The Rev. Dr. Dave Johnson Inducted as Christ Church Rector

The Rev. Dr. Dave Johnson Inducted as Christ Church Rector
by Michael Black, Communications Committee

Before a congregation of 190 parishioners and guests on October 19, 2014, Bishop of Georgia, the Right Reverend Scott A. Benhase, inducted the Reverend Dr. Dave Johnson as Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta. This milestone event culminates over two years of work by many parties. Johnson, who was ordained at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina in 2002, began his work at Christ Church June 26.

The Book of Common Prayer guided the liturgy for the service. During the installation service, parishioners presented Fr. Johnson with special gifts. Phyllis Holland, on behalf of the Search Committee, a Bible; Bishop Benhase, a vessel of water; Mike Tanner, a stole; Nancy Lutsko, a Book of Common Prayer; Angela Duncan, The Hymnal; Frances Guice, olive oil for healing; Jeff Hanson, on behalf of the Vestry, keys to the church; the Rev. Peter L. Ingeman, former Rector of Christ Church from 2001 to 2012, the Constitution and Canons of the Church; and Anne Singletary, bread and wine. The Reverend Deacon Yvette Owens, Deacon at Christ the King Episcopal Church in Valdosta, assisted in the worship service.

Vestry Members present Fr. Dave Johnson to Bishop Benhase for induction.

Vestry members present Fr. Dave Johnson to Bishop Benhase for induction.

Senior Warden of Christ Church, Jeff Hanson, stated, “The Installation Service was simply awesome and it is one that we will all remember and cherish for a long, long time.” The Christ Church Hospitality Committee hosted a reception immediately following the service which allowed fellowship time with Bishop Benhase and the newly installed rector. Parishioners commented that “Sunday’s installation was a beautiful celebration with a packed and grateful church.” The Rev. Johnson agreed by saying, “My family and I were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we received from Christ Church at my induction.  We are so grateful for all the hugs, applause, high fives, refreshments at the reception—all of it.”

The Christ Church Rector Search Committee began their thoughtful work to seek a candidate to lead Christ Church as its next rector in January 2013. On April 23, 2014, in consultation with the Vestry, the Bishop of Georgia called Johnson as Christ Church’s next rector. Chair of the Search Committee, Phyllis Holland, stated, “The induction of Father Dave was a glorious conclusion to what seemed at times to be a very long search.  It was wonderful to see the tangible evidence of prayers answered and patience as a congregation rewarded. It was a day of rejoicing and thankfulness!” Junior Warden, Frances Guice, echoed a similar sentiment when she said, “I could not be more grateful to the Search Committee and to our church family for the outstanding search process that brought Father Dave to us.  We listened to God, did the hard work and didn’t rush the process.”

Johnson has served in full-time parish ministry in the Episcopal Church since 1992 in parishes in Virginia, Wyoming, and South Carolina. Most recently, from 2007 to 2014, Johnson oversaw general parish ministry including youth ministry as Associate Rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. He completed the Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Master of Sacred Theology from Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. He is also the author of Grace Upon Grace: Collected Sermons (2012) and The Good News of God’s Grace: Collected Sermons (2014). Johnson’s weekly sermons are posted online at http://www.christchurchvaldosta.org/?page_id=7006.

Owens, Johnson, and Benhase

Owens, Johnson, and Benhase after the service.

In addition to the Bishop of Georgia and visiting clergy from throughout the Diocese of Georgia, present for the occasion were the Johnson family including wife, Steph, and children Abi, Emily, and Paul; aunt, Diana Mershon of Medina, Ohio; sister-in-law, Valerie Jones of Greenville, North Carolina; and mother-in-law, Phyllis Joiner of Greenville, North Carolina.

Hanson shared, “It is a true blessing to have Dave† and his family with us at Christ Church.  We appreciate all that he has done in the short time he has been here, and we look forward to a very bright future under his leadership and spiritual guidance.”

The Rev. Johnson concluded, “I remain truly humbled and honored to serve as the rector of Christ Church and look forward to continuing to worship and serve the Lord with you, as well as continuing to reach out with you to others with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Photographs from the installation service are available online.  For more information about the Rev. Dr. Dave Johnson or Christ Church Valdosta including worship times, preschool, and outreach, visit our website www.christchurchvaldosta.org or FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/ChristEpiscopalChurchValdostaGA.