Missouri Episcopalians Elect First Black Gay Bishop

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Submitted by Take Out on Sun, 06/14/2020 - 14:33

Congradulations are in order as The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri has a new leader and it's a choice that's making history.

Reverend Deon K. Johnson was ordained Saturday as the 11th Episcopal Bishop of Missouri.

He is not only the first black, but also the first openly-gay bishop in the diocese's 179-year history.

“To find ourselves in this moment, the descendant of a slave, to be called to be the Bishop of Missouri – God is good!” Johnson said during his ordination service. “To the people of Missouri, we have a whole new story to tell and a whole new boldness to tell it with. So I look forward to the adventure.”

Bishop Johnson says racial justice will be an important part of his leadership. He participated in several peaceful protests in St. Louis over the last few weeks.

Johnson has served as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton, Michigan, since 2006. He easily won election in the first round of voting, receiving 71 votes from lay delegates and 42 votes from clergy out of 164 total voting delegates. His Michigan congregation reports an average Sunday attendance of approximately 90 persons, which has only had minor fluctuations since 2008.

The bishop-elect, a native of Barbados, is a graduate of the Episcopal Church’s General Theological Seminary and is married to Jhovanny Osorio-Vázquez Johnson. Both are foster parents.

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“Deon’s passion for inclusion, welcome, and worship geekiness has led him to be trained as a Liturgical Consultant, helping communities of faith re-envision their worship and worship spaces to better reflect the beauty, mystery, and all-around awesomeness of following Jesus,” Johnson’s biography reads.

We wish him all the best in his new role!

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