Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-03-09

Episcopal rector Russell J. Levenson, Jr., has been named 2011 Doctor of Ministry Alumnus of the Year by Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School.

Levenson, who earned a D.Min. degree at Beeson in 1997, received the award during a divinity school worship service Tuesday, March 8.

Rector of the 8,400-member  St. Martin’s Church in Houston, Texas, Levenson is the author of many articles and two books, Provoking Thoughts, a collection of Lenten meditations, and Preparing Room, a collection of Advent meditations.

Prior to being called to St. Martin’s, the largest Episcopal congregation in the U.S., in 2007, he was rector of Christ Church Parish in Pensacola, Fla., 2002-2007, and rector of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Lafayette, La., 1997-2002.

At each post, Levenson has been known for fostering membership growth and increased budget, outreach and building programs, and holding diocesan leadership roles.

In honoring Levenson, Beeson director of D.Min. studies and student services Dr. Mark Searby noted that the award recognizes the faithful service and leadership that he has provided  the churches during their changes and growth. 

“He embodies the values of Beeson Divinity School,” Searby said of Levenson. “We are pleased to claim him as one of our own, and we celebrate the ways God has used him to advance the kingdom.”

While enrolled at Beeson, Levenson was associate rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham. He also was head spiritual director for the Cursillo ministry in Alabama.

A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, he holds a master of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.