Church and civil leaders across Saskatchewan and Canada paid tribute to Canon Michael Jackson, the Anglican Church of Canada’s longest-serving deacon, after his death on Nov. 22 at the age of 82.
Ordained in 1977, Jackson served as a deacon for 45 years. At the time of his death he was a member of the congregation at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Regina in the diocese of Qu’Appelle. Jackson was one of four deacons on the Anglican Church of Canada’s ordinal review task force, which is tasked with revising ordination liturgies in the Book of Alternative Services.
Anglican Deacons Canada (ADC) president Lisa Chisholm-Smith told the Journal Jackson had been “a role model, inspiration, and mentor to both aspirants to the diaconate and deacons across Canada.” She added, “His loss will be keenly felt by many deacons across Canada and by the whole church.”
For more than three decades, Jackson also worked as chief of protocol for the Saskatchewan government until his resignation in 2005, overseeing security, logistics and etiquette for diplomatic visits. In this role he organized royal trips to Canada, including three visits by Queen Elizabeth II in 1978, 1987 and 2005.
A Facebook post from St. Paul’s announcing Jackson’s death described him as “a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” “an invaluable member of our liturgical team and Cathedral family” and a “good and faithful servant.”
In a Facebook comment, Peter Elliott, retired dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, called Jackson “a groundbreaking deacon in the Anglican Church,” adding, “His memory is a blessing.”
Current and retired Saskatchewan public officials also mourned the late deacon. Ralph Goodale, former Liberal MP and leader of the Saskatchewan Liberals, tweeted, “Sad news … In addition to his dedication to the Anglican Church, Michael was also one of Canada’s finest protocol officers and a leading expert on the role, history and value of monarchy in CDN governance.”
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall called Jackson “a remarkable individual whose passion for dedication to his vocation, avocation, and to his province and country were manifest.” Jason Quilliam, who took over as Saskatchewan’s chief of protocol in 2012, described Jackson as “a giant in the protocol world” and a friend.
Among deacons, Jackson played a leading role in building ecumenical relationships. In 2018 he coordinated the International Anglican-Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic Conference on the Diaconate at the University of Regina. He later edited a book on the conference, The Diaconate in Ecumenical Perspective.
In 2017 Jackson received the Maylanne Maybee Award, which recognizes Canadian Anglican deacons for outstanding service, from ADC, then known as the Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada. In 2021, he was awarded the honourary degree of Doctor of Divinity from the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon.
A memorial service and celebration of Jackson’s life will be held at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Regina May 20.