Ordained in the Missouri Conference of The United Methodist Church, The Reverend H. Russell Ewell II currently serves as The Pastor of Terrace Lake United Methodist Church (Kansas City MO). Additionally, he is the Chair Emeritus of The United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities, and serves as a board member of Missouri Faith Voices. As a person with a disability in pre- ADA America, his personal and systems advocacy skills began to develop the day his parents enrolled him in kindergarten. There, ophthalmologists and educators forewarned, “Blind students could not succeed in integrated classrooms.” So “don’t bother dreaming of one day seeing your son graduate from high school with a diploma.”
Proving conventional wisdom wrong, Russell graduated from Normandy Sr. High (St. Louis MO) and earned a B.S. in Sociology from Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville). In 2009 he distinguished himself by becoming the first blind student to graduate from Eden Theological Seminary in its 168-year history. He also has the distinction of being the first blind person to be ordained in The Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Ewell advocates for people to realize their power and apprehend their life goals. He gives talks across the country on Disability Advocacy and Awareness, The Disability Rights Movement, The Intersections of Religion and Disability, and The Intersectionality of Disability and Black Theology. Russell is a tireless advocate for a more liberating and inclusive theology of disability. He is passionate about empowering the disenfranchised and assisting all people in realizing their potential, purpose, and worth in The Church and society. Rev. Ewell is the proud husband of The Reverend Adrienne Denson Ewell.