The Diocese

The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson, Bishop of West Tennessee

The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson is a native Tennessean who has served his entire ministry in the state. Born and raised in Nashville, he graduated from Battle Ground Academy, volunteered and served in the U.S. Navy as an enlisted man, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University in 1972, a Master of Divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois in 1976, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Graduate Theological Institute in Indiana in 1988.

His ministry in the Episcopal Church has taken him to small and large parishes in the inner city and the suburbs. While at Vanderbilt, Don attended St. David’s Church, Nashville, during the time the Rev. Dan Matthews was Rector.  He began his ordained ministry as a deacon at St. Paul’s Church in Chattanooga, and served as priest-in-charge at Calvary Church in Memphis from 1977-1978. Returning to Chattanooga, he became rector of Christ Church and chaplain to the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, for eight years. In 1986, Johnson accepted a call to St. John's Church in Johnson City. In 1996 he became rector of Church of the Resurrection in Franklin, where he remained until his election as Bishop in March 2001. He was consecrated the Third Bishop of The Diocese of West Tennessee in June 2001.

Bishop Johnson's leadership includes a wide range of diocesan and Episcopal Church activities, as well as service to non-profit organizations. He participated in The CREDO Project in 1999 and served on the faculty in subsequent years, and he also participated in Virginia Theological Seminary's Renewal and Growth Program. The University of the South and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary both awarded Bishop Johnson the degree Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in 2002 for his leadership in the Church. He currently serves on the College for Bishops Board, as a mentor for newly elected bishops, and on the Structure Committee of The Episcopal Church.

Married to Jeannie Avery Johnson, the Johnsons have two adult children, Laura and Gordon.

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