A Legacy of Leadership

Date Posted: 12/13/2012

It is likely that thousands of people of all ages praise God for having allowed them to know Reverend Perrie Joy Jackson. Although her earthly life ended on December 1, her legacy of leadership -- in ministry to children and adults -- spanned many decades as a godly example of courage and selfless dedication.


With an impressive list of “firsts,” Reverend Jackson was a true trailblazing pioneer in life and in the faith. Those who knew Perrie in the early 1950s had already noticed her natural ability to lead. As a native of the island, she was a product of Galveston’s educational institutions graduating as Valedictorian of the class of 1953 of Central High School and soon thereafter became the first African-American female to be accepted and to graduate from Perkins School of Theology. In 1957, she became the first woman granted to preach in what is now the Texas Conference (previously the Gulf Coast Conference). Among her list of lifelong accomplishments: Reverend Jackson was the first African-American ordained in the Texas Conference as a deacon in 1962 and an elder in 1967. In addition, she served as the Founding pastor at First UMC Prairie View and in Galveston County as a pastor in Hitchcock, Texas City and Galveston, and also was a former educator and member of the Galveston Retired Teachers.


A lifelong member of Wesley Tabernacle in Galveston, she received her call to ministry there and, as the longest tenured pastor there, retired in 2005– with 43 years of service as a Methodist pastor, more than any woman to date in conference history.


“After her retirement Rev. Jackson continued to teach children’s Sunday School and sing in the choir in addition to continuing to coordinate the Saturday Morning Community Breakfast which was started while she was the pastor,” notes Pastor Arrington, who led Reverend Jackson’s touching reflection service at Wesley Tabernacle UMC. She was laid to rest in Lakeview Cemetery.

“What a remarkable Christian woman, pastor and servant of Christ,” says Bishop Janice Huie. “Very few people have broken more barriers than she did. While we are saddened by her passing, we celebrate both her legacy and that she is at home with Jesus to whom she gave her life.”