As a youth, Maurice Russell moved a lot, because his dad, a Nazarene Church pastor, would move from one ministry to the next based on his calling.
However, Russell was able to settle down for a few of his most formative years in a community he knows a lot about and holds dear to this day.
From the time he was in third grade through his freshman year of high school, Russell called a house in Redwood Falls his home.
After living life elsewhere, Russell has returned to the area in a similar role to that which his father served.
Russell is the new pastor at Echo Alliance Church, a role he began Jan. 9.
Russell, who admitted when he graduated from Wayzata High School his plan did not include being in the ministry.
In fact, he admitted there might be a few people in Redwood Falls who would be a bit surprised by that fact.
After graduating from high school in 1966, Russell opted to join the Navy.
“I did not know what I wanted to do when I graduated, and Vietnam was going on,” he said. “So I spent four years in the Navy.”
During his stint in the military Russell married Dorene, a Brainerd native he met at a Bible quiz meet during their growing up years. The couple called California home, for a period of time and spent a year in Japan before returning to Minnesota.
There Russell became an electronics technician working a variety of jobs, including serving as an audio/visual technician for a school.
He was working a factory job when he began feeling the call to follow in his dad’s footsteps in the Christian ministry.
Before heading back to school, Russell talked with some people he respected to get advice about the path he was looking to follow, and he said he received some great wisdom from his dad.
“He told me to love people and not to quit school until I was done,” said Russell.
He earned his degree from St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College) and then continued working at the factory where he had continued to be employed as he completed his coursework.
“It took me five years to get done,” Russell said, “but I worked all the way through and fit classes in as we could afford it.”
Russell was ordained the April before graduating and soon after was called to serve two small, rural churches in Iowa.
He has spent the past nine years serving as an associate minister at the Nowthen Alliance church.
Russell said he has loved his ministry experiences, believing in each situation he would never leave.
Page 2 of 2 - God has had different plans, and it is that call which led him to his new role in Echo.
Russell said he has followed his father’s advice, as he really enjoys meeting people, and as the pastor in Echo he likes preaching every Sunday.
“I love to visit with people,” he said, adding that is something he and Dorene really love doing together. “We really feel it is the hand of the Lord that led us here.”
Russell is looking forward to the opportunities God provides him to meet new people and to serve not only the Echo church but the community.
Another bonus is being halfway between his children, including a son who lives in Sioux Falls and a daughter in Princeton.
Russell does not ever recall visiting Echo during his growing up years, but said he has really liked what he has already experienced in the small, rural community.