The Rev. Stephanie M. Johnson
Greetings people of the Diocese of New York,
I am delighted to be exploring where God is calling the diocese in the years ahead and honored to be a nominee for bishop coadjutor. As I read the search profile, I was excited about the ways the diocese has already begun to imagine its future.
I have always considered New York to be my home. I grew up in Washingtonville and attended Fordham University, a mix of rural living and city life. My husband, Gordon, and I decided to raise our children in the Hudson River Valley where we worshipped at St. Peter’s Church in Peekskill for a dozen years. During many of these years I worked for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection in Westchester County as an environmental educator, community liaison and planner. Together with government officials and community groups, we sought to protect the fragile yet abundant water supply. Only years later would I begin to reflect that this job was preparing me to talk about the Living Water of Jesus, that sustains and nourishes our souls with unlimited abundance.
Following my ordination, I began an eco-ministry for the Province of New England supporting seven dioceses and hundreds of congregations, while also serving part-time at a congregation in Connecticut. Throughout New England, I met with church leaders in big and small congregations who were acting for God’s good creation. I was blessed to attend numerous diocesan conventions both as a speaker and an educator about care of creation. During these years, it became apparent to me that God is doing amazing things in the church – new creative, Christ-centered ministries in faithful communities and the building of new relationships.
As rector of St. Paul’s Church and Day School, I continue to delight in the new, creative ministries our congregation has developed, even in the midst of the pandemic. As Chair/Co-chair of the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Care of Creation and Environmental Racism for seven years, I have seen how God’s church is faithfully responding to issues of ecological-justice and confronting of environmental racism.
While there are many deeply pressing concerns facing the church, I believe that God is showing us a new way forth. Through the movement of the Spirit we are being drawn into a new, faithful direction, steeped in relationships of love and centered on Jesus.
Since I was a young child I have always believed that God is present with every one of us, that we are held tightly in the sorrows and pushed forward to serve in the present Kingdom by our loving God. As each of us are created in the image of God, I rejoice in connecting with others, seeing in their eyes the light of Jesus. It is in personal relationships with each other and God that we can celebrate our humanity and grow together in God’s love.
As for love, I’d like to introduce you to my family. Gordon and I met as teenagers at a bagpipe camp (of all places!) when Gordon became the love of my life. We’ve been married for 32 years. Our adult children, Kyra and Robert, are the joy of our hearts. We also have a lively rescue pit-bull, Tessa. Our lives are deeply blessed by an incredibly close extended family and lifelong friends who celebrate our past, ground us in the present and share our future dreams.
I’ve been praying daily for the diocese. I also invite your prayers for all the nominees who have put themselves forth for this time of discernment.
The Reverend Stephanie M. Johnson