Reverend, Dr. James Wesley Johnson was born to Robert Abe and Fannie Johnson on June 25, 1953 in Oxford, MS. He accepted Christ at an early age at St. John Missionary Baptist Church and later joined Galilee Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) church with his grandfather, Daddy Willie. Later he joined Jordan Chapel C.M.E. church and remained a member until death. Wes as he was affectionately called was a devoted pastor, father, grandfather, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend.
James was called to ministry and in 1981 became a licensed pastor. He was set apart for the office of Deacon in the C.M.E. church in 1983. He was set apart for the office of Elder in 1985, then admitted into full connection in 1986. He pastored many churches over the past 42 years in ministry, with lastly serving and pastoring Grays Chapel C.M.E. church in Holly Springs, MS until his passing.
James was very studious and enjoyed intellectual, scholarly pursuits as he earned many accolades for his work and attained the highest levels of degrees possible. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs, MS. He went on to receive a Master of Arts in Religion in 1999 from Memphis Theological Seminary and a Master of Theological Studies in 2000 from Tennessee School of Religion. He finished his educational journey, earning the highest degree possible with a Doctorate of Theology on May 17, 2003 from Jacksonville Theological Seminary.
He was a family man and a man that loved his community. James loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He was passionate about organizing family and community gatherings and pouring into younger men within the community. In fact, during the last year of his life he spearheaded multiple community events including a Memorial Day gathering, that will continue in his legacy. Just the week prior to becoming ill he had a community turkey and vegetable give away, pouring into the community he loved so dearly.
He was preceded in death by two sons, Robert Anthony Johnson and Tim Pettis; his parents Robert Abe and Fannie Johnson; two sisters Robbie Dunn and Brenda Howard; and one brother Harold Erskin Johnson.
On Wednesday, April 19, 2023, James Wesley submitted to the Lord’s will and peacefully transitioned to his heavenly home. He leaves to cherish his precious memory, his daughter Jamie N. Alford (Michael) of Olive Branch, MS; son Christopher Garrison of Nashville, TN; one sister, Hattie Mae Aikerson (Anderson) of Bessemer, AL; one brother, Charles Johnson (Ethel) of Oxford, MS; five grandchildren, Michael Alford and Kaylee Alford of Olive Branch, MS; Torri Garrison of Oxford, MS; Chloe Garrison and Riley Neismith of Nashville, TN; and one grandchild, Arcana Garrison of Oxford, MS; two aunts Lera Davidson of Houston, MS and Madearie Goodman of Memphis, TN.