The Rev. Dr. Valerie Bell is now the new pastor at Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church in North Fort Myers.
Bell now hails from North Fort Myers and has had strong ties to the surrounding area.
"I went to Cypress Lake High School and have lived in Fort Myers for over 30 years. I was born in Texas and lived in Arkansas and then my folks got divorced, and I finally ended up in Florida when my mother remarried," she said.
The Rev. Dr. Valerie Bell
She's very proud to be part of the church. "This is a little church I did not come into resuscitate; they've already had a lot of things going on," she said.
The congregation had a part-time pastor who retired, and she is now there full-time.
"I've already come into an already active church," she said. "The excitement is that we're moving forward. One of the things the church needs to do what is uniquely the church's call to society."
She expanded on that philosophy.
"The church call is a special one. We are called to worship as a community, and then we are to grow and deepen in our discipleship, and then we are called to share the Good News and then to meet the needs of others.
"Though we are a small church, there's great generosity to the community. We will be involved in packing backpacks with food and school supplies for children in Immokalee. We support a mission called Mission Penuel.
"It is a Presbyterian mission there," she said. "We also collect sneakers for children in local schools and we also take in the last Sunday of the month for All Souls Episcopal Church in North Fort Myers. They have a great operation we cannot replicate but we donate to."
Pastor Bell has two children, Nathan, who is 30, and her daughter Larkin, who is 27, both are married.
"We're open every Sunday," she said. "Our service is at 10:30 a.m. and we have fellowship time after the service, with coffee and goodies and comfortable conversation.
"The North Fort Myers community has been very welcoming," she said. "This has been good medicine for a good comfortable fit."
She invites all to services and worship.
Holy Trinity Church is at 19231 N. Tamiami Trail. The phone number is 567-2246.