In announcing Fr. Tom’s appointment as Vicar of St. Cyprian’s, Bishop Marc Handley Andrus wrote:
“It is with joy that I appoint The Rev. Thomas Jackson as the next Vicar of St. Cyprian’s. It was a surprise to all of us when in June of 2013, your former vicar resigned. It was my hope that the transition to a new vicar would not take this long, but over that time you have come to know Tom, and now I feel he is the right priest for your congregation at this time. And I’m glad to have the agreement and support of your Bishop’s Committee for Tom as your vicar.” You can read the full letter from Bishop Marc here. In response, Fr. Tom wrote:
“I am humbled and challenged by the decisions of the Search and Bishop’s Committees to call me as their new Vicar. I deeply appreciate our Bishop’s confidence and his support for a St. Cyprian’s which is embedded in our neighborhood and building on our heritage. Since October of 2013 I have served as your interim Vicar. In that time we have made a great deal of progress. We’ve strengthened our partnerships with organizations ranging from Simply Sandwiches and SF Live Arts to Episcopal Senior Communities and The Village Project. We’ve launched the Free Friday Jazz Jam, tried out different ways of worshiping, and welcomed a new grand piano to our sanctuary. Working together we have invited Sophia in Trinity to worship here and are now talking with the University of San Francisco about increasing their use of our kitchen as a teaching space. I am especially pleased at the opportunity we now have to continue growing our Cyprian’s Center ARC program.”
As the Vicar at St. Cyprian’s, I lead worship, preach, coordinate our lay leaders, and offer pastoral care as well as spiritual guidance. I also coordinate the Cyprian’s Center/ARC program. I am trained as an interfaith chaplain and an Episcopal priest, I also serve as the part-time Episcopal Chaplain at Stanford University Hospital. Here at St. Cyprian’s, I view preaching the Gospel and leading worship as vitally important. In preaching I work to show how God is calling us to live a Christian life in a community where only seven percent of the people go to church on Sunday. By being a voice for progressive Christianity and leading traditional Anglican worship, we strive to offer a new spiritual way to those turned off by televangelists who blame every earthquake and tornado on same sex marriage. The God I know, the one who walks with me in this neighborhood and down long hospital corridors, does not punish people for believing in the equality of all of God’s children. You can find my sermons among these by our clergy posted on this web site. On our news site you can see how we live out in faith in daily life.
Pastoral care is a another major element of my life and work at St. Cyprian’s. I visit those who are not able to worship here or are in the hospital. I also look to build a vital relationship with each of our members as they search for their own spiritual path in this time and place. I am more interested in helping people find their spiritual way than I am in telling people what to believe or what God wants them to do. We reach out to and embrace our LGBT brothers and sisters who for far too long have been judged and wounded by others who claim to be Christian. That’s why I have worked with Oasis, our diocesan LGBT group, for the past decade – the photo at left shows one way we have brought a blessing to the people who line the route of San Francisco’s Pride Parade in recent years. In line with this, I work with both same sex couples and heterosexual as they prepare for to be married here at St. Cyprian’s. We often use the PREPARE/ENRICH program to meet the church’s requirement for premarital counseling. For more than 30 years, PREPARE/ENRICH has led the way in helping couples explore and strengthen their relationships.
I am also the proud father of two daughters: Emma who lives in Brooklyn and works as a project manager for a software company; and Abigail who lives in London, England with her husband. My husband and I live in the Bay Area. I always looking for a reason to have a cup of coffee and would love to meet you at the neighborhood coffee shop, the Matching Half, for caffeine and conversation. I became a priest after earlier career as an award winning journalist, community organizer, and public relations professional. A longtime resident of New Haven, Connecticut, I worked with Pete Seeger’s Sloop Clearwater before helping form the New Haven Land Trust as the first land trust in a Connecticut city. I also helped form the New Haven Gay & Lesbian Community Center, the Whitney Water Center for science education, and Haz Waste Central, Connecticut’s first permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center. I first visited the Bay Area while serving as a vice president of The Oceanic Society. While there I edited Coast Alert: Scientists Speak Out, published by Friends of the Earth Books and Nuclear Waste Management: The Ocean Alternative, published by the Pergamon Press. I hope you will visit St. Cyprian’s to see if we can help walk with you on your spiritual pilgrimage through life.
Fr. Tom Jackson