Pastor Manson B. Johnson II, a beloved pastor who led the Holman Street Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, for more than 40 years, has joined a growing list of Christian leaders who’ve died from the coronavirus.
Manson died Sunday morning of complications from COVID-19, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office told the Houston Chronicle. He was 71.
Johnson led the Baptist church for 43 years and made a name for himself as he pushed for economic development in Third Ward, a historically black neighborhood in Houston.
The church also announced Johnson’s passing on its Facebook page but did not highlight his cause of death.
“It is with a heavy heart but faith in God to report Shepherd Teacher Manson B. Johnson has transitioned to his Heavenly home this morning. Our Shepherd Teacher loved serving God and God’s people. We find strength in knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with God,” the church said. “At this time please keep our beautiful First Lady, his children, family, Holman Street Baptist Church family, East Side University – ESUVCLC, and the entire Houston community in your prayers.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, praised Johnson for his work with his church and his community and called him a “giant among men” in a statement on Twitter shortly after his death on Sunday.
“Houston has lost a giant among men. Pastor Manson B. Johnson was a diligent shepherd at the Holman Street Baptist Church for more than 43 years. He had a passion for truth and fought to create opportunities for vulnerable people,” she began.
“He had a direct impact on providing educational and housing opportunities for the greater Third-ward area, and was a valued member of the Texas Southern University family. He remained committed to the Word of God, and his outstanding pastoral ministry,” Jackson continued. “Pastor Manson B. Johnson will be greatly missed and celebrated for his invaluable visionary leadership which has enhanced the quality of life for many in the city of Houston. My deepest sympathy to his devoted wife and all of his loving children. Rest in Peace my dear friend,” Christian Post reports