Rev. Dr. Alfred Johnson

– Visiting Professor of Urban LeadershipAjohnson

– Director, Center for the Study and Practice of Urban Religion (C-SPUR)

Office phone: 212-870-1202

Educational Background

  • AAS, Community College of Philadelphia
  •  BA, Albright College
  • ThM, Boston University School of Theology
  • DMin, Wesley Theological Seminary

Religious Affiliation

  • United Methodist Church

The Rev. Dr. Alfred Johnson serves as Visiting Professor of Urban Leadership and Director of the Center for the Study and Practice of Urban Religion (C-SPUR).  He served as a Trustee of NYTS from 2005 to 2014 and chaired the Committee on Trustees. He has served as an adjunct professor at NYTS, and Bishop in Residence at Drew Theological School as an instructor in urban ministry.

Dr. Johnson was elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church (UMC) in 1996 and assigned to the New Jersey Episcopal Area, presiding over two UMC Annual Conferences, which comprised 600 congregations. Through his leadership, the two conferences, Northern and Southern NJ Conferences, united to become the Greater NJ Conference.  Prior to his election to the episcopacy, Dr. Johnson was pastor of several churches in the Philadelphia area; Director of the Community Action Council, Inc., Chester, PA.; Conference Staff Consultant; Executive Director of the UM Metro Ministries, Inc., Philadelphia and Chester, PA; and District Superintendent, also in the Philadelphia area.

After retirement from active episcopacy in 2004, he briefly served as interim pastor at the Huntington-Cold Springs UMC on Long Island, NY. In 2005, he was asked to organize, consolidate and pastor three UMC congregations in Greenwich Village, New York City to missionally form one, new congregation on two sites: “The Church of the Village: A Progressive United Methodist Church.”  In 2015, he was asked to be interim pastor for the last historic African-American UMC congregation in San Francisco, CA,  Jones Memorial UMC, which was facing complex challenges.  In 2017, he returned to his home in Central New Jersey and was invited to serve as  a Research Professor in Urban Ministry and Director of C-SPUR. In 2019, Dr. Johnson was appointed Visiting Professor of Urban Leadership and member of the Core Faculty of NYTS.

Born in Philadelphia, PA and a product of the public school system, Bishop Johnson received degrees from the Community College of Philadelphia (Associate in Arts); Albright College, Reading, PA, (Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare); Boston University School of Theology (Master of Theology -MDiv equivalent); and Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C. (Doctor in Ministry in Urban Ministry). He was also awarded two honorary doctorates, from Albright College and Centenary College, Hackettstown, NJ. Additionally, he has studied human relations, group dynamics, and leadership at the Princeton Theological School of Continuing Education, and leadership and organizational development at New York University School of Professional Studies.

Dr. Johnson has taught or lectured at a number of theological schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Drew Theological School, and Claremont School of Theology.  He has served as Dean of the Bishop Melvin G. Talbert Leadership Institute of National Black Methodists for Church Renewal, a 3-year national program to train multi-ethnic young adults in leadership skills for the future.  Among his numerous speaking engagements he has been privileged to represent the state of New Jersey as keynote preacher at the Washington National Cathedral; keynote speaker for the National UMC Urban Summit; trainer for the Urban Pastor Training program of the Connecticut/Western Massachusetts Districts of the UMC New England Annual Conference.  He was featured in Meeting God at the Boundaries: A Manual for Church Leaders by Lucia Ann McSpadden (2011). Dr. Johnson is married to the Rev. Sherrie Dobbs Johnson, a retired UMC clergyperson, who writes for UMC publications, and is a proud NYTS alumnae.


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