Mother Joyce Johnson of Mt. Zion Baptist Church
A Woman of God with a Goal, Dream and a Vision
By: Angelica Euseary
Ms. Joyce Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois and has three children and nine grandchildren.
She arrived in Madison, WI in February 2017 from Texas. When she’s not volunteering at The
Beacon or with the youth ministry at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, she’s doing her homework and
catching up on her readings for class. She has seventeen rainbow colored wigs, a different one
for each day — and she’s 70 years old.
“My first thought was that I was too old to be going back to college,” said Johnson. “Then I got a lot
of encouragement from my mentors Reverend Dr. Marcus Allen Sr., Reverend Dr. Peggy Williams,
Minister Stephanie Harris, and Deacon Gloria Ladson-Billings. I have a goal, a dream and a
vision. I am very determined, even though I’m 70 years old.”
She took a leap of faith and came to Madison, and for a while lived in homeless shelters including
the D.A.I.S. Abusive Shelter and the Salvation Army. In search of a church home, Mt. Zion Baptist
Church was suggested to her and she’s been a member ever since.
God told me to get up, walk toward the front, and join the church. And I did.
The following week I was baptized, and I felt like I was brand new. When I
came out of that water, I just felt new.”
Johnson is heavily involved in her community. She volunteers at The
Beacon, the Homeless Ministry at Mt. Zion, and is the Secretary for the
Mother’s Board Ministry at the church as well. She also volunteers at Mt.
Zion’s Academic Learning Center helping children after school with their
reading and math homework.
“Mother Joyce is unique, there is nobody like her,” said Rev. Dr. Marcus
Allen Sr. “She’s passionate about whatever she’s doing and really cares
about people. She’s an all around great person. I’m extremely proud of her
and excited for her to pursue her dreams.”
Johnson values education and recently graduated from The Odyssey
Project Program, where she was one of the 30 students chosen. She
entered the program when she was 68 years old and was the oldest
student in her class. That didn’t stop her then and it won’t stop her now.
Mother Joyce Johnson is a woman of faith and is working hard to achieve
“I’m very determined to make my dreams come true — transfer from
Madison Area Technical College (MATC) and transfer to the University of
Wisconsin-Madison and walk across the stage, with my walker, and get my
Bachelor’s degree,” said Johnson. “I will not give up.”
“I asked around for a
Baptist church, someone
told me about Mt. Zion,”
said Johnson. “I visited
February 25, 2017 and
heard one of Pastor
MarcusAllen Sr.’s sermons.
After they did it call to the