The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.

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The Reverend Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr. began his tenure as Rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston in 2007. He and his wife, Laura, have three adult children, Evie, Jones, and Luke, and two grandchildren, Genny and Austin. They love serving Our Lord Jesus and all his children through the many ministries at St. Martin’s.

Dr. Levenson graduated with honors from Birmingham-Southern College, receiving the College’s highest service award, “The President’s Student Service Award.” He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree there, studying business and English. After a few years in educational administration at his alma mater and then a few years as a Lay Minister at his home church of St. Luke’s in Birmingham, Alabama, the Levenson family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where he completed his Master’s of Divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary. During his seminary years, he served at the historic Christ Church in Old Town, the home parish of President George Washington. After his graduation and ordination, he served as Assistant University Chaplain at the University of the South, before returning once more to St. Luke’s in Birmingham, where he served as Associate Rector under his long-term mentor and friend, the late Rev. Dr. John Claypool. During this season of ministry, he also completed a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation at Beeson Divinity School, before being called as Rector of The Episcopal Church of The Ascension in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he served for five years before being called as the Rector of Christ Church in Pensacola, Florida, where he served until coming to St. Martin’s. Dr. Levenson is St. Martin’s fourth rector since it was founded in 1952. Under his leadership, the Parish has completed two expansion projects, Building for the Ages, completed in 2021, and Building for Life, completed in 2012. The Church is the largest Episcopal Church in North America with nearly 10,000 members.

Shortly after coming to St. Martin’s, he spearheaded the Parish’s vision for the Hope and Healing Center and Institute. The Center offers recovery and support groups; lectures and workshops on behavioral, emotional and mental health; therapeutic evaluation and care; telepsychiatry and therapeutic referral. Serving more than 800 individual clients each week, the Center never charges for the many services it provides.

Dr. Levenson has served on several boards and advisory councils over the years including the Board of Advisors for Beeson Divinity School, St. Luke’s School of Theology at the University of the South, the Living Church Foundation, and as a member of the Office of the Development Advisory Committee for the Episcopal Church, New York City. For several years, he served on the Board of Amazing Place in Houston, which seeks to offer care and support services for individuals and loved ones impacted by dementia.

In 2015, he was admitted as a member of the United States Priory for the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. On June 24, 2020, he was appointed Sub-Prelate of the Order, and in 2021, by appointment of the late Her Majesty, Elizabeth, Queen of England; he was elevated as an Officer for the Priory. The Priory is a public charity that supports the humanitarian endeavors of St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group, the only provider of expert eye care in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, treating patients regardless of ethnicity, religion or ability to pay. In the U.S., the group also assists disabled and disadvantaged veterans through the St. John Volunteer Corps.

In May 2023, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Nashotah House Theological Seminary for his contributions and service to the mission the Christian Gospel, the Episcopal Church and the nation. In 2019, he was named Birmingham-Southern College’s “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.” In 2012, he was awarded the Dean’s Cross from Virginia Theological Seminary, and in 2011, he received “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year” from Beeson Divinity School.

Dr. Levenson is an accomplished author and is working on a new volume, “In God’s Grip: What Golf Can Teach Us About the Gospel,” (Insight Press) which is expected in bookstores late in 2023. He is a contributor to, “Character Matters: And Other Life Lessons from George H.W. Bush” by Jean Becker, due out in January 2024. Becker, former Chief of Staff to President George H.W. Bush and New York Times bestselling author of “The Man I Knew,” shares touching and pivotal life lessons from a leader that left a mark on people’s hearts and souls.

His book, “Witness to Dignity: The Life and Faith of George H.W. and Barbara Bush,” (2022) by Hachette Publishing Nashville, Tenn. is sold by Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Amazon and other places where fine books are sold. Dr. Levenson has also written dozens of articles for various religious and theological journals and contributed to “Prophetic Preaching,” Church Publishing, 2020. He wrote the foreword 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 2018, Dr. Levenson officiated and preached at the funeral at St. Martin’s for the late First Lady of the United States, Barbara Pierce Bush. Later, in 2018, he co-officiated and preached at the State Funeral for our 41st President, The Honorable George H.W. Bush, at both Washington National Cathedral and the Houston-based memorial service held at St. Martin’s. President and Mrs. Bush were active members at St. Martin’s for more than 50 years and served in many roles of leadership and ministry.

He is a frequent guest on many network news programs, providing Christian insight and commentary on various issues facing America with perspectives gained, in part, from serving as friend and pastor to the Bush family. He is often an op-ed contributor for the Anglican Digest, The Living Church and FOX.COM and others. Dr. Levenson also often serves other churches as a guest preacher and teacher.

Pray for Peace” by the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.

Prayers in a Time of War” by the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.