Longtime NY Pastor Eldon H. Johnson Dies

JAMESTOWN, NY (September 5, 2013) – Retired Covenant pastor Eldon H. Johnson, who served Zion Covenant Church here for 31 years, died Wednesday. A celebration of life service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the church.

Johnson, 86, was born March 31, 1927, in Rockford, Illinois. He earned his associate’s degree at North Park College in 1948, a bachelor’s degree at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, in 1951; and then graduated North Park Theological Seminary in 1952.

He married Rosemary Lundeen on September 27, 1952, in Galesburg, Illinois.

Johnson served First Covenant Church in Rockford from 1950 to 1957, Pilgrim Covenant Church of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, from 1957 to 1961; and Zion from 1961 to 1992.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Bruce and Gregory Johnson.

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Edward is an award-winning journalist and author. Besides being the executive minister of Communication at The Evangelical Covenant Church, he is author of Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epic Challenge to the Church and Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical’s Inside View of White Christianity. Ed’s mission, both professionally and personally, is to be a bridge-builder, bringing people together across racial, denominational, and cultural lines.

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7 Comments

  1. For some reason,tonight I was thanking the Lord for the many children, grandchildren and others who are serving him as a result of my faithfulness. Then the Lord spoke to me about the many people as I was growing up who influenced me in my walk with him. Suddenly Pastor Eldon Johnson came to mind,so I decided to look him up on the computer. I am saddened to read of his passing. My intent was to write him and thank him for the influence he had in my life.i was a hi-leader at South Park Chapel in Rockford and had a difficult home life. He was young and just out of North Park and worked tirelessly for our youth. He always had a wonderful smile on his face and had a glow about him that I loved. I remembered when he announced he was going to be married and move to Fitchburg. His presence was one of the few pleasant things in my life and I wanted to emulate that love for Christ. I’m sure he never knew how many people his witness brought to Christ, but I know many people including my family and close friends. I am so sorry to read that he is gone, and my deepest condolences to his family.

  2. “If you’re going to error, error on the side of grace.” This was the advice that Eldon gave me as he mentored me through the ordination process and my first church in Scandia, Pennsylvania. Eldon himself modeled God’s grace in his ministry and friendships. I thank God that our paths crossed here on earth. I am forever indebted to him for his prayers, love, and spiritual direction. With God’s help, I hope to demonstrate that same grace to the people I serve. “Christ only, always, living in me.”

  3. Eldon was a fellow pastor with me on the Zion staff, a friend and a mentor. Eldon was a servant to Chautauqua county and the city of Jamestown. He was the “bishop” of the county. When I started serving at Zion as the associate pastor, I would share the hospital duties with Eldon, each of us about three times a week. I found so many people, who did not attend Zion and maybe were not even believers, would list Zion as their church because of Eldon. Eldon was passionate about the gospel and he did not mind sweating for the gospel. I remember one very hot May Sunday morning, when I had the credulity to ask if we could go without our black robes. And Eldon’s response was, “So what’s a little sweat?”

  4. “Eldie” was a good friend back in Rockford. He directed the choir at First Cov. and I enjoyed singing under his direction. My sympathies to Rosemary and to theboys.

  5. Eldie was one of our oldest and dearest friends. From the time we were kids, Rog and I were at First Mission Covenant Church in Rockford together with him. Then we all graduated from both North Park and Augustana and he and Rog graduated from North Park Seminary. Most of all we shared so many laughs and good times. Rog sang in a quartette with him. Eldie and Rosemary were such a talented and faith-filled couple. I’m sure Heaven is delighted to have Eldie, Rog and Jim Hawkinson singing and laughing together again. My heart is filled with wonderful memories.

  6. I had the same pastor for 52 years! My esteem for his ministry, mentoring, and friendship will always be an inspiration. What Pastor Eldon modeled in ministry and life opened my heart to the possibility of God’s call to ministry claiming mine. His preaching was clear and passionate, his vocal abilities always inspiring, his care for the flock at Zion enduring, his patience with confirmation classes exemplary, and his golf game way above average! I am ever so thankful for his imprint of the Cross upon my home church, my family, and the Jamestown community. May God raise up more servants to follow in Eldon’s steps, finding them faithful to the gospel of which he was unashamed.

  7. Eldon was a legend among Covenanters in the Middle East Conference. I really enjoyed the opportunity of counting him as a friend. He will be missed, but his work lingers on in the lives of the many people who were influenced and encouraged by him.

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