On Sunday, July 1, we will have our annual Celebrate America Patriotic Celebration in a combined service at 10:00 a.m.  Each year we invite everyone, and specifically veterans and city and county officials to attend this service.  City and county officials are offered preferential seating, and those who have served our country are recognized and honored with a special commemorative coin.  There will also be a display of military photographs in the foyer and a slide show prior to the service.

This year Rolla City Fire Department will display a large flag to greet those arriving for the service.  We will continue the tradition of handing out small flags to attendees to wave throughout the service as desired.  Veterans are encouraged to wear their military uniform if possible, and the congregation is encouraged to wear red, white and blue colors.

 Our speaker this year is Captain Brett Bell.  Captain Bell is an active duty E-3 Pilot in the United States Air Force.  He was born in Rolla, Missouri in 1983 and graduated from Rolla High School in 2001.  Captain Bell earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri and commissioned through Officer Training School in 2009.  In 2011, he earned his wings through Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi and was assigned to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma as a pilot on the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). Captain Bell is a senior pilot and evaluator in the E-3 and has over 2,200 hours including over 400 combat and combat support hours.  He has deployed to South America for Counter-Drug Operations, the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and, most recently, to Okinawa, Japan where he spent the last 3 and a half years supporting operations in the Pacific.  He and his family recently returned to Oklahoma after their tour in Japan and are settling back into life in America.  He currently instructs new E-3 pilots at the 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron and is the Deputy Chief of Safety for the 552nd Air Control Wing.  Captain Bell was saved by Jesus in March 2004 and has had the opportunity to serve in camp ministries, inner-city ministries, and through the local church.  He has been married to his wife, Michelle, for 9 years and together they have 3 beautiful children: Elias 7, Adelyn 3, and Braddock 2.  

 Our choir has been preparing the musical, “This Is My Country,” which takes a look back at our heritage as we journey through American history.  This country was forged through hard work and determination and fortified by a sense of adventure and dreams of a better life.  But most of all, it was built on the biblical principles of Almighty God.  Our choir will also perform this musical at the Missouri Veteran’s Home in St. James on Saturday, June 30.  We are truly looking forward to celebrating America and all it stands for.