Profile: The Rev. Edwin Johnson
Chair, Presiding Officers’ Advisory Group on Becoming Beloved Community Implementation
Rector, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Dorchester, Massachusetts
Tell us about yourself: Where did you grow up? What inspired your call? Why The Episcopal Church?
I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents who found the Episcopal/Anglican Church before coming to the United States from Montserrat and Costa Rica. I'm proud to call myself a cradle Episcopalian, not because it makes me better or more Episcopal than anyone else, but because people often assume I'm not—all this flavor is homegrown! I first experienced my call witnessing a baptism when I was 5 years old; I was taken by the cloud of witnesses and felt drawn to be a baptizer and sharer of the faith. Throughout my formative years, I saw The Episcopal Church engage in issues of equality, access and justice at the parish level and at General Conventions, which sealed the deal, and now you all are stuck with me for life.
What does “Becoming Beloved Community” mean to you?
As supporters of the Jesus Movement, we strive for the Kingdom of God where everyone has what they need, everyone is fully included, and joy abounds. Becoming Beloved Community is embracing justice, inclusion and joy, and addressing those sins that stand in the way. There must be a reckoning, there must be reconciliation, and then we must co-create a new reality together.
What aspects of The Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community work are you most proud of?
I'm deeply grateful for and proud of those who have championed the work of dismantling racism for many decades. Many of my mentors from the Union of Black Episcopalians and others have kept this work at the forefront with little to no compensation and at great personal sacrifice. I am also deeply grateful and proud of all throughout the Church who are, with the Spirit's help, making this work possible in their diverse contexts. Because of all the love and commitment I have seen across the Church, I believe in the power of our Episcopal community to meet the challenges of combating racism.
To learn more about The Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community work, visit: https://episcopalchurch.org/beloved-community