Senate Chaplain Rev Dr Eileen Johnson. Photo: Letisha Henderson/BIS
By Kathryn Campbell
SHE is a woman of firsts.
It's been almost four years since Reverend Eileen Johnson was installed the first female senior pastor of Lighthouse Fellowship Church of God "City on the Hill," in Pinewood Gardens, achieving her first major feat.
Today, she is the first female chaplain in the Senate. "They said they wanted a female chaplain. I thought it an honour," said Rev Johnson.
"Society may have a gender problem, but God does not. He will anoint and appoint men and women, yielded vessels, those who are available to him to serve. That is whom God would raise.
". . . We're progressing; who knows we may have a female prime minister. People are no longer looking at gender. They're looking at availability, integrity, professionalism; people who would lead fearlessly and in the fear of God."
Of her appointment, Rev Johnson remarked, "it sends a message that once you prepare yourself, educated or not, if you're a person of prayer and believe, God will use you and nothing can stop you.
"When the hand of God is on your life He will allow your name to be called. Promotion comes from Him. We don't have to manipulate or orchestrate. All we have to do is serve God, keep our hands clean and our hearts pure. Keep praying and pray the word."
Six months into the new post, Pastor Johnson has been well-received in the upper chamber.
"I didn't sign up for it; I didn't ask anybody for it. I knew my name was under consideration. From among a whole lot of female pastors in this island, He selected me. He could have chosen anybody else, but He chose a little, old, girl from Brougham Street. It is an honour and I am grateful."
Rev Johnson is led by the Holy Spirit in her intercessions in the Senate. As far as possible she offers a comprehensive prayer aided by scriptures and psalms for inspiration.
"I go as I'm led. I pray for God's guidance in their thoughts and deliberations that they would be consistent with His will and purpose. I ask the Lord to let there be camaraderie, peace in the midst of their discussions. I briefly touch on the nation; things that are relevant, that are going on at the time. I pray against murder and pull down crime," she said.
Rev Johnson is the granddaughter of the late Bishop Peter Patton, a founding bishop of the Church of God in the Bahamas. She has been in ministry for over 30 years as a worship leader, choir director and youth minister, which eventually led to her ascension as the "first" female national youth director for the Church of God.
"Life has been a rollercoaster but I thank God for every experience," said Rev Johnson.
She leads a congregation of 80-100 members, predominately young people. She participates in praise and worship conferences both locally and internationally.
"I'm training leaders, not just instructing them, but giving them hands on experiences and chances."
She is married to James Johnson and is the mother of three sons, and grandmother of one.
"To God be the glory that He thought it fitting to select me to be a female of firsts in a male dominated world."