Mark David Johnson grew up in Cranston RI. They started playing piano at age 3 and began studying organ at age 12. In addition to serving as minister of music in a number of congregations in RI, Mark also worked as a musical director for a few theatre companies. In 2010 Mark moved to Germany, where they finished undergraduate studies and travelled extensively throughout Europe.
And then, there’s faith.
Running through that narrative is also a story of faith. Mark always felt a nudge toward ministry, but like many others, they tried to run from it – after all, it’s not normal or cool to believe in anything, right? Being an accomplished organist and pianist was serving God, too, right? And being an openly queer person, there would be countless stumbling blocks in doing anything more than church music.
Yet countless doors closed and windows opened. Mark moved from Rhode Island to Florida to Baden-Württemberg, all while discerning a call to ordained ministry in the ELCA. Almost on a whim, Mark applied to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, was accepted, and began coursework the following semester.
As they continued to discern a call to ministry, their life turned upside-down. Mark learnt a lot about Mark – and faith. Through that process, Mark realized they could never be normal or cool – but they could be Mark. The degree of Master of Divinity was conferred upon Mark in May 2015.
In November 2015, the people of St Michael’s Episcopal Church in Trenton, NJ called Mark to serve as vicar; Mark was ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA on December 4, 2015.
In May 2018, Mark earned the Master of Sacred Theology degree in Church and Society at Drew University. And now, they live in Bordentown NJ with a loving spouse, Ian, who serves as pastor of St Mark Lutheran Church.
And then, there’s me.
Mark is not like other Christians, nor like other LGBTQ folk. In fact, there’s only one Mark in the whole world! But throughout this journey, Mark learnt to seek God in unusual places. And once you find God in a strange place, it’s exciting to tell others that good news.
So, that’s Mark David Johnson. Welcome to this blog – a collection of anecdotes, discussion starters, and stories of faith. Take a look around. Comment on things. Check out Mark’s music. Follow them on Twitter. And even share your story! But most of all, keep looking for those places where God is making all things new.