Dr. Russell McClanahan

Archbishop Russell T. McClanahan Headshot

The Most Reverend Doctor Russell T. McClanahan

Evangelical Episcopal University and Seminary was formed under the leadership of Archbishop McClanahan in 1996 to equip and educate persons who were called into the ministry of Christ Church.

Archibishop McClanahan’s Testimony

Seal of Russell McClanahan

Archbishop Russell McClanahan grew up in a small town in eastern Kentucky nestled at the base of the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. His earliest Christian formation was in his home church, The Irvine United Methodist Church. It was here that he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and was called by God into the ministry. In 1965 at the age of 18, he began his ministry in a very small rural Methodist Church at Paint Lick, Kentucky.  For the next 12 years he pastored various churches in the United Methodist Church.  These churches ranged from rural congregations in Kentucky and Illinois to  inner city churches and a large suburban church in central Florida where he served as the associate pastor.

He  received his B. A. from Kentucky Wesleyan College and his Master of Divinity from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.  He attended Lexington Theological Seminary for most of his doctoral studies and graduated with a Doctor of Ministry from Central Christian University.

In 1966 he was Baptized in the Holy Spirit and became deeply involved in the Charismatic Renewal.  In 1976 he left the United Methodist Church and began planting churches in the USA and ministering in the West Indies. To support the developing ministry he also served as Family Counselor for Federal Express Employee Assistance Program, Out Client Program Director for Pinellas Comprehensive Addictive Services and did private counseling.

On Oct 3, 1995, Dr. McClanahan was consecrated in the Evangelical Episcopal Church after being unanimously elected by the founding leadership to be its first Bishop in historic Apostolic Succession.  And so it was, that in October of 1995, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, approximately 300 people gathered, representing a wide variety of denominational backgrounds and 13 independent congregations who had come into relationship with the newly formed Evangelical Episcopal Church.  Bishop Michael Owen, and two other bishops in apostolic succession from Orthodox and Old Catholic jurisdictions passed on the historic apostolic succession.  At the same service there were 25 pastors and 7 deacons ordained for the Evangelical Episcopal Church.

Dr. McClanahan’s vision for the newly formed Evangelical Episcopal Church was to seek to heal the divisions within the body of Christ by converging the historic sacramental, evangelical and charismatic elements of worship within the church.  He believed that by encompassing both protestant and catholic traditions, as well as embracing a multiplicity of expressions of worship and practice, unity in Christ could exist between those of differing Christian traditions and worship styles, thus presenting an harmonious, attractive witness to the world. He has often been quoted as saying ” As Christians we all work for the same Boss”.  Dr. McClanahan deeply believes that God has revealed aspects of Himself through each of the branches of Orthodox Christian expressions within the Body of Christ. The evangelical expression of the Church has a strong emphasis on the written “word” which reveals “The Word”. The charismatic expression of the Church has a great emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit revealing anew the work of ” The Holy Spirit”. The sacramental expression of the church has a emphasis on the authority within the Church related to the “Fatherhood of God”. Thus contained within these various branches is an ongoing revelation of the Tri-unity of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Archbishop McClanahan is the presiding bishop/patriarch of the Evangelical Episcopal Communion.