our transitional pastor

Lee Lever


Lee Lever began as our three-quarter time interim/transitional pastor in May 2022. In addition to regular pastoral duties shared with Associate Pastor LaTayna, Lee will be helping Houston Mennonite Church clarify identity and vision, and search for a long-term lead pastor.  

Lee brings a wealth of experience in pastoral ministry and organizational savvy to his role at HMC. He has been a pastor, hospital chaplain, area conference minister, consultant, and denominational minister. Most recently he was pastor of the Austin Mennonite Church. Lee enjoys learning the story of a congregation and helping them find their values and passions as they follow the way of Jesus in ministry and mission. 

In addition to a Master of Divinity from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Lee has a Doctor of Ministry in Congregational Development from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (Episcopal). His undergraduate degree is from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in English. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam with a logistical unit, an experience that led him to the Mennonite church where he embraced the nonviolent way of Jesus. 

Lee’s wife, Terri, died of cancer at the beginning of 2018. They have three adult children, a daughter in law, and an adorable granddaughter born in 2021. Two of the children live in Austin, one in Troy, New York.  


You can reach Pastor Lee at leel@houstonmennonite.org.


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our associate pastor

LaTayna Purnell

LaTayna Purnell began as our half-time pastoral intern in June 2020.  LaTayna is no stranger to church ministry and brings remarkable experience at an important time in the life of our church. She’s been a core ministry leader preaching, working with the Care Team throughout the pandemic, and leading us in becoming a more antiracist church.


To go along with her Masters and PhD’s in Education, LaTayna is currently a student at United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities, where she’s pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. 


LaTayna has a long successful history of ministry in churches: including as Youth and Young adult minister in two Congregational churches, as co-pastor in another, and in volunteer leadership in others. Throughout her career as an educator she’s worked with kids, high schoolers, and college students as a coach, classroom teacher, adjunct professor, Dean of Students, and most recently the Director of Athletic Operations at The Village School. 

About herself LaTayna says, “My commitment to supporting diversity, racial equality, and social justice is central to my work.”

She and her wife Cindy have two children, Myles and Jonah. 

You can reach LaTayna at lataynap@houstonmennonite.org.  

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