One of Houston’s most legendary and iconic ministers has died.
Pastor Dr. Charles Lewis (C.L.) Jackson, longtime pastor of the historical 144-year-old Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, located in the heart of Fifth Ward, passed away this past Sunday, December 18, 2016. He was 80.
Pastor C.L. Jackson preached over 54 years, having served the last 47 years as pastor at Pleasant Grove. He served as a mentor for Pastors and Preachers all over the world. Pastor C.L. Jackson has traveled with former President William Clinton on a good will tour of Abuja, Nigeria, Arauca, Tanzania, Cairo and Egypt. He was also inducted into the Martin Luther King Hall of Preachers at the prestigious Morehouse College.
Pastor C.L. Jackson authored over 21 books, multiple audio and visual programs, and during his tenure as Pastor, he defied the odds of many by becoming the first pastoral architect of one of the largest churches in the Greater Houston area during the 1970s, after designing and building a beautiful dome shaped sanctuary located in the middle of Fifth Ward.
Pastor C.L. Jackson later went on to build a gym for the community which is known as The Family Life Center for recreation. During these times of construction, Pastor C.L. Jackson wore many hats. Not only was he responsible for teaching God’s Word to all members of the Pleasant Grove family, and the community, he was also responsible for the training of all Sunday School teachers, deacons, sons in the ministry and the soul-winning team at Pleasant Grove.
The programs and ministries that Pastor C.L. Jackson implemented during his tenure include: Television Ministry; Prison Ministry; Bus Ministry; Radio Ministry; Annual Prayer Bowl; Street Ministry; Evangelism; Pleasant Grove Day Care Center; Pleasant Grove Drill Squad; A. A. McCardell Academy; After-School Program; Album and Tape Ministry; Publication Ministry; Bible Book Store; and the Pleasant Grove Family Life Center.
One of the things Pastor C.L. Jackson was most proud of was being selected and honored on May 18, 2012, by the Forward Times, as one of the very first Hall of Fame Pastor Honorees during the 2012 Visionary Pastor’s Awards ceremony.
Pastor C.L. Jackson was not your average minister of the gospel. He took many risks and was criticized by many for his unconventional methods and decisions.
Most Houstonians remember Pastor C.L. Jackson as being the only Black minister bold enough to allow the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan to come to his church and draw thousands of people to a rally to promote the first Million Man March in 1995.
“The Houston Father of the Million Man March has returned to Allah (God),” said Student Minister Dr. Robert Muhammad. “I will always love and honor this preacher of the Gospel. He is a man’s man.”
Under Pastor C.L. Jackson’s leadership, Pleasant Grove became the place in Houston where the infamous attorney who represented O.J. Simpson, the late Johnnie Cochran, came to speak to the church’s congregation. Under Pastor C.L. Jackson’s leadership, Pleasant Grove has also been the example many other churches have used to imitate its structural design. The church has also served as an example to reach out to your fellow man in need, whereas the church and its leadership happily opened its doors to New Orleans Katrina victims, providing Red Cross assistance, housing, clothing, food and most of all, the comforting Word of God.
Pastor C.L. Jackson served as a pillar for not only the Fifth Ward community, but also, the world. He worked as a board member on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He also was a member of the Baptist Ministers Association; the Independent Baptist Ministers Association; the Texas State Chaplains Association; and the Harris County Council of Organizations. Pastor C.L. Jackson also served as a former board member of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority; board member of the Disaster Team of the American Red Cross; and also served as a council member of the Harris County Citizen Corporation.
Pastor C.L. Jackson received his Bachelor of Theology Degree from the Institutional Baptist Theological Center, Inc., The Doctor of Divinity from the Mount Hope Bible College and a Doctor of Law from the Union Baptist Bible College and Seminary. He leaves to mourn his loving wife of 62 years, Bettie Joyce Edmond Jackson; his children, Pastor Sheldon L. Jackson and Bridgette C. Jackson-Ceaser; and his grandchildren, Shannon Jackson and Charleigh Ceaser.
The memorial service for Pastor C.L. Jackson will be held on Sunday, January 1, 2016, from 6:00-9:00 PM at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 2801 Conti Street, Houston, TX 77020. The funeral will also be held at Pleasant Grove on Monday, January 2, 2016, at 11:00 AM. His final resting place will be at Golden Gate Cemetery, located in Houston, TX.
The Forward Times extends our deepest condolences to the family of Pastor C.L. Jackson, as well as to the congregation of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.