Longest serving Baptist Pastor in Milwaukee
The Rev. William Jackson was born the oldest of seven children and was raised on his grandfather’s farm in Alabama for the first 12 years of his life. That upbringing provided him with an early start when it came to both preaching and working.
“I’ve been preaching since I was 15 years old,” he said. “I also know what hard work is all about. We raised everything we needed on that farm. When I was 12-yearsold my great grandfather taught me how to pick cotton. I was born working.”
Pastor Jackson relocated to Milwaukee with his family at the age of 12. When he was 15 years old, he began preparing for ordination at Damascus Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee under the tutelage of the late Rev. M.F. Shackleford and he was ordained in 1965. For many years Pastor Jackson worked in sales, first at Gimbel’s for 26 years and then for 12 more years at a Boston Department Store.
On April 28, 1968, Pastor Jackson founded Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church first as a mission and the following year, it was organized as a church.
“When I first started Cornerstone, it was mostly family and then it grew from there,” he said. “People come and go, but we are still carrying on.”
Pastor Jackson believes he is the longest serving Baptist Pastor in Milwaukee and is hoping friends, family and colleagues will help him celebrate the 54th anniversary of his installation as a pastor at 3:30 pm on Sunday, December 4, 2022 at Rock Hill Community Baptist Church, 1200 West Burleigh Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
For the past 15 years or so, Pastor Jackson has relied on a motorized wheelchair to get around. He has been waiting for it to be repaired since September when it broke after many years of use. Pastor Jackson said he doesn’t spare a lot of pity for his own circumstances, but the lack of mobility does make it more difficult to achieve his goals and stay connected with friends and family.
“Usually when I want to go somewhere, I rely on Transit Plus to take me and pick me up,” he said. “When you have to depend on others for rides, errands and so on, you often have to wait for someone else. That’s just the way the system is set up and I’m grateful that I have friends and that there is a transit service that can assist.”
Pastor Jackson said that the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the closure of public worship at churches in Wisconsin, was a much harder blow to his ministry than being confined to a wheelchair. He expressed profound gratitude to his congregation and his many friends and supporters who have helped keep Cornerstone current on its bills and other obligations during the past three years.