Rev. Dr. Christine Johnson
I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, near Dresden, one of nine children born to Fred and Phyllis Johnson. My dad is featured in a recent issue of Ontario Farmer, with a photograph of him sitting on his 1930s Cockshutt tractor. He’s 89 and still going strong, working every day helping my brother Phil, who now owns the farm. My mom is a quilter extraordinaire, having made bed quilts for all of her nine children, 24 grandchildren, and baby quilts for her 20 great-grandchildren. My parents were strong believers in education and so most of headed off to university or college.
I did one year of a Fine Arts degree at York University before I transferred to Carleton University and completed my Bachelor of Journalism in 1984. While at Carleton, I became involved in covering the arts, including producing a radio program at CKCU, and becoming the arts editor at the university newspaper, The Charlatan.
My interest in the arts took me on a sideways path towards a career in arts administration. My first full-time job was at the Ontario Arts Council in Toronto. I went on to work at the Quinte Arts Council in Belleville, the Grand Theatre in Kingston and The Modern Fuel Gallery (formerly K.A.A.I) in Kingston.
It was during my time in Toronto that I met my husband, James Murray. We always joke that neither one of us was a minister when we got married in 1985. It wasn’t too long after our
marriage that James felt a call to ministry. It is sort of a family business because his father, the Rev. Ken Murray, is a United Church minister and James has a whole a bunch of great-aunts
and uncles who were missionaries and ministers. James headed off to Queen’s University to complete his Master of Divinity and qualify for ordained ministry.
While in KIngston, we gave birth to our first son, Nathan. In 1989, James was sent to his settlement charge in Pasadena, Newfoundland. There, we had our twin boys, Peter and Scott
in 1990. When we returned to Ontario, to the Hagersville-Springvale Pastoral Charge, I felt called to the ministry. I attended Emmanuel College in Toronto, juggling being a young mom
with university studies. Ordained in 1996, I was sent to the Brussels-Ethel Pastoral Charge and James went to the Walton-Bluevale Pastoral Charge. Next, in 1999, we travelled to the big city as James went to the Montreal West United Church and I went to Roxboro United Church. While at Roxboro, I completed my Doctor of Ministry in Preaching at the Chicago Theological Seminary. In 2005, we purchased a recreational property on the Madawaska River near Burnstown. This inspired us to seek calls in Ottawa; Christine to Glebe-St. James United Church in 2007 and James to Dominion-Chalmers United Church in 2008.
Unfortunately, in 2012, I became ill and went on medical leave. I finished at Glebe-St. James in 2013 and took two years off of ministry. During that time, I partnered with my best friend to open two vintage clothing stores.
While I enjoyed the vintage clothing business, ministry called again in the form of a part-time supply position at City View United Church as the Pastoral Care Minister. In 2016, I was asked to fill a full-time supply position at Emmanuel United Church, finishing June 30, 2017. In my spare time, I like to make art, mainly working with textiles and fibre, although I also enjoy mixed media painting and art journaling. I also love visiting art galleries and attending theatre and music performances.
My son, Nathan, is married to Melissa Auclair and they now have a daughter, Evelyn, who will be two in August. He is a Phd candidate at the University of Toronto in English Literature. Scott is a graduate of Osgoode Law School and will be called to the bar at the end of June. Peter has a Master of Information degree from U of T, and is currently seeking work in his field. As you can probably surmise, I travel to Toronto a lot!