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Barbadian immigrant makes history as his diocese’s first-ever openly gay Black bishop in 180 years

Lily Wakefield June 17, 2020
Reverend Deon Kevin Johnson, first gay Black bishop in Missouri diocese

Reverend Deon Kevin Johnson with his mother, husband and son. (StChrys/ Twitter)

Reverend Deon Kevin Johnson, an immigrant from Barbados, has become the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri’s first-ever openly gay Black bishop in its 179-year history.

Johnson was ordained and consecrated as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri in a ceremony on Saturday, June 13 at Christ Church Cathedral in St Louis, Missouri.

Accoring to the Episcopal News Service, he said during his ordination: “To find ourselves in this moment, the [descendant] of a slave, to be called to be the bishop of Missouri – God is good!

“To the people of Missouri, we have a whole new story to tell and a whole new boldness to tell it with. So I look forward to the adventure.”

Speaking to the diocese, he said: “We must be about the mission of working for justice and showing God’s love in this time and place.

“We must be about the mission of speaking truth to power and making no peace with oppression.”

Johnson took part in the Black Lives Matter protests in St Louis, and said in a statement after the rally: “Fear would tell us that dignity belongs to some and not to others. As followers of Jesus, we must live and know that perfect love casts out fear.”

The consecration of Deon Johnson as Missouri’s first openly gay Black bishop angered the Westboro Baptist Church.

Unfortunately the viciously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for picketing soldier’s funerals with signs reading “God hates fags”, turned up to reverend Deon Kevin Johnson’s consecration.

They carried signs reading “your pastors are liars” and “fags doom nations”. On Twitter, the group described Johnson as “what God plainly calls unholy”.

It added: “A man (Deon Kevin Johnson) married to a man, calling himself a bishop.

“1 Tim 3 says a bishop must be ‘the husband of one WIFE’. God is not mocked.

“Lying preachers are to blame for coming destruction.”

In a press release, Westboro Baptist Church added: “The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri continues a trajectory straight to hell… Mr Johnson does not have a wife, but rather a ‘husband’.

“Perhaps Mr Johnson is a novice, or at least he seems to have already fallen into the condemnation of the devil.

“Did Mr Johnson miss this clearly stated standard about the office of a bishop? Or perhaps he never read the Bible standard about homosexuality? C’mon, guys, this is Bible 101.”

More: bishop, black lives matter, Deon Kevin Johnson, Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, Gay, westboro baptist church

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