Bishop Alfred Johnson

Meeting the Bishop for the First Time

November 23, 2006, Thanksgiving, was not particularly a good time for me because of my lifestyle. I had started coming to HNN for a meal sometime in October and decided to donate a turkey or two to the program. Well, as lifestyle would have it I didn’t have money to do that, so that Thursday morning I left the house and came down to volunteer my time in lieu of delivering a “tom” the week before.

I approached Louise and let her know that I was there to help in any way I can, and if you know Louise, she said yes. This was the beginning of an amazing personal relationship, and one I hope was beneficial to HNN, as we became co-coordinators of the program. I personally believe in the phrase, “lead, follow or get out of the way”. As the new person, I got out of the way until I could find a way or was called to help. Well the call came, “Is there any one that can make gravy?” and that’s when I jumped in. I started making the turkey gravy and in the process, this distinguished gentleman walks in and asks me, “How are you doing, are you all right? I responded, “Yeah bro I’m good.” A little while later this same gentleman walks in again and asks, “How are you doing, are you all right?” My response was, “I got this my man!” Well after a couple of weeks of volunteering and cooking, which takes me into middle of December, I decided to go upstairs to service.

While I’m sitting there waiting for service to start I turn around and see this same man in robes and my reaction is, “OH! This is the pastor of this church” Still not really understanding. When I actually found out his name and title, Bishop J, I was like “Holy S**t”. I was calling this man, “my man” and “bro”. I didn’t understand Methodist structure at the time, but he was a Bishop! Anyway, after some great conversation with this spiritual being I became a member of a church, on January 7, 2007, after 40 plus years of not being in one, a church that I could call my own.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of stories from parishioners and others about about Bishop Alfred Johnson or Bishop J as we affectionately call him. You are invited to share stories of the first time you met him, or perhaps something that Bishop J did or said that was important, life-changing, or hilarious to you. Whether you express your story in a few sentences, a haiku, or a page (No more than a page, please!), we want to read it! Between now and June 7, we are collecting stories honoring Bishop J’s ministry among us. To submit, please send your story to our Bishop J Story Editor, Selby Ewing.