40 years of ministry

Published 7:16 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

A local minister is celebrating his 40th year in ministry this year.



Wallace M. Johnson says two people inspired him — his father, and Suffragan Bishop Madison G. Copeland of Greater Sweet Beulah Holiness Church.

“I don’t think I would be where I am in the ministry if it was not for him,” Johnson said of Copeland. “He made sure I was prepared before he turned me loose.”

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Johnson received his call to the ministry in 1976. He was licensed as a minister in 1980 by the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Inc.

From 1980 to 1992, he was assistant pastor and church administrator at Greater Sweet Beulah Holiness Church.

From 1992 to 2006, he founded and pastored Grace Apostolic Bibleway Temple, which he merged with Greater Sweet Beulah in 2006 at Copeland’s request, again becoming the assistant pastor of Greater Sweet Beulah, a position he held until 2011.

Johnson now is the pastor of Prince of Peace Church on Summit Avenue in Portsmouth.

All the while, he has been a leader in the community as well as in his churches.

“I wanted to do something to not only just change my life, but change others as well,” Johnson said.

He organized gospel concerts, one of which packed more than 2,000 people into the gymnasium at Nansemond River High School, he said. He has organized vigils and rallies for victims of violence. He’s led youth outreach ministries and conferences.

“I have worked with City Council to help better our city,” he said.

His ministry has reached even to Baltimore, where he received an achievement award from the City Council in 2005.

In addition to his father and Bishop Copeland, Johnson credits Bishop William J. Faison Jr. with being an inspiration to him.

He and his wife of 42 years, Ethel Johnson, have two daughters, three sons, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren.

“These 40 years haven’t been easy, but the Lord has sustained us and taken us through it all,” he said.