Beni Johnson, co-senior pastor of California-based Bethel Church and wife of Pastor Bill Johnson, died on July 13, Wednesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 67 years old.
“Healthy and Free,” posted Bill Johnson on his social media accounts early Thursday morning, showing a photo of his wife that included a caption noting that she had died on Wednesday.
She co-led Bethel with her husband beginning in 1996.
Brian Johnson, one of her children, also confirmed her passing on Instagram, writing, “My mom went home tonight. Love you mom.”
The couple’s only daughter, Leah Valenzuela, said, “Momma I love you beyond words! You have been the best mom anyone could ever hope for but not only that, you have been my best friend. It is such an honour being your daughter. You are my hero (well and daddy). This last year you have fought so hard, thanks for giving us more time with you! I’m so glad I got to be with you so much. I cherish every single moment, and every show we got to watch together. I love that anytime I watch those shows now I will remember you and this special time we got to spend together. I love you! See you in heaven!”
Eric Johnson, Bill and Beni’s son who once served at Bethel Church as senior leader alongside his wife Candace, posted, “I love you mom. See you on the other side.”
In addition to her husband, Beni Johnson is survived by three children and 11 grandchildren.
In March 2018, Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, she shared that doctors had found two lumps in her right breast, which were caught early and removed.
“When this all began in March and I walked out of the doctor’s office shocked. I asked Jesus, ‘what do I do now?’ I heard Jesus tell me, ‘just love me.’ I said, ‘I can do this,’” she said in 2018.
“There has been so much peace and at times those decisions that have to be made the peace has helped me navigate through.”
During her surgical treatments, doctors discovered that Johnson had a mutation in her BR2 gene, which placed her at great risk of developing various cancers.
In February, Bethel launched a 24/7 prayer campaign for Johnson, as her cancer had apparently gotten worse and was interfering with her breathing and in turn, her ability to sleep.
“This is a serious situation. Beni’s health is a serious situation,” said Bethel Lead Pastor Dann Farrelly during a Sunday worship service in February.
“Listen, beloved, this is unjust that our matriarch, that Beni is being robbed of her sleep and having difficulty breathing … This is not as it should be.”
Redding City Councilwoman Julie Winter said she had known Beni Johnson for nearly three decades. Winter called her “a fairly quiet person” who was an integral part of the church and dedicated herself to teaching about prayer.
She wrote a book on the topic of prayer, “The Happy Intercessor,” in 2009.
Bethel Church now has 11,000 members.
(Picture Courtesy: Bethel Church, Redding)