Parish Says Goodbye to Trailblazing Pastor

Hundreds packed New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church Saturday to say goodbye to its leader... the Reverend Dr. Wilma R. Johnson affectionately known as Pastor J

Pastor J died September 30th from lung cancer... It was a 12 year fight that her congregation says she battled to the very end with grace, courage, and dignity...

"She didn't ask for a miracle...she just said its God's business and whatever it is... I'm ready," said Rev. Dr. Charles Adams of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church.

Despite challenges... She preached her last sermon just 2 and 1/2 weeks before she passed away... Members of her congregation say they were inspired by her dedication.

"To know that our beacon of light is not here anymore but she still shines and the sun still shines we are okay but we are going to miss her," said. Jaurice Clay-Russ of New Prospect Congregant.

But church leaders say Pastor J also touched thousands outside the walls of New Prospect when she started an after school program for neighborhood kids, a food pantry to feed the hungry and...that's not all

Another memorable moment of her reaching out to the community was when she tried to save the black owned gas station on Livernois and 8 Mile. She gave away $10,000 worth of gas in 2007

Singing.. Crying...and at times even laughter filled the air in the church where Pastor J served as Senior Pastor for nearly 2 decades.

During her tenure.. She wrote books...released music CDs...

And her leadership at New Prospect earned her the title of first female pastor of a major African American Baptist Church in Detroit.

 But those close to the trailblazer say that's not what she wanted to be known for.

"The fact that she was a woman had no bearing on her legacy one way or the other she was just doing what God called her to do," said her husband, David Johnson.

And making a difference in the lives of not only her congregation, but also making a difference in the community is what many say her true legacy will be.

"I thank you for everything you shared and did for her. It made her a better pastor."