Reverend Brian Jackson – 3 May 1946 to 6 October 2017
Brian was welcomed into the arms of our Heavenly Father on Friday 6 October, after a long and trying battle with ill health. Faithful servant, beloved soulmate of Moira, adored daddy of Sarah and Kathryn, and loved and respected father-in-law of Matt Chernishov and Thomas McGrath. Brian served in the Diocese as the Vicar of St Paul’s Waiwhetu (2004-2008), the final chapter of his vibrant and faithful ministry in South Africa and New Zealand. He pastored so many with a heart of love and humility, and will be greatly missed.
A Requiem Mass and Service of Thanksgiving for Brian’s life will be held in St Paul’s Anglican Church, Waiwhetu Road, Lower Hutt, on Wednesday 11 October at 1.30pm. All welcome to attend and clergy are not to robe.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Eulogy for (Walter) Brian Jackson:
How to confine to the rigidity of type a personality that defies definition, for whom the world was a dynamic laboratory filled with exciting people to meet, amazing places to explore, endless things to do and ever new learning to acquire?
Born in Durban, South Africa, Brian was amongst the early post war babies coming into a world scarred and traumatised by 5 years of horrific warfare. Scars and trauma that reflected upon the family lives of ten’s of thousands of returned servicemen all over the world, his family included. His call name honoured a maternal uncle killed in Libya during the war. As a consequence of wartime experiences as a bomber pilot, the siblings grew up with a father married to his work and with little idea about how to relate to two sons as teenagers, resulting in Brian and his younger brother going to boarding school for the final 3 years of High School. Sport became his escape.
A member of his High School’s athletics team and a founder member of the Squash Club, Tennis also enabled expenditure of boundless energy but soccer was his team sport. Throughout his school years his reports had read, “Could do much better if he paid attention in class and completed work.” Surprising comments reflected on 50 years later, after three post graduate degrees and a second Master’s underway, two successful careers, the first in business and the second, his call to Ordained Ministry that he considered a vocation not a career. As a Commerce student at Natal University, Brian was selected to represent middle and long distance cross-country in Springbok colours for two years, captaining the team in his second year. Squash continued to be a close competitor. Running remained a joy for Brian who preferred marathons that were sponsored, the money going to a specific project aimed at improving the quality of life of others.
During an Internship as a Personnel Consultant in London, he explored a burgeoning faith with greater questioning and, some months later, after conversations with a visiting South African Bishop, an arch anti-apartheid protagonist, Brian was on his way to Theological College in Oxford. He graduated with an Oxbridge qualification after 3 halcyon years where the sole purpose of study was the understanding of ancient text and sacred writings in order to be able to interpret the treasures of Holy Scripture with accurate authenticity, and spiritual growth that was nurtured by saintly mentors. An additional bonus was many long lasting friendships amongst the “Colonials” at Wycliffe Hall. Amongst those from New Zealand were Reverend Michael Watson, ex Berhampore now retired to Auckland, and our former Archbishop, David Moxon.
Brian returned to South Africa in 1977 and a Curacy in the Diocese of Port Elizabeth based in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, where we met. We were married less than 2 years later and I quickly came to accept we would be a family under public scrutiny, “owned” by many yet belonging nowhere. Before Brian’s devastating diagnosis, we were blessed with 30 years of extraordinarily happy marriage that included much post graduate study in the field of Old and New Testament, Missiology and Clinical Pastoral Studies; producing and raising two cherished and respected daughters alongside successfully building up 3 large parishes in South Africa as Rector; establishing and lecturing in a Theological Education by Extension College that would enable lay people who were testing a call to full time ministry, to stay within their home parishes, partnering the establishment of a Spiritual Directors training process, leading 4 – 8 day Directed Retreats, and supporting the ordination of the first South African women to the Priesthood.
All this while maintaining a quiet, unflinching anti-apartheid stance that resulted in personal threats, missing mail and tapped ‘phone lines for 15 years yet during never allowing the political situation to blunt his enthusiasm for making a difference in peoples lives wherever he could including as a Rotarian. In 1997 we, explored and answered a call to serve in New Zealand. The first 6 years were as Vicar of St John’s, Te Awamutu where he quickly became involved with Anglican Renewal Ministries (pre New Wine), motivated for and actively supported the “Hikoi of Hope” and historical reconciliation of decades of blighted relationships over St Paul’s Rangiaowhia, then oversaw the 150th Celebrations of the establishment of St John’s Church before accepting the call to St Paul’s Waiwhetu. An all too brief 3½ years at St Paul’s Waiwhetu followed when he also joined TSSF, before an alarming nocturnal cerebrovascular event triggered an investigation that lead to the devastating diagnosis of a neurodegenerative condition some 10 years ago, ultimately bringing his life’s calling to an untimely end.
Throughout it all though, Brian never lost the essence of who he was; thoughtful, considerate, kind, attentive, generous of self and respecting of others, quick to humour, slow to anger and always ready to encourage and support others. Last Friday night our family lost our beloved husband, father, brother, brother-in-law but we cannot begrudge the Peace he knows now and will be forever grateful for the incredibly rich lives we led because we belonged together. Rest eternal grant unto your faithful servant O Lord and may your light perpetual shine upon him.