Reverend Dr. Russell M. Porter, Sr.
SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2020, 11:00 AM
SERVICE ARRANGED BY PIPKIN BRASWELL FUNERALS AND CREMATION
A Portrait of Love
Celebrating the Life and Legacy of
Reverend Dr. Russell M. Porter Sr.
For You did not choose me, but I chose you and ordained you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain. John 15:16
“Portrait of Love, The Early Years”
Russell Marquette Porter was born in Enid Oklahoma on July 26, 1946 to Pastor P.H. Porter Sr. and Missionary Thelma E. Nuckols-Porter. He was the seventh child, surrounded by 3 brothers and 6 sisters in a household of prayer and faith. The Porters built a strong philosophy, the central purpose of dependency on the Word of God and His anointed plan into the lives of their 10 children.
A key element of Russ’s Character was developed has he spent a great deal of time learning and memorizing poems with his siblings. Such as:
“Once the trap was bated with a piece of cheese, it tickled the little mouse so that it almost made him sneeze”
“Come little leaves said the wind one day, come into the meadows with me and play – put on your garments of red and gold for the winter has come and the days grow cold”
These are snippets of poems that delighted the Porter’s house in that small town called Enid. Russ adopted Dad and Mom Porter’s strong philosophy, and it became the central theme for his life.
Russ received the majority of his early formal education in the Enid Public School System, attending Carver Elementary, Emerson Junior High, and Enid High. He later moved to Denver, Colorado and completed his secondary education at East High School.
Russ was a budding track and field star and represented his school in the 50-, 100-, and 200-yard dash events. As he grew, he continued to represent his Junior High School as a sprinter. He expanded his athletic career into football performing as a running back and corner back. This fueled Russ’s long-term dream to attend Arizona State College and participate in the 1968 Summer Olympics; however, he suffered a severe injury that hampered his sprinting abilities and curtailed these long-range goals.
A Portrait of Love theme manifested in his early years. During elementary school, Russ’s Portrait of Love theme was expressed by an experience he witnessed. He supported a classmate that was being bullied and mistreated. This classmate was blind in one eye and the kids teased her because of her appearance and disability. The cruel children sang a mantra: “Crump, Crump, eat off the dump,” They declared if you walked on the green stripe on the school hall floor that meant you liked her. Russ was not one to follow the crowd. In fact, he camped on the green stripes, identifying with the disabled classmate. This changed her life, and Russ began his journey defending those with their backs up against the proverbial wall. He continued this journey throughout his life.
As a young man, he exemplified this theme by coaching and encouraging the young boys in the neighborhood to athletic excellence. His young mentees received training and support as athletes. Russ required his athletes to complete the Dirt Road Course which he had developed. A key part of this program was to successfully run the 3-4-mile course before advancing to the next phase of his program, fostering their self-confidence.
Growing up in a racially segregated community, he and his siblings had to learn at an early age how to survive in that intense and volatile environment. On one occasion, Russ and his Dad were landscaping a yard in northwest Enid when several boys on bicycles taunted and teased them with racial slurs. “Slaves, Slaves, Munger Slaves”, they cried. Russ recalls that his Dad went to his car, with tears running down his face, took the Bible from his car and shook it at the boys who had taunted them. This had a lasting social and spiritual impact on him.
Russ cultivated a good work ethic at an early age. He acquired his desire for building as he participated in the renovation of his dad’s church in Crescent OK, as well as, while working with his father and older brothers at their home and at various employment sites. Over the years, Russ continued to engage in family building projects at their home at 453 East Iowa.
Russ received Jesus Christ as Savior at an early age. He was an outstanding vocalist and enjoyed singing in the church. A preacher’s kid, he sang with his siblings and formed a family gospel singing group called “The Gospel Continentals.” They traveled and ministered from time to time at local church events including the Sunday Evening youth programs (Y.P.W.W) and many Church Of God In Christ meetings in Enid and Perry Oklahoma.
