Rev. Selena M. Johnson, Pastor


 
 

Rev. Selena M. Johnson has been serving in the Baltimore-Washington Conference since 2012. Pastor Selena, as she likes to be called, has served four very unique and wonderful congregations since that time. She currently serves as senior pastor at Mount Zion UMC (Georgetown) in Washington, DC, where she was appointed in July of 2019. Pastor Selena's spiritual gifts include preaching, teaching, and evangelism. She is also passionate about all things creative, including visual graphics, biblical storytelling, music, movement, and movies. Her top spiritual disciplines include reading through the Bible each year, prayer journaling, weekly fasting, and weekly Sabbath-keeping. Her hobbies include yoga, fitness and writing. Also, Pastor Selena has long felt called to the ministry of racial healing in America. One prayer she has is that the body of Christ would celebrate diversity at a time when people are so afraid of anyone not like themselves. This is why she is not afraid to speak about this issue especially as relates to faith and the church. In 2006 her first book, The Sin of Racism: How to be Set Free was published.

In terms of background, Pastor Selena was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a town that within her lifetime changed from being an economically stable manufacturing town to a place burdened with unemployment and crime. Bridgeport is about one hour north of New York City and, like that metropolis, had a diverse population of Italians, Portuguese, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans when she was growing up. She lived with her mother, who was a teacher's aide, her father, who was one of 9 appellate court justices for the state of Connecticut, and her sister. After graduating high school she went on to attend the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After getting her bachelors from MIT she went on to get a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. After Berkeley, Pastor Selena came back to the east coast and worked as an architect for almost two decades. Currently she resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland with her husband, Rev. Dr. Paul Johnson, who serves as Senior Pastor at Hughes Memorial UMC in Washington, DC and their daughter who is 11. Their son serves in the United States Army and is currently stationed at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

Pastor Selena’s ministry story goes like this. She began exploring her call into ministry at Ames UMC in Bel Air, MD where she became a lay speaker, taught Sunday school, and was church school superintendent. At Grace UMC, where her husband became the pastor in 2006, she continued to teach bible study, preach, coordinate youth activities, and also founded and led the dance ministry. Pastor Selena became a licensed local pastor in 2012 and was appointed part time as a student associate pastor at Ryland-Epworth UMC in Southeast, DC. There she was able to develop her preaching, lead small group bible studies, and head up their adopt-a-school effort. In May of 2014, she graduated with a 3.8 GPA from Wesley Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity degree That same month, she was also commissioned as a Provisional Elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church and appointed full time as Senior Pastor of Community UMC in Maryland City, MD. During her 2 years there, she helped this congregation shift from being predominantly white to being more multi-cultural. She headed up their adopt-a-school program, supporting one of their local schools with food, supplies and classroom help.

Then in 2016, she was reappointed to Oak Chapel UMC in Silver Spring, MD. While there, God gave her the vision to reach out to the local neighborhood and claim that community for Christ. Six people volunteered to join her in this effort on the first day the vision was shared! The postcard outreach team was able to canvas most of the neighborhood, going door-to-door inviting people to Oak Chapel. She also has lead very powerful bible studies such as The Circle Maker, The Daniel Plan, and The Trouble I’ve Seen, a special Black History Month study. Under Pastor Selena single-board leadership team which the previous pastor had begun right before leaving has been strengthened.

Overall, this pastor describes herself as biblically conservative, but socially liberal. She believes that faith goes hand-in-hand with compassionate, grace-filled action. Jesus saves! He saves our souls and also liberates us from earthly oppression. Pastor Selena also believes that everything we do should be done in love, just as Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 22:36-40 love of God and love of neighbor are the greatest commandments.