A photo of the Rev. David Schell

Rev. David Schell‘s first benediction at Fairplain Presbyterian Church included the words “the God who told a prophet to bake bread on poop.”

David grew up in church and around the Bible. His dad forced him to read three chapters a day for years, and he won a series of Bible Quizzing competitions. The Bible was revered in his tradition almost as a god itself. This prevented him from realizing how truly weird and awesome the Bible is, and the diverse ways God speaks to us through it.

In a college Old Testament class, David learned a few of the Bible’s secrets and was left hungry for more, so he went to seminary. Because he thought it would be fun. (It was).

Pastor David is in his element when he tells obscure and interesting Bible stories and mines them for powerful, divinely-inspired meaning, or helps uncover new meaning in more familiar texts.

One of David’s goals in ministry is “to make church safe for people.” This doesn’t mean you won’t hear sermons that challenge you or make you uncomfortable, but if something happens during worship that hits a trauma trigger you’re unprepared for, that’s going to interfere with your ability to worship God.

You won’t be threatened with hellfire and damnation if you don’t believe exactly what David believes. Instead, we hope you will be challenged and inspired (not guilted) to live your life following even closer in the way of Jesus – whether you believe in God today or not.

David has a Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a Bachelor’s in Film Production from Huntington University.

His experience with different Christian traditions spans a wide range, from fundamentalist Christianity to Black charismatic megachurches to evangelical megachurches to United Methodist church camp, and finally the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Before Benton Harbor, he lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. David grew up in a small coal-mining town in Appalachia.


Our church secretary is Linda Cogswell. Her email address is, and our office number is 269-925-0041.


Robert “Bud” Cornelius is our custodian.

Director of Music

The multi-talented Vladimir Slavujevic directs our chancel choir, men’s and women’s choruses, and plays chimes and bells and various other instruments with his family.


Robert Smith

Financial Secretary

Jill Wendel