“Portrait of Love in Family and Union”
During the summers of the early 60’s, Russ spent time with his brother Phil and sister in law- Edgar Lee in Denver Colorado. Russ finally moved to Denver in the summer of 1963. He attended school at Denver East and enjoyed competing in various athletics including track and football.
In the summer of 1965, Russ met a young woman named Rosemary Henderson at a revival service. They began dating and God was busy drawing a beautiful canvas as Russ and Rose became acquainted. Their families mingled and discovered common interest and similar goals. In March of 1966, Russ introduced Rosemary to his mother (by phone). She expressed her surprise and closed the conversation with a prayer. Those were the last words she spoke to Russ and later that month, she went home to be with the Lord. Four months later, on July 25, 1966 Russ and Rose were united in Holy Matrimony.
Russ and Rose were blessed with four wonderful children: Russell Marquette Jr., Rochelle Marie, Rhonda Maléne and Reginald Marcus. They are all uniquely gifted children and express their talent as musicians, athletes, and entertainers.
Russ and Rose reared their family in the Whittier and Park Hill neighborhoods of Denver’s urban communities.
Father Russ encouraged his children to participate in competitive sports such as track and field and football. Russ was actively involved in teaching his children how to play the piano and organ. Because he enjoyed music and singing the family actively participated in ministry and stressing the importance of worshiping God this teaching was embedded into his children’s lives. He earnestly bestowed many musical talents and gifts to his children.
Russ spent mornings teaching the children the importance of reading the Word of God. Planting the seed of ministry in his children he emphasized the importance of using their gifts and talents to serve others.
Russ also encouraged his family to serve the community through service, compassion and music using various instruments such as the piano, organ, drums, and tambourine. They learned how to praise God freely in the basement of their homes and that love was shed abroad to the church and community.
Russ became a grandfather in 1988 and enjoyed adding to his family. He loved being a grandfather while participating in raising his grandchildren. His grandchildren enjoyed calling him “Poppi” and spent time with him going to the movies, shopping, laughing, reading, and hanging out in the “Ghetto Porch”. He spent countless hours teaching his grandchildren how to pray, worship and fight for the justice of others. Today his children and grandchildren display his legacy heavily in their daily occupations, hobbies and life missions.
Russ leaves a Portrait of Love through the lives of his Children.
“Portraits of Love in Action”
“A Call to Ministry”
While raising a family and actively ministering, Pastor Porter received a BA Degree in Public Administration and Law at Regis/Loretta Heights College. Additionally, he received Ministerial Training through Denver Seminary, Union School of Theology at University of Colorado. He holds an honorary Doctorate from the University of the Rockies.
Pastor Porter received his call to the gospel ministry in 1967 and served as an Assistant Pastor to his brother, Bishop Phillip H. Porter at All Nations COGIC. Thereafter, he began Christian Corps Ministries and was called to ministry at the University of Northern Colorado in 1977. Christian Corps International grew and was designated as a national demonstration project for Church and Community collaboration. Testifying before the sub-committee on housing and community development of the US House of Representatives and the Thrift Oversight Committee for the US Treasury Department, Pastor Porter provided invaluable insights into how a small urban church working with partners could transform our nation’s communities.
Professionally, Russ was employed by the Colorado Judicial and Criminal Justice System as a Probation and Parole officer for approximately twenty years. He witnessed the failure of numerous programs built on the philosophy that “those in power know what is best for those who are powerless.” So, together with church and community, Dr. Porter envisioned, planned, and initiated a people- sensitive approach to community ministry – Christian Corps International, Inc.
Christian Corps International, over a twenty year period, infused new hope into failing communities by initiating programs to aid the poor and working poor through volunteer projects, partnering with Denver Juvenile Court, Friends in Transition, Adult and Youth Volunteer Programs for both the State Judicial and Colorado Corrections Department. The “Unity Day” and “Sounds of the City” Celebrations were initiated to bring a spirit of unity and an awareness of service to the community.
In 1982, Pastor launched His Congregation “Here’s Love Christian Fellowship” and served the Park Hill community in Northeast Denver. The Church spearheaded several Youth and Community Outreach Programs in the Northeast Park Hill community.
