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Pastor Sonita Johnson


“She doesn’t even drink coffee.” That’s what one of the staff members of St. John’s Pentecostal Outreach Church in Salem said to describe Pastor Sonita Johnson’s palpable energy. 

Pastor Sonita grew up in Salem as the oldest of eight children. A biologist by training, she worked on disease management programs for a Fortune 500 company. She describes herself as “extremely outgoing, but I’m also a nerd.” 

After leaving Salem and working in a number of places on the east coast and down south, Sonita took over St. John’s when her father, the pastor, died three years ago. “I never thought I was going to be a pastor, but I really knew I was going to be aPastor Sonita Johnson pastor,” she said. 

To run the pantry that feeds hundreds every month, Sonita said she relies on both her corporate and nonprofit experience. “I always have the same mindset. It’s about quality.” 

Currently working as an independent health broker, she is constantly networking in the community and bringing pieces together to solve problems and take care of local residents. What drives her unmatched determination everyday? 

“When someone tells me no – that’s just a no. In fact, that gets me excited, because it’s harder for you to say no the second time.” 

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