This website includes the statements of the Regional Conference leadership and the statements of the North American Division (NAD) leadership on the recent passing of former NAD President, Elder Daniel R. Jackson. I would like to briefly share my thoughts as well.
Elder Jackson was an extraordinary leader who never acted as if he saw himself as extraordinary. In fact, more than almost any leader I have worked in these past 44 years of ministry, he was extraordinarily down to earth.
He had a good sense of humor that he used to lighten up the many long hours that he sat in meetings. But underneath that almost interminable congeniality, there were strong convictions about things such as justice, equality, fairness and diversity. And he was not afraid to voice those convictions—even in settings where they were unpopular.
He was a great friend of Regional Conferences—and he was not afraid to place dollars behind that friendship. He worked with the leadership of the Regional Conferences and Message Magazine to help Message gain solid financial footing. And that was not the only time he supported an initiative that brought resources to Regional Conferences.
He was a staunch supporter of women in ministry (something else that was not always popular). He committed resources to subsidize the hiring of female Pastors by local conferences. He was committed to seeing that female Pastors had opportunities to demonstrate that—not only could they be Pastors—but that they could be leaders of Pastors as well.
By policy, the NAD leadership meets with the Regional Conference Presidents Council. Those meetings are convened by this office—the Office for Regional Conference Ministries (ORCM). I remember that—at our final meeting with Elder Jackson—each member of the Regional Presidents Council was allotted time to say a few words of affirmation and farewell to Elder Jackson. Dr. William T. Cox, Sr., who is now the Executive Director for the Regional Conference Retirement Plan but who was at that time, the President of the Allegheny West Conference, said to Elder Jackson, “In the Adventist Church, you have the brothers and the brethren. Thank you for being a brother.”
Elder Jackson seemed to really like that, so when he retired, I sent him a farewell letter and a gift. In my letter, I repeated what Dr. Cox had said: That there were the brothers and the brethren—and that we would always consider him a brother.
He emailed me back and thanked me for being considered a brother. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the next to the last time I would connect with him. We later spoke briefly at the funeral of Elder Charles Bradford. The next thing that I heard was that he had fallen ill—and shortly after that, he was gone.
I received 3 personal emails (that I remember) from Elder Jackson. Not surprisingly, he was thanking me or affirming me for something in each one—that’s just who he was. One of those emails came on Christmas Day. He took time on Christmas Day to reach out to share some affirmation; as I said—that’s who he was.
So—I suppose it is appropriate to close this tribute by thanking him—even though he can’t see it. To thank him for being who he was and for reminding me that people who don’t look the same, who don’t come from the same background and who don’t have a lot of the same things in common—in Christ, they can still be brothers. As I said, that’s who Elder Daniel R. Jackson was.
Elder Jackson—I’ll miss you, my brother. But I plan to see you soon.