Della 1986 AP .jpg

She Touched My Life!


With exciting anticipation several of the graduating and ministers-in-training went into great detail to welcome a visiting minister to the San Jose Religious Science Church pulpit.  The large congregation with two Sunday services has been honored by many high-profiled spiritual leaders throughout its long history. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, my youngest son Jamie and I (both Texans!) felt fortunate to be a part of the church family. We moved to the Bay Area from Scottsdale, Arizona, so that I could complete my ministerial training.   

Dr. Robert Scott was the minister of the San Jose church, as well as the Dean of the School of Ministry with associate Dr. Jack Holland of San Jose State Professor. Before our relocating, much of my ministerial work was between Phoenix, Arizona and the Founders Church of Religious Science in Los Angeles. The founder of ‘Religious Science’ movement, Ernest Holmes was a bit humbled to be credited for the religious-psychology that was established in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Holmes became a spiritual friend and teacher to many in the Hollywood community, especially to a young girl neighbor that the world later got to know as Peggy Lee.   

To attempt to name only a few of the many special people who’ve become part of this spiritual family would border on the impossible and would distract from the purpose of this article. Early in 1985, we were caught in disbelief that our dearly loved friend and teacher, Dr. Scott became ill. He and his beautiful wife Janelle, (a good Texan, too), daughter Coco Dolenz and son Mickey Dolenz (yes, the Monkeys) had welcomed us into an extended family.  Even though the months long illness of Dr. Scott’s dilemma seemed to cast a cloud over all of the church members, student ministers and the world-wide friends, we had to pull ourselves up ‘by our bootstraps’ and do as the movie industry rule indicates ‘The Show must go on!’   

Knowing that most of the ministers were booked Sundays in their own pulpits, calls went out to request ministers that would fill the San Jose Sunday pulpit as guest ministers. Well, long-story short!!  To our surprise, an Angel responded! Talk about ‘divine order’! A new to the ministry, Della Reese conceded to a Sunday.   

This gracious lady at the tremendously busy singing and acting career time of her life, had gone through the similar studies that I had for 13+ years to become another  great spiritual teacher.

Della’s visit was like a new burst of sunshine during our gloom with Dr. Scott’s illness and eventual passing.  Della brought great warmth and compassion to us. Laughter filled the church while we adjusted to finding our way forward.  

It was especially a difficult time for my son and I; not only were we mourning the loss of Dr. Scott, my husband Merle passed away soon after I graduated from the School of Ministry and a few months later my three children’s father passed away, too. During the life journey we took in the Bay Area, we became aware that it was guided and guarded by our Angels.     

When I recall Della’s visit, I burst out laughing about the memory of the time I reminded her that her lapel mic was live while she was in the ladies lounge!  What a joy to laugh with An Angel!   

By Reverend E.T.C. Russell


Della gone at 86111917.jpg        DELLA --just-della.jpg


Touched by An Angel TV series - September 21, 1994 and ran for nine seasons

until its conclusion on April 27, 2003.


DELLA Angel.jpg    Della Reese was an American jazz and gospel singer, actress, and ordained minister. Reese's long career began as a singer, scoring a hit with her 1959 single "Don't You Know?". Wikipedia 

According to CNN, November 20, 2017 - "On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home surrounded by love. She was an incredible Wife, Mother, Grandmother, friend, and Pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer," actress Roma Downey, Reese's co-star on "Touched by an Angel," said in a statement on Facebook.

"Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people," Downey's statement continued. "She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years."