Bishop Peggy A. Johnson is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and serves as the episcopal leader of the Philadelphia Area of the United Methodist Church, which includes the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference and the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Lebanon Valley College, a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary. Prior to her election to the episcopacy in 2008 she served as a pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Conference since 1980. Her churches included a 4-point rural circuit in Frederick, MD, a suburban Baltimore congregation, a campus ministry at Gallaudet University and for 20 years she was the pastor of the Christ UMC of the Deaf. Bishop Johnson has a particular passion for ministry with people with disabilities. During her tenure as a bishop she has served as a board member on the Commission on the Status and Role of Women and on the General Board of Church and Society. She authored a UMW “Mission U” study book: “The Church and Disabilities” in 2014. She is married to the Rev. Michael C. Johnson, a United Methodist pastor, and they have two adult sons, Peter and Gabriel.
The Church And People With Disabilities: Awareness, Accessibility, and Advocacy (2014) – This short book is written in an easy-to-read format for anyone to understand. Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is the author of this book that discusses the main types of disabilities that we are most likely to encounter in our churches.Bishop Johnson discusses, in general terms, what we as church members can do to prepare our churches—and our hearts– to be accessible for people with disabilities. She calls on us not only to be aware and accessible, but to dare to be advocates for people with disabilities.Bishop Peggy reminds us, “No matter what direction [this committee] decides to go, the ultimate goal should always be empowerment. People with disabilities should be intentionally included in all aspects of the church’s leadership and decision making. They should be participants in the worship and ministry activities and not just spectators. Paternalistic oppression is at work when people with disabilities are ‘taken care of’ and given a ‘special’ seat in the sanctuary but nothing more. Accomplishing full participation includes leadership and socialization and takes additional steps of awareness- building and barrier removal.”
The Bishop’s Blog offers Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson’s thought-provoking reflections on personal and social issues, which she has been sharing with Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware Conference constituents and many other readers since 2008.