The Reverend Dr. Russell Jones Levenson, Jr. was born and reared in Birmingham, Alabama. He and Laura, wife of over twenty-five years have three children.
Russell received a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Birmingham-Southern College in 1984. Upon his graduation, he was awarded the College's highest service recognition as the recipient of the President's Service Award. Prior to entering seminary, he worked at Birmingham-Southern as an Assistant to the President of the College and later as Minister to Youth at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
He received a Master of Divinity Degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1992. While at the seminary, he served as President of his entering class and as a member of the seminary's Executive and Curriculum Committees.
Following his graduation from VTS, he served as Assistant University Chaplain, under the Reverend Dr. Samuel Lloyd, until he was called as Associate Rector at St. Luke's in Birmingham, where he served under the Reverend Dr. John Claypool for four years. While in the Diocese of Alabama, he served a three year term on the Secretariat, serving as the Head Spiritual Director for Cursillo in Alabama and he completed hisDoctor of Ministry at Beeson Divinity School in 1997.
He was also called to be the rector of The Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1997. During his tenure, the parish nearly doubled its budget, gained over 500 new members and underwent over $5 million in capital improvements. While in the Diocese of Western Louisiana he served on the Executive Committee for three years and as a member of the Commission on Communication.
In 2002, Dr. Levenson was called as the fifteenth rector of historic Christ Church Parish in Pensacola, Florida. During his tenure, over 600 new members joined the parish; and the parish's budget grew substantially as did its commitment to outreach, mission, and Christian Education. In the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, he served on the Diocesan Commission for Communication and the Commission for Stewardship, the Diocesan Commission for Church Growth and Evangelism and the Standing Committee.
In the fall of 2007, Dr. Levenson became the fourth rector of St. Martin's Church in Houston, Texas. Lord George Carey, who preached at Levenson's institution shortly after his arrival, remarked, "Russell is an outstanding man whom I admire very much . . . a great preacher who gives sparkling sermons."
Dr. Levenson has been a featured speaker and retreat leader in North and South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Massachusetts. He has had nearly 50 articles published in magazines and journals including The Living Church, The Anglican Digest, The Episcopal Teacher, Decision Magazine and The Sewanee Theological Review. His first book, Provoking Thoughts is a collection of Lenten Meditations with a foreword written by Lord Carey. His latest book is Preparing Room: An Advent Companion, with a foreword by Ann Wilkinson Claypool.
Levenson's ministry springs from a firm commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and he continues to uphold St. Martin's commitment to an Anglican expression of the evangelical, orthodox, and Biblical Christian faith. He places a high priority on the continued building of membership through faithful preaching and teaching, discipleship, Christian education, outreach and active evangelism.
Like many clergy; my work entails working with people of all ages--that often includes children--even young children. We have a pre-school at St. Martin's in Houston where I serve. I make an effort to roam the halls at least once a week or so. All kind of interesting things happen to me during these encounters--sometimes a smile, sometimes an unsolicited hug and often a question or two. Not too long ago, I was walking down the hall and I was stopped by one of our little ones--a small tyke, not yet old enough to read. She pointed at me and said, "Father Levenson...why do you dress so funny?"Read full transcript...
The humorist Judith Viorst shares in her book How Did I Get to be Forty and Other Atrocities--she writes:
I've finished six pillows in Needlepoint,
And I'm reading Jane Austen and Kant,
Read full transcript...