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Gambians Pay Tribute To Bishop Johnson

Bishop Johnson(JollofNews) – Gambians from all religious backgrounds are paying tributes to the Bishop of the Gambia, Rt. Rev. Dr. Solomon Tilewa Ethelbert Willie Johnson.

Johnson, 59, who was Primate and Archbishop of the Church of the Province of West Africa (Anglican Communion), died on Tuesday in Banjul from a suspected heart attack.

Born on 27 February 1954, Bishop Johnson as he was fondly called was educated at the Gambia High School before proceeding to the Anglican Church at Trinity College, Umuahia Abia State, Nigeria, where he graduated with a Diploma in Theology in 1980.

Two years later, he enrolled at the University of Durham, UK, where he graduated in 1985 with a BA (Hons) in Theology. He also attended the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana, USA, where he graduated in 2000 with a Doctor of Ministry.
Late Bishop Johnson
Bishop Johnson was ordained a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1980. He served at the Church of the African Martyrs in Farafenni, Lower Region, and at St Mary’s Cathedral.

He was the first Gambian to be appointed Bishop of the Gambia (including Cape Verde and Senegal) in 1990.

Bishop Johnson also held several positions (both religious and secular) in the Gambia and the wider Christian community.

He was the chairperson of the Christian Council of the Gambia which is responsible for the coordination of all Christian activities and institutions in the Gambia.

He was the first chairman of the Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) from 1997 to 2000.

Paying tribute to the Bishop, Mai Ahmad Fatty, leader of the opposition Gambia Moral Congress party (GMC), described him as an illustrious son of the Gambia and an upright man who devoted his life to the service of God and humanity.

“He was a man of great wisdom, a role model, and a beacon of hope for the Anglican community in Africa. Most of all, he was a humble man whose life in itself was a veritable sermon,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Another Facebook user, Pata PJ, wrote: “Dr. Solomon Tilewa Johnson was a decent, respectable man in both the Christian and Muslim community. In a predominately Muslim country, the Bishop is revered and celebrated as a man of high moral standing. His services to the Church and the Gambia shall forever be treasured.

Tombong Saidy, a former director general of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) wrote: “It’s a sad day for all Gambians regardless of age, sex or religion for we have lost a great son, Bishop Tilewa Johnson. Not only did he serve the Christian community, he also served all Gambians and contributed greatly in the social, economic and political development of this country. We should all pray for him. May his soul rest in peace.”

Fatou Camara, a former State House director of Press and Public Relations, also paid tribute to the late Bishop describing him as friendly and warm person.

Also paying tribute to Bishop Johnson, Nanama Keita, a former Gambian sports journalist wrote: “The Anglican Church in Banjul has lost its shepherd, and the Gambia has lost one of its most upright religious leaders. S Tilewa Johnson was a man of God, and he was also a man of the people.”
Written by PK Jarju


0 #4 2014-02-23 01:19
His Lordship was a force to reckon with. He was a man of velour, God fearing and a great uncle and friend. his demise is a great loss to Christendom and to Africa as a whole. He was indeed a Samarkat.
I remember him coming to my site just to check out the work I was supervising for the diocese...... Ah dat was a warm day because his humour was contagious and that is just the kind of person he was.

May His soul rest in eternal peace.
-2 #3 2014-01-25 16:39
This is a great lost to the Christians,Gamb ia, Africa and the world at large. Dead is what await all of us. Therefore, we should prepare for it my doing the right things and serving our lord. We are created purposely to worship "GOD"
+2 #2 2014-01-23 11:51
I was a teacher at the Rev JC Faye School first under Ms. Cole and later Mrs Johnson as Headteachers. I left The Gambia eventually to pursue advanced degrees in USA.

Bishop/Primate Johnson demonstrated absolute care and concern toward St Mary's Church and The Rev JC Faye School. Personally, lessons I learnt from his leadership - humor, simplicity, etc will continue to guide me.

My thoughts are with Mrs Johnson, Jegan, Jillan and Dado.

Adieu Primate.
+4 #1 2014-01-23 10:03
Bishop Johnson was a great friend of the diocese of Liberia. He was nurtured by our late Archbishop George D. Browne and was happy to receive Canon A. B. Collins to help in his new ministry as bishop and later Fr. James B. Sellee as a missionary priest. I personally admired his imposing structure as the "big bishop" with a fond heart of love. He was my man. I was at the synod that elected him Archbishop in Liberia. My sympathy to his family and the good people of Gambia. Goodbye my Bishop and friend.

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