Shabach: A worship movement in aid of sickle cell

Noel Bell finds comfort in worship (Photos: Contributed)

Noel Bell suffers from sickle cell disease, a painful chronic blood disorder. When the pain becomes almost unbearable for Bell, he finds comfort in his faith. During one of those period, Shabach was birthed.

“Shabach started after going through a difficult, and depressing period in my life of living with sickle cell disease. The book Psalms and prayer was what kept my mind together,” he told BUZZ.

“It was in that period I became more fascinated with biblical worship and looked up the Hebrew words for worship and “Shabach” stood out to me,” he added.

Bell describes Shabach as an “intimate worship experience” held biannually at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. The first session was held in November last year, and the next staging will take in May 2020.

“Shabach’, the Hebrew word for worship

Proceeds from the event are donated to the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica (SCSFJ).

“I have lived with sickle cell all my life. One doesn’t catch or get sickle cell, you start with it from birth and it becomes a life long journey unless you get divine intervention. It is one of those disease that in my opinion does not get sufficient attention or funding from both government and private sector,” he said.

The Shabach team wants to spread awareness of sickle cell disease

” It is not like cancer which has plenty of campaign or funding. The SCSFJ is possibly the only foundation in the island that is trying to help patients but with the limited recources and thousands of persons in need, the foundation can do so much and no more,” he said.

Raising awareness

Bell said his goal is not only to help the foundation financially, but to also help raise awareness of the disease. “My aim really is to start the conversation by bringing more attention to the issue and play my part in assisting financially,” he said.

‘It is one of those disease that in my opinion does not get sufficient attention or funding from both government and private sector’

— Bell

At the same time, Bell said his team also tries to keep Shabach affordable so patrons can access the possibilities that exist in true worship.

‘Believing God, for healing at Shabach’

“Not only that but we are believing God to heal the sick at our events. Even sickle cell we want to see healing for,” he said.

The 30 year-old psychology, theology and media student, at the UWI told BUZZ that the likes of Rhoda Issabella, Pastor Dean, Oshane Mais, have graced Shabach’s stage. He also has a Shabach worship team, and other performers.

Rhoda Issabella performing at Shabach

“We aren’t really looking to entertain anyone. But more so to push for a space of intimate worship and healing for anyone that come to Shabach,” he said.

Bell dreams of a time when sickle cell disease is given the same attention as other diseases. And the awareness he spreads through Shabach is a step towards realizing that dream.

“We just want to host large scale worship events like that of Hillsongs and Elevation Worship here in Jamaica,” he said.