Faith Lutheran Church of Nicollet, Minn. and Faith Lutheran Church of New Ulm, Minn welcomed their new pastor, Dr. Gregory L. Jackson, in an installation service held in the New Ulm church on Sunday, July 30, 1995. Pastor Jackson succeeds Keith Olmanson who recently retired from the ministry and from his position as shepherd of the two flocks.
Pastor Stephen Kurtzahn, Visitor of the CLC’s Minnesota District, conducted the installation service. Basing his remarks on 1 Corinthians 1:22-24, Pastor Kurtzahn’s sermon message to the new pastor, the members of his two congregations, and many visitors was “Preach Christ Crucified!”
Pastor and Mrs. (Christina) Jackson come to the CLC via a winding and difficult journey in both their personal and religious life. Their 25 year marriage has been blessed with three children. A son, Martin (wife Tammy), attends Bethany Lutheran Seminary. The Jacksons lost their two daughters, Bethany (age 6 1/2) and Erin (age 7 1/2), to a neurological degeneration disorder. While there is an enduring pain from such premature loss, it becomes obvious when visiting with Pastor and Mrs. Jackson that their faith in a loving and merciful God in Christ Jesus has been their and their children’s staff and stay all along the way. (The parents have written a book Angel Joy describing Bethany and Erin.)
Mrs. Jackson suffers from a physical disability of her own. In this regard, Pastor Jackson noted: “The parsonage in New Ulm is perfect for Chris, so she can stay on one floor. In the addition, the members have improved the home in numerous ways to help her out. Her health insurance situation will improve dramatically, and she will be able to use the Mayo Clinic.”
The path by which the Lord has led Pastor Jackson into the CLC ministry also reveals some real struggles of faith. Both Pastor and Mrs. Jackson earned degrees from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois in 1969. In 1972 Jackson graduated from Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. He later studied and/or earned degrees from the Gestalt Institute, Yale, Notre Dame (Ph. D.), Concordia Theological Seminary, and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Before joining the CLC ministerium through colloquy, Pastor Jackson had served congregations in the former Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in Ohio and Michigan, and subsequently joined the Wisconsin Synod (WELS) through colloquy.
When asked for some personal comments about the journey that has led him to the CLC, Pastor Jackson remarked: “We enjoy being part of the CLC. The pastors have been great to us, and the members of both congregations have been very considerate.” As one who can speak from widespread personal experience while seeking an orthodox confessional fellowship, Jackson added: “The best part about being in the CLC is the constant quest to study the doctrines of the Bible and apply them properly. The result of this is a closeness and unity which is only a memory in most of Lutheranism.”
Largely as a result of his studies and his determined search to find a synodical fellowship which is true to confessional Lutheranism, Pastor Jackson has written a couple of theological books we have personally seen and read — and highly recommend — these books. They are: Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure (1991) and Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant (1993). Both books are helpful especially to those who are searching for resource material which is apologetic to — in defense of — genuine Reformation Lutheranism.
When you are passing through New Ulm, we are sure Pastor and Mrs. Jackson would be happy to have you stop in for a visit and to share with you their many experiences along faith’s often difficult and winding, but ultimately triumphant path.
We rejoice that the Lord of the Church has them into our Christian fellowship. We pray that the Lord would richly bless them and the two Faith congregations.
— Pastor Paul Fleischer