Accepting the call—Rev. Torrey O. Johnson, new Priest in Charge at Holy Episcopal Church

REV. TORREY O. JOHNSON (Photo by Brian Cook)

Rev. Torrey O. Johnson new ‘Priest in Charge’ at Holy Episcopal Church

The Rev. Torrey O. Johnson has accepted the call to be the Priest in Charge of the Historic Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Homewood.
A native of Chicago, Rev. Johnson comes to Holy Cross with more than 15 years of ministry work in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). He has a proficient background in community development and multicultural ministry.
A Service of Institution for Rev. Johnson was held on April 22 at the church, 7507 Kelly St.
Reverend Dorsey McConnel, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese and Bishop Kurt Kusserow, Bishop of ELCA Southwestern Pennsylvania presided over the service.
In a statement, Rev. Johnson said: “I am excited about the opportunity to serve as the Priest in Charge for the Historic Holy Cross Episcopal Church. The church has over 144 years of ministry serving the disadvantaged. I believe wholeheartedly in this legacy of service, and I am humbled by the opportunity to be a public theologian and continue this rich tradition of service to the community.”


A 1997 graduate of Morehouse College, Rev. Johnson received a Master of Divinity and a Master of Christian Education from Johnson C. Smith Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. In 2003, he was ordained in the ELCA where he served a dual call as the Senior Pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church in East Point, Georgia, and as the Atlanta University Center Lutheran Campus Pastor, ministering to the students of Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse House School of Medicine, the Interdenominational Theological Center, and Morris Brown College. He holds Board Certification from the Association of Professional Chaplains and also serves as a reserve Military Chaplain for the 911th Air Base Wing.
Reverend Johnson believes strongly in the role of the priest as “public theologian” referred to by former Morehouse College President, Dr. Robert Franklin, in his book entitled, “Another Day’s Journey.”
Reverend Johnson believes his involvement in the political system is essential in shaping social policy and advancing the Gospel. As the former Legislative Assistant for the City of Atlanta Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, Rev. Johnson assisted in the development of the city’s annual legislative package submitted to the Georgia General Assembly. He worked directly with the legal department of the city to draft legislation that directly impacted issues concerning Atlanta.
In 2001, he received the United States Census 2000 Leadership in Partnership Award from the United States Commerce Department for his involvement in developing the City of Atlanta’s strategic marketing and outreach plan, resulting in an accurate count in Georgia, adding two Congressional Seats for the State of Georgia for the first time since 1940.
Through his involvement in faith-based communities, Rev. Johnson has a unique perspective on consensus building. He has exclusively worked as a general political consultant with numerous “progressive” candidates from congressional, state, county, and various local levels of government throughout the United States’ Southeast region. Most notably, he helped design and manage the campaign plan for then-candidate Shirley Franklin’s successful 2001 Atlanta mayoral race, becoming the first African American woman to serve as mayor of a major American city.
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