About Rev. Anne Russ

Hi, I’m Anne.

I believe that, when it comes to the journey of faith, the struggle is real, but it’s a journey worth the struggle. I also believe that a faith that struggles with questions is always stronger than a faith that never asks any.

I have been a progressive, inclusive Christian since before there were words to describe me as such. I have no dramatic conversion story to tell. No tale of being burned by the church or leaving and finding my way back. I have always felt like I belonged in church, and because of that, it hurts my heart beyond belief that so many people cannot say the same. If any church has ever made you feel like you were not okay or not enough, they are wrong…because you are fabulous and plenty.  My call in life is to encourage people along their faith journey, find ways to create community and make sure all people know that they are deeply loved by the God who created them.

I started Doubting Believer to harness the power of the inter webs to aid in that calling.

I graduated from Andover Newton Theological School in Boston (which has recently been imbedded at Yale in New Haven). I’ve been an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church USA for almost 20 years and have done a lot of small church pastoring, worship directing, keynote speaking, music leading and workshop offering. I’ve also become pretty handy with a plunger and well-versed in the many uses of duct tape.  I have served on the board of Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center and have spent a week chaplaining there every summer for many years. I love me some camp.

My mom (Nancy) and I are authors of two books, Was the Funeral Fun? and What’s More Fun than a Funeral?  I actually do a really good funeral. It’s one of my best ministry events. 

There is an award given in my name to the graduate of the Donaghey Scholars Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who “most reminds us that this is supposed to be fun.” Although, I hear they’ve sanitized the wording a bit, and morphed it into the most “enthusiastic” student….which I definitely was not. I need to follow up on that.

I believe strongly in the opening words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism; that our goal in life is to glorify God and enjoy God forever.

I have a husband who has put up with me for more than 20 years, and we have a daughter who is a junior musical theater major at Syracuse. 

I hope you find Doubting Believer to be a place where you can engage and connect with God and with a community of believers.  We all need community. No one makes it out of this life alive, and no one can get through it alone.

6 thoughts on “About Rev. Anne Russ”

  1. Hi Anne, thank you. This is a beautiful story. I would really love to join “doubting believers”. I just do not know how to do this. It now feels very confusing. I signed up on the website and then was told that the web site is going away. Please help me out here. I’ve been to so many churches where I felt ignored and in the way; some of the pastors even frowned at me when I asked questions. I felt like, “You don’t fit in with our social club here.” I’m so tired of that. That does not seem like Jesus. Please let me know how I can join the new doubting believers community. I am actually not a doubting believer. I am just very tired of churches that seem more like exclusive country clubs with nothing to do whatever with teaching us how much Jesus loves us all. Thank you.

    1. Bobbie,

      Thanks for your interest and your kind words. I’m so sorry that you have felt ignored and dismissed in churches. You are exactly who Doubting Believer is for. Apologies for the confusion. I recently removed that old link. We don’t currently have a way to formerly “join” Doubting Believer (but hope to before the end of the year). You can follow this website, follow FB page and join our mailing list. We also will be launching some new online classes in March.

      Blessings on your continued journey with Jesus, and I hope you’ll find some tools and people here that encourage you along the way.

  2. Great to come across your site Anne. I live in Australia and have found it a challenge to find a progressive Christian community close to my home. To some extent I too have grown up and loved the church. However the very rigid black and white application of Christian faith that emerged out of ancient rigid Judaic traditions and personalities such as the Apostle Paul always left me hankering for the love of Jesus that I had come to understand. This love was an all encompassing love exhorting us to be the first to throw the stone at anyone accused if we knew we were blameless. I didn’t hear this message applied in any meaningful manner in the traditional churches. As long as a congregation member was ‘one of us’ then it was ok to throw stones at the others who were not one of us. Those others were like the ‘unclean’ Samaritan woman at the well. To be shunned and avoided at all cost. So traditional church increasingly left me feeling that the messages were often intended to reinforce a perpetuating sense of we are (despite our sins) holier than thou. Progressive Christianity on the other hand calls for a less than certain sense that one is 100% on the right track but that one’s own God given reasoning, conscience and humanity along with prayer and reading beyond just the bible will act at times as an uncertain guide. So for me, my relationship with God involves a constant thankfulness for all aspects of my life, a longing for a world where there is mutual acceptance and understanding underpinned by a love that only God can provide to us to pass on. From my perspective this relationship also involves an imperfect trust on my part (because although I may know that God loves me I do not love back with that same perfection) that God will lead me in the right direction. Thank you for your site and your work in God’s name.

  3. I found you on TikTok and immediately fell in love with the beauty of Christ that oozes through all of your messages. I’m just now venturing o we to your website. I thank God for you and the work you are doing to be the light in this world.

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