What is This?
The Wholistic Education Consortium,  LLC was created by the Rev. Russell Elleven, Pastoral Counselor, Thanatologist (one who studies grief/death/dying), & Community Minister. The idea is to bring talk about grief and death and dying out into the open, rather than from behind the curtain, and into full view. This is accomplished primarily by personal consulting and public speaking (typically via zoom). I also consult with counselors, therapists, social workers and nurses. 

Why (W)holistic?
I was very influenced by the writings of a Lutheran pastor and scholar, Rev. Granger Westberg. Rev. Westberg was one of the earliest adopters of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Typically held in a hospital setting, CPE students are taught counseling skills on top of their theological education. Westberg, when speaking of the mind-body-spirit connection, would talk about supporting the “whole” person rather than just the “hole” in the person (paraphrasing). It’s in this spirit that the term wholistic is used on this website. Those who grieve intensely have a *hole* somewhere in them but can indeed be made *whole.* Rev. Westberg also wrote the classic text, Good Grief: A Companion for Every Loss.

As a society, we have done a decent job of educating about most aspects of our lived experience. But we have done a poor job of educating society concerning grief and the end of life. We have left an educational hole in our wholeness. The Wholistic Education Consortium, LLC intends to fill some of that hole.

I’m Not Sure About Seeing a Minister
I get it. There are all kinds of people claiming to be “ministers” on the Internet. Additionally, real ministers often have a reputation of being stuffy, judgmental, and dismissive. I’m not that. More than anything else, I have been trained to listen intently and nonjudgmentally and to offer educational suggestions. As a chaplain I will meet you wherever you are and support you. We will talk as much or as little about religion or spirituality as you desire. Don’t hesitate to let me know your concern when we talk. I will hear you.

I am a two-time cancer survivor. The first time I was only 13 years old and felt a pain in my dominant arm (I was left handed). Turned out I had bone cancer and once they figured this out things moved quickly. There was a biopsy then, after confirmation of the cancer, my entire left arm was amputated. That was in 1978. I’m still here but, yes, I do type more slowly than you do. 

At the age of 39 cancer revisited me. This time is was colorectal and to be quite honest, this cancer negatively affected me more than the other. I’ll not go into great detail but the ensuing radiation, surgery, post-operative radiation and chemotherapy continue to play havoc on my body even today. This has made it difficult to work as much as I used to, even the recent past. The Wholistic Education Consortium, LLC is my attempt to stay active by educating and supporting people by providing a sorely needed service. 

I’ve been happily married since 1992 and, by all indications, will continue to be married for the foreseeable future.  We have one cat, Maisy.

It takes courage to get started? Click >>here<<

Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin


  • Doctor of Ministry (DMin) – Meadville Lombard Theological School – Pastoral Care & Counseling
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) – University of North Texas – Education & Counseling
  • Master of Science (MS) – University of North Texas – Training & Development
  • Master of Theological Studies (MTS) – Vanderbilt¬†University Divinity School – World Religions
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) – Texas Christian University (TCU) – History/Religious Studies


  • Fully ordained and fellowshipped minister (UUA)
    • Elected Minister Emeritus
  • Two Units of Clinical Pastoral Education – Harris Methodist Hospital
  • National Certified Counselor (NCC)
    • Primary & Advanced Certificates in REBT – Albert Ellis Institute
  • End of Life Doula Certificate – University of Vermont Medical School
  • Companion Animal End of Life Doula – University of Vermont Medical School
  • Health & Wellness Coach – Mayo Clinic
  • Certificate in Non-Profit Management – University of Illinois @ Chicago


  • Unitarian Universalist Mental Health Network
  • Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association
  • Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministry
  • American Counseling Association
  • Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling
  • Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement


  • Chief Administrative Officer – The Wholistic Education Consortium, LLC – 2019 to present 
  • Executive Director – The Genesis 1:29 Progect – 2016 to 2018
  • Lived in Puerto Rico – 2014 to 2016
  • Minister – Westside Church – 2005 to 2013
  • Assistant Professor – University of North Texas – 2002 to 2008
  • Associate Director for Residence Life – Texas Christian University (TCU) – 1998 to 2002
  • Residence Life Coordinator – University of North Texas – 1995 to 1998 
  • Residence Hall Director – University of North Texas – 1991 to 1995
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