In addition, he assisted Denver Seminary in launching a scholarship program for urban pastors while serving as adjunct professor of Urban Studies. Further, Pastor Porter wrote and developed the Metro area Transitional Housing Program to serve the Colorado homeless population, which is currently being administered under the Direction of The Road Home Project.
Turning his attention toward the Northwest Aurora Community, Pastor Russ utilized Christian Corps to build a Child Development Center, which provided affordable and quality childcare, developed track and field, basketball and youth clubs, affordable housing , employment service programs, youth leadership programs, an urban leadership institute and a business incubator.
Over the years, He served the church and broader community in many capacities. For several years he served as a columnist for the Denver Urban Spectrum writing monthly articles “In the Pulpit”.
He was also a Psalmist and prolific song writer. Pastor published several songs that include: “A Portrait of Love,” “Here’s Love,” ” God is Love,” and “ Jehovah God”. He served as the weekly host for his radio broadcasts, “Christians in Action” and “Love In Action.” He was also privileged to serve on the executive committee and Co-Prayer Chairman for the 1987 Billy Graham Crusade. Dr. Porter served on the World Mission Task Force, Amsterdam Steering Committee, and as a Chaplain for the Denver Broncos Football Team.
Throughout Russ’ life his goal was building people, discipling, and helping others realize their own God given gifts and abilities to expand Kingdom Work.
In 2013 Pastor Russ’ health began to decline. As a result, his focus on Community Ministry involvement was realigned to the “Organic Church” ministry model. Dr. Russ believed that “Building People and Dreams” should be expanded by the changing of the ministry strategy. Therefore, he launched the Village “Organic Church.” He believed many people aren’t being reached with traditional Church gatherings. He began to promote in-home Church gathering that meet people where they are. Pastor implemented effective strategies that might possibly reach the unchurched and spread the Gospel. Thus, he began launching the Organic In-Home Church concept in Homes of his parishioners that continues to this day
“A Better Place”
A Portrait of Love Realized
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s House are many mansions: If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that were I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Reverend Dr. Russ Porter Sr. departed this life to the embrace of the Lord on May 19, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. He is preceded in death by his wife First Lady Rosemary Porter, Father Reverend Phillip H. Porter Sr, Mother Thelma E. Porter, brother Bishop Thomas Porter, sister Missionary Geraldine Meeks, nephew Rev. Dewayne Porter, brother Walter Lunsford.
Those left to cherish his memory and mourn his loss includes his children; Russell (Shantell) Porter Jr., Rochelle Porter, Rhonda(Darnell) Hubbart, Reginald Porter, brothers; Phillip (Edgar Lee) Porter and Michael (Sharon) Porter, and sisters; Shirley Morris ; Sandra Blake-Toles, Vera Porter, Nettie Watkins, Lois (Jeff) Tunstall, 9 grandchildren; Tyre Mckay, Britnay (Aaron) Talley, Joshua Carter, Reginald Porter Jr, Bianca (Joe) Hill, Jecole Hopkins, Lanice Hopkins, Ashanae (Davion) Oliver, 3 god children; 14 great grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephew, cousins and other relatives and friends; and the Here’s Love / & Christian Corps International Inc. Church Family
1 Thessalonians 5:28
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, concerning you.
From Dr. Russ Porter-
These past 73 years have not been all peaches and cream, there have been snapshots of many tears as well as laughter; snapshots of discouragement as well as encouragement; snapshots of pain and healing; snapshots of great faith and times of little faith and I could go on-
So Here I am with so many Portraits of love. Beautiful Portraits of Family, Ministry, Friends and Community. One of my favorite accomplishments was ministering and partnering In Ministry to so many wonderful people and Saints from Here’s Love Christian Fellowship & Christian Corps Ministries. I would like to extend a sincere Thank You to all friends and family that have supported me. “Portraits of Love that’s all we are, Portraits of Love that’s who we are. Creations conceived & painted by the artist above, God made of us for all the world to see, portraits of love divine”
– Russ Porter
Reverend Dr. Russell M. Porter, Sr.
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