After a lengthy, disciplined search process that was prayerful and Spirit-led, the Pulpit Committee unanimously and enthusiastically recommends Reverend Willa Rose Johnson — aka “Pastor Willa” — to become the next Pastor of Greenwood Church.
As you will see below, Pastor Willa is a very accomplished person, but what really struck the Committee is her engaging personality and her love for the Church. She is smart, articulate, outgoing, knowledgeable, visionary, insightful, decisive, entrepreneurial, humble and joyful. Most importantly, she loves Jesus… and she can preach. Repeatedly, she spoke to us of her passion for worship and building community. The Committee believes Pastor Johnson will lead Greenwood on an exciting and expansionary next chapter in its long and storied journey.
Born and raised in rural Georgia, Pastor Willa has a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Dartmouth College and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. Prior to seminary, she was a Community Organizer at the Gamaliel Foundation, where she used her fluency in Spanish to support the civil rights of immigrants, developing a 13-state campaign and conducting leadership training in both Spanish and English.
While in seminary at Union Theological in New York City, Pastor Willa secured a much-sought-after internship at First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC), a growing, thriving multi-ethnic congregation in Harlem. Also at Union, Pastor Willa received multiple awards, including the Maxwell Fellowship for Promise of Excellence in Parish Ministry and the Wyn Write Prize for Biblical Languages.
Upon completion of her divinity degree, Pastor Willa stayed on at FCBC as the Pastor for Programming and Community Engagement. Her responsibilities included coordinating the church’s 21 innovative ministries (among them, several that she created), as well as designing and conducting leadership-development training for the church’s ministry leaders. She also managed FCBC ordinances such as weddings, funerals, baptisms and baby dedications, officiating at these ceremonies and providing premarital guidance and pastoral care for grieving families. She also preached regularly, working closely with FCBC musicians to plan and lead worship.
In the course of checking Pastor Willa’s (enthusiastic) references, the Pulpit Committee came across some great quotes about her that we’d like to share. Pastor Willa’s references described her as “deeply spiritual” and “their resident Jesus freak.” They said she is a “strong prayer warrior” with a “disciplined practice” who has shown “charity and poise.” She is a “great leader” and “people love her.” She “sets expectations, gets it done and can execute and lead.” She has the ability to “gather people around her, develop teams, identify talent, follow through and mobilize the people around her.”
The Pulpit Committee is very excited for the congregation to meet Pastor Willa next weekend.
Pastoral Candidate Weekend Schedule
Join us in getting to know our Pastor Willa at the following fellowship and informational events. All events are at Greenwood unless otherwise noted.
- Group meetings are not intended to limit who should attend, but rather to indicate the primary topic of conversation. Please come and meet Pastor Willa when it is convenient for you.
- Sunday afternoon’s Congregation Town Hall meeting from 2:00-3:00 will allow the hosts of smaller meetings to share key aspects of the conversations with those who weren’t at that particular meeting, as well as provide a time for a general discussion.
Friday, February 2
6:00-9:30pm – Women’s gathering at the Gromek’s (Map)
Saturday, February 3
9:30-10:30am – Men’s Coffee Klatch
10:30am-12:00pm – Missions & Christian Ed
12:00-1:00pm – Worship Committee
1:00-2:30pm – Deacons & Trustees
6:00-8:30pm – Family Night at the Littleton’s (Map)
Sunday, February 4
10:30am – Morning Worship
12:30-2:00pm – Fellowship Meal
2:00-3:00pm – Congregational Town Hall
Wednesday, February 7
1:00-2:00pm – Midweek Bible Study