JOHNSON, Ben C. Ben Campbell Johnson of Decatur, Georgia passed away June 2, 2016. Dr. Johnson was born March 28, 1932 in Elba, Alabama to the late Fred and Sarah Cammie Johnson. Survivors include his loving wife of 42 years, Nan, daughter and son-in-law, Evangeline (Ginger) and Gregory Larson, San Marcos, CA, son, Benjamin Christopher Johnson of Raleigh, NC, step-sons, Jim (Christy) Cotsakis, Cumming, Mark (Catherine) Cotsakis of Charlotte, NC , step-daughter, Holly Zaprowski of Atlanta, and his sister, Fredrika (Charles) Pearce of Elba, AL. He was especially proud of his seven grandchildren: Erica, Jared, and Zachary Larson, San Marcos, CA; Christina (Christian) Cotsakis Cordon, Athens, GA; Sara and Baird Cotsakis, Charlotte, NC; and Carlin Zaprowski, Atlanta, plus his nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. An ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Dr. Johnson was widely known for his work in church renewal movements and interfaith relations between faith traditions. He was pastor of United Methodist Churches in Kentucky and Alabama and served in interim pastoral roles at Salem Presbyterian Church in Lithonia, GA and North Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Atlanta. In 1963 Dr. Johnson founded and served as the Executive Director of the Institute for Church Renewal (ICR) in Atlanta. This non-profit ministry developed programs and resources for congregations aimed to promote growth and vitality. His academic degrees include a B.A. from Asbury College, a B.D. from Asbury Seminary, a Th.M. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a D.Min. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Emory University. In 1981, Dr. Johnson was called to be the Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, and later in 1995 became the Professor of Spirituality. Dr. Johnson was a prolific writer of more than forty books concentrating on evangelism, prayer and spirituality. After retiring in 2000, he continued to write and devote his energies to fostering interfaith relationships. He served as an advisory board member of the Interfaith Community Initiatives (ICI), the Clarkston Community Health Center as well as other interfaith programs in the Atlanta area. Ben enjoyed extensive travel around the world marveling at all the different cultures and experiences. Hosting family and friends, both local and international, in their home was a great joy and passion for Ben. A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 17, 2016 at Shallowford Presbyterian Church, 2375 Shallowford Road, Atlanta at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Shallowford Presbyterian Church.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jun. 8, 2016.