Rev. Thomas C. Jackson, Priest-In-Charge NEW HAVEN - - - A Fair Haven activist turned Episcopal Priest is the new priest in charge of New Haven’s historic St. Luke’s Church on Whalley Avenue. The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson has been appointed to serve the congregation by the Right Reverend Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. St. Luke’s is the third oldest African American congregation in the Episcopal Church. The Church draws its members primarily from New Haven’s African American and Caribbean American communities. Several times a year the St. Luke’s Steel Band provides music for a Caribbean Mass at the church.
“St. Luke’s has an amazing history and heritage which we are building upon as we search for ways to be church in 21st century New Haven," Fr. Jackson said. “As an Episcopal Church, we work to create community by doing things together. The people of St. Luke’s come together twice each Sunday for worship that is open to all. During the week our work ranges from building affordable housing through the St. Luke’s Development Corporation to St. Luke’s Community Services programs that feed the hungry, help families through our Diaper Bank, and offer clothing through our Clothes Closet. Our building serves as a community resource serving groups ranging from Sisters’ Journey, a caring and powerful support group for breast cancer survivors, their family, and their friends, to the PALS tutoring and mentoring effort that allows Yale students to develop one-on-one relationships with children from the New Haven area and monthly meetings of the Greater New Haven NAACP.”
Fr. Jackson first moved to New Haven in 1980. He was an incorporator and founding president of the New Haven Land Trust and an incorporator and founding secretary of the New Haven Gay & Lesbian Community Center which is now the New Haven Pride Center.
As the first public relations director of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority he led the team that established the first permanent collection center for household hazardous waste in Connecticut, HazWaste Central. He also developed the RWA’s water education program and created their Whitney Water Center near the base of the Lake Whitney Dam.
He began his career as a journalist, becoming the first reporter covering a statewide environmental beat while writing for The Meriden Record-Journal. His work included the first report on a trip from the headwaters of the Quinnipiac River to its terminus in New Haven Harbor. His reporting was honored by the Associated Press and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He also wrote for The Hour of Norwalk, The Bridgeport Post-Telegram, and the Westport Fairpress. His writing also appeared in the Hartford Advocate and the Connecticut section of the New York Times.
He served as Vice President of The Oceanic Society, a staff position with this maritime conservation organization. He also was a board member of The Connecticut Audubon Society, a board member of the Long Island Sound Taskforce, and member of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality. New Haven’s first African-American Mayor, John Daniels, appointed Fr. Jackson to the New Haven Board of Education where he led a building assessment study which served as the basis for the rebuilding of New Haven’s public schools.
In 2003 Fr. Jackson moved to California and attended seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He was ordained deacon and priest in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. After ordination, he served as the Episcopal Chaplain at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto for eight years. He also served as Vicar of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco for five years before returning to New Haven in 2019.
Fr. Jackson’s daughters attended and graduated from the New Haven Public Schools. He and his husband, attorney Alexander Han, live in Fair Haven.