Pastors' Memoirs

William E. Russell, Sr., 1915-1987

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William E. Russell, Sr. was born to the late Sydney and Anna Russell, August 1, 1915 in Norfolk, Virginia. As a child he was confirmed early as knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, and he loved to do whatever he was able to do and would do these things well. The church was his heart and he committed himself to be actively involved.

Mr. Russell served in the United States Marines for four years of his young adult life. Upon his release from serving his country, he worked for the United States Post Office for more than 32 years before his retirement. After retiring from one vocation he entered another. Being led by the Holy Spirit, Mr. Russell entered the Christian ministry offered through the United Methodist Church.

Mr. Russell pastored for a few years at St. Paul and John Wesley United Methodist churches in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He loved the ministry and the people whom God had entrusted into his care.

While pastoring, he also served on various boards and agencies of the Virginia Annual Conference believing that this aspect of service was an extension of his ministry.

Brother Russell had strength from Almighty God to make a late life decision to enter the Christian ministry. However, for him to make it to that point he was supported by his wife, Alease, and his children, William, Anthony, Denise, Dineen, and his devoted sister, Nellie Saunders. The family relationship was a credit to the cementing power and ability of God's love to unite the family.

Mr. Russell was one who loved to sing, preach, pray and teach Sunday school. His greatest joy in life was to preach and tell others about the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.

Mr. Russell died July 31, 1987. Even though his lips are still and his voice cannot speak, and even though his body cannot move, we give God thanks for allowing the Rev. Russell to preach until heaven came down and earth rose up to meet each other in peace, love, joy and ecstasy.

Shalom, our friend, husband and pastor, the Rev. William E. Russell, Jr.

 -Clyde Nelson





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