June 25, 1866-Sept. 28, 1933
|Henry S. Johns, son of Matthew David Johns and Mrs. Louvester Baker Johns, was born in Claredon, Monroe County, Arkansas, JUne 25, 1866. He departed this life in his parsonage home in Greenwood, La., September 28, 1933, living 67 years, three months and three days.
His parents moved, when he was quite a small boy, for a brief stay in Mississippi; then to West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, where he grew to young manhood. He attended the schools of his section and then went to Centenary College, Jackson, La. He was licensed to preach by the Oak Grove Church, of the Floyd Circuit, Delhi District, and admitted on trial into the Louisiana Annual Conference, January 5, 1886, at Baton Rouge, with Bishop John C. Keener presiding over the Conference. He was admitted Into full connection and ordained deacon at the Conference held in Shreveport by Bishop Joseph S. Key, January 5. 1888. In 1889 be was ordained elder..
He was appointed to the South Bossier Circuit, as junior preacher with Rev. R. M. Blocker, in January. 1886. at the youthful age of nineteen and one-half years. He served in this capacity for two years. He served, successively, the following appointments: Washington Circuit, two years; Algiers Station, four years; Plaquemine and Donaldsonville, three years: Chlcot and White Castle. two years; Montgomery and Colfax, two years: Morgan City charge, three years; Gueydan, two years: Ida. two years. He was appointed to Ida for the third year and served until March. 1908. when he accepted a call to serve as chaplain to the Louisiana State Penitentiary. He served in this capacity, and as chaplain to the State General Assembly, for twenty and one-half years. He was relieved of this arduous task in 1928, September 1. He promptly ye. turned to the active pastorate and was appointed to the Greenwood and Bethany charge, in the Shreveport District, where be served until his death, a term approaching five years, when God called him home.
Brother Johns married twice. The first time to Miss Hope Foster, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. D. W. Foster, of Opelousas. Two sons were born of this marriage: Dr. Foster M. Johns, an eminent physician and pathologist, of New Orleans, and our own beloved brother, Rev. H. L. Johns, a prominent member of this Conference. After twenty years of happy married life his wife died in January, 1908. His second marriage was to Miss Stella G. Banner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Banner, of Lufkin. Texas. One daughter, Miss Mary Banner. was born of this union, and she. with his beloved widow, and the two eons, survive to mourn his loss.
The outstanding work of his ministry was his splendid service of over twenty years as chaplain of the Louisiana State Penitentiary—a task that demanded the greatest tact and skill. Yet he won the utmost respect and esteem of all. The man who for many years was warden of this institution told the writer: “There was no criminal so hardened but that he had the highest regard for him, and no one would have harmed a hair of his head. He helped the authorities over many trying situations and was highly esteemed by all who knew him.” No doubt his ministry to condemned criminals turned the lives of many into paths of usefulness after they gained their release, and pointed many a doomed soul to his Saviour.
As a pastor he was ever diligent to his duties, kind to his people, deeply sympathetic and tender in his ministrations. He was a good gospel preacher and held firmly to the faith and teachings of the Methodist Church. He was never wavering or unsteady in his devotion—al. was loyal and true. He was greatly beloved by his people and his manly Christian character won and held the esteem and confidence of all. It was the writer’ s good fortune to follow him in two of his earlier pastorates, and never a word of harsh, or unkind criticism did we hear of his work. The people always spoke of him in the highest terms, and many told of the comfort and help he had been to them in their sorrow or need.
He was a man of high ideals, irreproachable habits, noble bearing. He engaged in no ecclesiastical politics, Joined no cliques, indulged in no unfair criticism of his brethren, or others, and consistently abstained from all evil. His life, in itself, was an open book—a sermon more eloquent than any preached from the sacred desk. He was a Christian minister of the Gospel, in whom there was ~‘indeed no guile.” “In that day many will rise up to call him blessed.”
It was his desire to finish out fifty years of active service in the Louisiana Annual Conference. He came near completing his forty-eighth, Although declining In health, he hoped up to his last illness that he might recover and continue his beloved work. But when he saw the end approaching he offered no complaint. If it was God’s will that he should go, it was well. He was ready. Just before the end came he called his preacher son to him and said, “My work is done, why try to hold: me here? Cut the cords and let me go.” Then the voice of God did call! The cords were loosened, and he went home to God.
“Servant of God, well done!
ROBERT W. VAUGHAN
|Source: Annual of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 80, 1933|