The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri is welcoming a new face into its leadership.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rev. Deon K. Johnson is a married, gay, immigrant, black man with two children. And, he has just been elected as the diocese’s next bishop. Johnson gained 113 votes out of the total 164 cast by clergy members and lay delegates. Johnson thus won by a landslide over two other candidates for bishop. This makes Johnson the replacement for Bishop George Wayne Smith, who has led the diocese since 2002 and is retiring this coming spring.
Johnson, who is rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton (near Detroit), celebrated the win with his husband Jhovanny Osorio, originally from Mexico. In response to the win, Johnson shared that he is humbled by the election.
“Thank you so very much for this awesome responsibility,” said Johnson, of Brighton, Michigan, after he regained his composure. “We are so looking forward to continuing this adventure that God has called us to with you and the amazing people that make up the diocese.”
Johnson, who moved from Barbados to New York when he was 14, has always been a religious man. He studied theology from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church and went on to serve in several religious institutions.
“This vibrant, multicultural and multiethnic community ignited my passion for social justice and inclusion for those on the margins of the church and society,” Johnson said. “Their steadfast reaching out to the community, giving voice to community needs and incorporating different cultures into worship, was an important part of my formation for the priest that I am today.”
Now, according to the Associated Press, Johnson will soon be in charge of 11,500 active members within the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. All of whom live in the eastern half of the state. Johnson has a big job ahead of him.