Dear Holy Covenant,
The Staff Parish Relations Committee at Holy Covenant is pleased to announce that the Bishop and Cabinet of the Northern Illinois Conference have appointed the Rev. Matthew Johnson to serve as our new pastor starting July 1, 2011. SPRC and Lay Leaders had a chance to meet with Pastor Matthew and his wife Emily this past Saturday and we were all impressed with his approach to preaching, mission work, and commitment to social justice. We look forward to the congregation welcoming our new pastor and his family in July. Please join us on Sunday at 12:30 to learn more about our pastoral transition process. To learn more about our new pastor read his information below and check out his blog, www.unfilteredwesleyan.com.
Rev. Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson is an ordained elder and is currently under appointment at The United Methodist Church of Geneva where he has served as associate pastor since 2007. While at UMCG, he has been a lead researcher in an experiment to see if a traditional congregation can live with and love a community of non-traditional Christians. He was responsible for the launching literature, film and pub groups as expressions of this experiment. He has also taken the responsibility of being a voice for the voiceless and an advocate for the marginalized in the Fox Valley. This has led to advocacy for the homeless, underemployed and shadow populations which has grown into lay-led programs like meal ministries and a coalition for transportation equity.
In 2003, Johnson left his publishing job to enroll at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He was the pastor of two rural congregations northeast of Rockford while at UDTS. And, while ordained ministry may technically be his second career, it has always been his first calling. From his initial interest in political action to his work as a community journalist and a not-for-profit leader, Johnson has always sought to point to the greater truth, build meaningful relationships and advocate for justice.
He believes that the canon of Christian faith rings true in all of creation and is just as likely to point to evidence of God’s grace in literature, art, film, television and social networking as he is scripture. For him, liturgy isn’t a script for worship but rather the holy interaction we all share in being God’s children. He’s a storyteller preacher, but thinks the best proclamation is persistent living and relationship.
Johnson is excited to become the leader of a congregation that has such a great history of advocacy for those who the church and world has traditionally disenfranchised, specifically the LGBT community. “I am overjoyed and humbled to practice ministry in a place where there are no limits on grace, and be a part of a community that practices openness and welcome to all people in the way I believe Jesus does,” he said.
Johnson will celebrate 12 years of marriage to his wife, Emily, this June. Together, they have a precocious four-year-old daughter, Liberty. For fun, he enjoys all things bicycle and tweaking the controls on circuit-bent instruments while pretending he’s Trent Reznor.