Dean, Trinity Cathedral, First Rector, St. Stephen Episcopal Church
The Very Reverend Dr. Emmanuel W. Johnson, former dean of Trinity Cathedral, Monrovia and former President of Cuttington University College (now Cuttington University), has died.
This sad event occurred on March 2, at the Dulles Health and Rehab Center in Herndon, Virginia, United States of America.
His family and close friends were at his bedside when he received his eternal summons. He was in his 94th year.
Fr. Johnson served as principal of the St. Thomas Elementary School, Monrovia prior to his departure for the United States in 1956 for further studies.
He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1958 from Langston University and his Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois in 1959.
His internship was completed at Kent School for Boys in Kent, Connecticut under the Rev. Dr. John Patterson. During that time, Bishop Bravid W. Harris, missionary bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia, visited Dr. Patterson.
Finding Emmanuel there, Bishop Harris immediately invited him to return to Liberia to head the Bravid W. Harris Episcopal High School, very near Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia.
Emmanuel returned to Liberia in 1960 and became the founding principal of B.W. Harris Episcopal High School. While at B.W. Harris, Mr. Johnson commenced his theological studies at the Seth C. Edwards Theological Institute in 1965.
Mr. Johnson was ordained deacon on February 11, during the episcopacy of Bishop Dillard H. Brown.
In 1968 upon the call from President William V. S. Tubman to serve his country, Deacon Johnson was appointed the first Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) in Monrovia Liberia.
He held this office until 1973, working very closely with Dr. Asa G. Hilliard of Georgia State University, who served as consultant and advisor to MCSS.
Fr. Johnson was ordained priest in 1968 by Bishop Dillard H. Brown, and in March 1970 was appointed Canon by Bishop C. Alfred Voegeli, interim Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia.
Rev. Johnson served as priest in Clay Ashland and Caldwell and became the first rector of St. Stephen Episcopal Church, 10th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia.
In 1973 Fr. Johnson was appointed president of Cuttington College and Divinity School, which, by action of the Cuttington Board of Trustees, was later renamed Cuttington University College.
It is located in Suacoco, Bong County. He left Cuttington in 1980 and became priest-in charge of the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.
In 1981 he was elected dean of Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, Liberia, thereafter appointed Canon and served in that position until his departure from Liberia in 1990 during the outbreak of the civil war.
Upon his arrival in the USA, he was appointed dean of Academic Support Services and Chaplain of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina from 1992 to 2003 when he retired.
He then moved to Virginia in 2003 and assumed working as Priest Associate at St. David’s Episcopal Church and School in Ashburn, Virginia, where he served up to his illness.
Father Johnson has served in many other organizations. Some of his services included the training of priests and lay persons at the Seth C. Edwards Theological Institute in Liberia, instructor of New Testament, Vocational Deacon Training Institute of the Diocese of South Carolina, member of the Standing Committee to the province of West Africa for the Episcopal Church, chaplain of the International Order of St. Luke and most recently co-founder of the Liberian Episcopal Community in the USA (LECUSA).
Father Johnson also offered Pastoral Services to Liberians in the diaspora, regardless of denomination. A onetime avid boy scout, Fr. Johnson served as international commissioner, Boy Scouts of Liberia, leader, Liberia Contingent to World Jamboree of Boy Scouts in Idaho, U.S.A. and in Tokyo Japan.
He was also Liberian delegate to World Conferences of Boy Scouts in U.S.A and Europe; and Member of Liberia delegation to UNESCO Conference on the development of Education in Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Father Johnson offered Pastoral Services to many Liberians in the Diaspora, regardless of denomination.
Emmanuel Wea Johnson was born in Fishtown, now River Gee County on May 24, 1924 to the union of Ban Sie-Dabe Johnson and Helena Tode Elliott-Johnson.
He attended the Boyle Memorial School and Bonny Government School in Bonny Nigeria where his parents and family had relocated for work. He also attended the Laboratory High School in Monrovia, Liberia. He was the second of five children.
His siblings, John Bedell, Samuel Johnson, Cecelia McWilliams-Boyd and George McWilliams, all predeceased him.
The Very Rev. Fr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Henrietta B. Cummings-Johnson; his five children, Esther Jallah, Emmanuel W. Johnson Jr., Helene T. Johnson, Randetta N. Johnson and Randolph B. Johnson; his daughters-in-law Mrs. Eliane Dunn-Johnson and Tasha Hubbard-Johnson; his seven grandchildren Saygbah (Lady) Cooper, Elise Johnson, Nuelle Johnson, s(Manny), Charles Crawford (Champ), Sean Johnson and Liliana Johnson (Lily); his mother-in-law, Mrs. Rachel E. Cummings; his sisters-in-law Matene McWilliams, Rosalind Cummings, Rachel B. Cummings and Mona Cummings; his brother-in-law Ralph Cummings and Edgar (Boy Blue) Cummings; many nieces; nephews; and many other relatives.
Father J, as he was affectionately called, also left a host of inherited children; Paul & Verlaine Jones, Gerald & Roberta Cooper, Julius King, Sarah Gibson-Doe, Wilmot Merchant, Genevieve Sherman-Sheriff, John & Rosalind Mellish and Clemenceau Urey. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.