Meet Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

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Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

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Bishop Peggy A. Johnson is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and is a life-long, “cradle” United Methodist. She served as the episcopal leader of the Philadelphia Area of The United Methodist Church, which included the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference and the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference from 2008-2021 and retired in 2021.

Bishop Johnson believes the main purpose of the church is to work in the margins and bring the Good News of Jesus Christ there first.  She enjoys preaching and teaching about the saving love and grace of Jesus. She strives to be “the bishop to all” and to work for the unity of the church. Her strategy includes collaboration, deep listening and walking alongside pastors and the laity for the upbuilding of the Body of Christ. She teaches that inclusivity and justice is not an option but the very heart of the Gospel. The church must continue to draw the circle wider to include people of all ethnicities, genders, orientations, ages, and abilities within its reach.

Bishop Johnson has a particular passion for ministry with people with disabilities and worked as the Deaf Ministry consultant for the General Board of Global Ministries (2001-2004) and taught courses in disability ministry as an adjunct faculty member at Wesley Theological Seminary (1997-2008). She served as a General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 and was the first elected clergy delegate in 2000. 

During her tenure as a bishop, she was a board member on the Commission on the Status and Role of Women (2008-2012) and on the General Board of Church and Society (2012-2020). She was also eighth Ecumenical Dialogue (2016-2020).  She served as the president of the College of Bishops (2018-2020) and was a member of the Council Life Committee of the Council of Bishops (2008-2020). She continues to give episcopal support for the denomination’s Committee on Disability Ministries, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Committee, and the Native American International Caucus.

Bishop Johnson has a passion for missions and has led volunteer teams to various locations including Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Spirit Lake Ministry (North Dakota), Red Bird Mission (Kentucky), and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.  She also has served as an adult leader of the NEJ Youth Mission of Peace in 2013 (South Africa) and India (2014). Prison ministry has been a life-long area of service for Bishop Johnson.  She has taught regular Bible studies for Deaf inmates in the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup (1994-2008) Camp Hill State Prison (2001-2002), and Graterford/Phoenix State Prison (2011-2020). 

Bishop Johnson authored a United Women in Faith (formerly UMW) “Mission u” study book: The Church and Disabilities in 2014. Prior to that she published Deaf Ministry: Make a Joyful Silence (2006) and is currently one of the authors of the new updated version of our Safe Sanctuary policy manual, Safer Sanctuaries, which will be available in the spring of 2023.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Lebanon Valley College (1975), a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary (1980), and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary (1993). She was ordained a Deacon (transitional) in 1979 and an Elder in 1981 in the Baltimore Washington Conference.

Prior to her election to the episcopacy in 2008, she served as a pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Conference beginning in 1980. Her churches included a 4-point rural circuit in Frederick, Maryland, a suburban Baltimore congregation, a campus ministry at Gallaudet University, and for 20 years she was the pastor of the historic Christ UMC of the Deaf. 

Bishop Johnson and her spouse of 44 years, Rev. Mary Johnson have two adult sons: Peter and Gabriel and they are the happy grandparents of Colton and Jonathan. Bishop Johnson enjoys writing, playing the piano, and engaging in conversation with friends and family.

She loves anything pink and is fond of chocolate, coffee, cats, and long walks.