The Reverend Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr. and his wife, Laura, live in Houston, Texas where he has served as Rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church since 2007. With nearly 10,000 members, St. Martin’s is the largest Episcopal Church in North America. As rector, he co-officiated and offered a homily at the state funeral for President George H. W. Bush in Washington, D.C. and in Houston, and also officiated and preached at the funeral for First Lady Barbara Bush in Houston. President and Mrs. Bush belonged to and were active members of St. Martin’s for more than 50 years.
Dr. Levenson led St. Martin’s $55 million campus expansion project, Building for the Ages, with new buildings and renovated facilities on schedule to open in 2021. The campaign, designed for a rapidly growing congregation, includes adding a large Parish Life and Contemporary Worship Center, a Children’s Life Center, a two-story Pastoral Care Center and renovations to other smaller and important facilities such as a new state of the art Music Center, the St. Martin’s Episcopal Preschool, the existing Payne Education Center, and the new “Christ Chapel,” a traditional-style worship space in the style of an English village church. Shortly after coming to St. Martin’s, Levenson spearheaded the parish’s vision for a Hope and Healing Center. The Center, offers recovery and support groups; lectures and workshops on behavioral, emotional and mental health; therapeutic evaluation and care; tele-psychiatry and therapeutic referral. Serving more than 800 individual clients each week, the Center charges no fee for its many services.
Dr. Levenson has served parishes in Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Florida. He holds a bachelor’s of arts degree, cum laude from Birmingham-Southern College (1984) where he studied Business and English, a master of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary (1992) and a doctor of ministry degree from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham (1997). He has served as a member of the Board of Advisors for Beeson Divinity School, St. Luke’s School of Theology and The Living Church Foundation.
Dr. Levenson has written dozens of articles for various religious and theological journals; and contributed to Prophetic Preaching, Church Publishing, 2020. He wrote the forward to John Claypool’s Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, Church Publishing, 2020; contributed to Pearls of Wisdom: Barbara Bush (March 2020); and has written four devotional books: Bits of Heaven, A Place of Shelter, Preparing Room and A Path to Wholeness, Church Publishing, 2020.
In June, the Order of St. John’s for the Priory in the United States appointed Dr. Levenson as its Sub-Prelate.
He and Laura have three adult children and two grandchildren.