Bishop Deon Kevin Johnson was elected on November 23, 2019 as the eleventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. He was born in Saint Philip Parish in Barbados. He spent his Sundays with family in church. His family instilled a strong sense of cultural heritage and pride which he still cherishes to this day. He has remained close to his family, and attends family reunions every two to three years. Deon’s love of religion stems from his grandmother who was engaged in theology.
Deon and his brother decided to move to the United States when Deon was 14 years old. They moved in with their father in New York City until their mother came to the United States two years after their arrival. Upon arriving in the U.S., he had to adjust to the different cultures that he was introduced to. He quickly rose to the top of his class and was enrolled in AP and honor courses in high school. He credits his education in Barbados for his academic achievements in the U.S.
After graduating from high school, he studied at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History in 2000, in only three years. He also graduated with a Master of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary in New York in 2003. He came out close to the end of his program and had a very affirming community during this process. He was ordained deacon on June 15, 2003, and priest on December 19, 2003. Eighteen months after ordination, he served as Associate Rector at Christ Church in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He served as Rector at St Paul's Church in Brighton, Michigan for fourteen years. From 2012, he also later served as a consultant at the Office of Black Ministries.
A recent highlight was when he attended a dual rally that took place at St. John’s Church in Washington D.C. and Missouri just days after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the summer of 2020.The church has played a central role in racial injustice movements. The current Diocese has strong roots in social activism, which is a good match for Deon since he is passionate about social activism and doing work for racial injustice.
Deon has been with his partner for over ten years, and they have been happily married since 2018. They have two kids, a twelve year old and a ten year old and one godson who is nine years old. He loves spending time with his family and enjoys the fact that his mother is currently living with him and his family.
Deon’s dream for the church is that the church is where there are no outcasts. He wants people to know that they can gather and not feel uncomfortable. The church is a place that reflects God’s vision of the world, but he also realizes that the church often gets it wrong. He offers an apology to his LGBTQ siblings on behalf of the church. He wants to get it right and actively works toward bringing people to Christ on a daily basis.
(This biographical statement written by Vanesa Evers from an interview with Deon Johnson and edited by Johnson.)
Biography Date: November 2021
Episcopal Church | Clergy Activist | Black | Racism | St. Louis | Missouri
“Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed January 18, 2022, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/deon-johnson.