Installation of Fr. Dana Jackson as Rector of St. Stephen’s the Martyr, London, England
By Edye Jackson; photos by Lilia Gamboa
On Sunday the 15th of February, 2015, the parish of St. Stephen the Martyr in London, UK, rejoiced to see Fr. Dana Jackson installed as their new rector. Bishop Elmer Belmonte of the European diocese presided at the service, with Fr. Donn Bautista, founder of St. Stephen’s in 1995 and currently rector of St. Paul’s CEC in Paris, France, presenting Fr. Dana to the bishop. Attending clergy were, Deacons Andrew Gossage and Dado Macasling of St. Stephens, Fr. Marco Lopes of St. Stephen’s, and Deacon Gregorio Fernandez of the CEC mission church in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Fr. Dana personally selected the music for the service, beginning with a pre-recorded “sung prayer” Breathe On Us Again (Steve Fry), and the worship team, under the direction of Fr. Dana’s wife Edye Jackson, led everyone in an enthusiastic singing of He Reigns (Taylor/Furler) as the processional, through which Bishop Elmer’s directive to St. Stephen’s was clearly announced: to reach out to this city that is home to literally “every tribe, every tongue, every nation.”
The institution of the new rector began with Fr. Dana and the attending deacons reaffirming their vows to Bishop Elmer, followed by an anthem from American hymnody called Trust and Obey (Towner/Sammis), with Mr. Sean Detmers in full Scottish regalia leading on bagpipes. Bishop Elmer’s homily spoke of faithfulness and integrity, and his prayer exclaimed prophetically “Let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new.”
The Holy Eucharist was concelebrated by Bishop Elmer and Fr Dana. At the close of the Eucharist came the traditional CEC anthem, Non Nobis Domine (Patrick Doyle) employing a flag made especially for this service by Zion Fire, a ministry of Helena and Dean Thomas at the Cathedral in Olathe, Kansas. Fr. Dana sang the opening solo while holding the St. George flag erect, then, as the congregation joined in for several repetitions, the flag was masterfully waved in a procession of joyous victory up and down the center isle of the church.
All were recessed while singing Robin Mark’s Revival – “As sure as gold is precious and the honey sweet, so You love this city and You love these streets… I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones, You’re gonna send revival, bring them all back home.” Clearly the entire service resonated with the ethos of Isaiah 61, particularly verse 4, Fr. Dana’s “life verse” –
And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
The fulfillment of “old… being made new” is particularly poignant for Fr. Dana, who has sensed the call to serve God in the United Kingdom for well over twenty years; he himself has grown older and wiser in the carrying of this word from the Lord, through serving as a deacon at the Cathedral Church of the King in Olathe, Kansas, then at St. Jerome’s CEC Mission in Kansas City, Missouri; then again at the Cathedral, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 2003 and where he continued to serve until 2010 when he moved his family to the east coast and assisted Fr. Tim Illsley at Church of the Holy Spirit, Stephen City, Virginia, and more recently Fr. Jim Ball and Fr. Charles Glantzburg at Church of the Holy Apostles, Westminster, Maryland. He has now been brought into this new place of service, that by God’s grace he may lead this twenty year old congregation of mostly Filipino faithful in a new direction, that of drawing all ethnicities, ages, social stratas and cultural backgrounds into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, along with a vibrant and rich expression of Christian worship, fellowship and discipleship.