About Alvin

Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Johnson

My Bio

Al Johnson is a husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, writer, recovering alcoholic, bereaved parent, and a parish priest.  He first experienced a call to ministry while in high school and continued that exploration through college at the University of Tulsa.  While at Tulsa Al’s other vocation took form in meeting Vickie Arnold who would later become his wife of now over 45 years.  Following college Vickie and Al were married and moved to Evanston, Illinois where Al began a Master of Divinity program at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (now knows as Bexley-Seabury).  He received his M.Div. in 1979 and a Doctor of Ministry Degree in 1998 writing on the topic of how congregations recover following trauma. 

Al was ordained a deacon and priest in 1979 where he began parish ministry at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Glenview, Illinois.  After two years Al accepted a call to become a missioner and develop a new church in the Bloomingdale area west of Chicago.  After several years worshipping in a local school, the Church of the Incarnation took shape in 1988 with the purchase of land and the building of the first structure.  In 1990, following the death of their first child Nicholas, Al took a call to St. Michael’s in Barrington, Illinois, where he served for 20 years.  Retiring in 2010, Al continued working in the areas of parish ministry and congregational development starting a church consulting company, serving as adjunct faculty at Virginia Theological Seminary, and eventually accepting a part-time position on the staff of Bishop Sean Rowe of the Partnership Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York.  All these years reflect a principal passion of Al’s which is the joy of being a parish priest.

This easy track took a painful turn in 1986.  That year his son Nicholas was diagnosed with leukemia.  Three years later he died from the same disease.  Later in 1986 Hannah was born and early in 1991 Zachary came into the world.  It was the death of Nicholas that forever changed the direction of Al’s life and ministry.  This book he’s written, GRIEF SET FREE, details the path from death and despair to hope and joy speaking also of the challenges of preaching the faith while struggling with his own.

Other interests for Al have include writing, singing, and spending time with bereaved parents.  He loves family, enjoys sports, playing golf, writing, working out, walking, praying, meditating and reading.   Al currently volunteers for the Barrington Countryside Fire District, the BHS Football Chain Gang, and Above and Beyond Recovery Center in Chicago.  Al is also undertaking the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.