Congress the wisdom of Solomon in the decisions they must make; the courage of David when faced with "giants in the land;" the strength of Samson to endure the daily grind; the patience of Job to deal with the ever–changing demands placed upon them; and the compassion of a parent with a hurting child.

Almighty God, we have confidence in our President, our Congress, and in our Nation––and especially in You as we boldly make these requests, trusting in You that they will be accomplished. It is in Your holy name we pray.


To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory