Brookside Congregational Church welcomes new pastor

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Brookside Congregational Church welcomes Pastor Eric Jackson.

MANCHESTER, NH – Brookside Congregational Church today announces it has appointed Rev. Eric Jackson to serve as pastor beginning April 4, 2017

“Brookside Church has a rich history of serving the Manchester community and I am excited to lead that effort, ” said Rev. Eric Jackson, incoming pastor at Brookside Congregational Church.  “I’m also very glad to be a resident of Manchester having spent many a Sunday afternoon downtown, having lunch and reading the paper.  It’s a fantastic place to live and work.”  

Rev. Jackson replaces Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt who was serving as interim pastor after the Rev. Dr. Dawn Berry retired after 7 years of service on December 31, 2015.

Members of the church formed a search committee to find a pastor that would be a good fit for the church.

“The search committee found that Pastor Eric is a very passionate and gifted preacher.  He has many talents and is a deeply religious person,” said Bob Merrill, member of the Brookside Church Search Committee.  “His interests in coming to Brookside have many of the same goals that the congregation has adopted.  Our desire for justice, to be open and affirming, mission, community outreach, love and growth are among those goals.  For these and others reasons we asked him to come to Brookside,” Mr. Merrill added.

Prior to joining Brookside Church, Rev. Jackson served as pastor of Smith Memorial Church, United Church of Christ in Hillsborough, NH.  Prior to that, he served as community minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City.  While in this position, he was introduced to the United Church of Christ denomination and found a spiritual home within it because of its commitment to theological diversity, democratic church governance, and social change.  He began his career as the associate pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church in New York, NY.

Rev. Jackson currently serves on the Annual Planning Committee of The New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Executive Committee of the Hillsborough Association. 

While he is new to Brookside Church, he is not new to Manchester, as he serves as president of the Greater Manchester NAACP and has been a member since 2014.  Rev. Jackson will be the first African-American Senior Pastor at Brookside Church.

Rev. Jackson holds a Master of Divinity from the Theological School of Drew University based in Madison, NJ. He is currently earning a Doctor of Ministry at Hartford Seminary of Hartford, CT.

Rev. Jackson’s first Sunday will be Palm Sunday, April 9

“Easter is the time of resurrection – as Christ rose again, it is a time where we can anticipate the resurrection of hopes and dreams. It is also a time to shine the light of God’s love within the community, in a world where many feel isolated and disconnected,” said Rev. Jackson.  “Join us this Lenten Season and help us sing hosanna together and celebrate the hope that the resurrection of Jesus can bring to your life.” he said.

The full Lenten Season schedule is as follows:

  • Palm Sunday: April 9 – 10 a.m. – Worship Service 
  • Maundy Thursday: April 13 – 5:30 p.m. – Light supper in Fellowship Hall; 7 p.m. – Service of Holy Communion and Tenebrae, Sanctuary (child care available). Tenebrae is a very moving service of scripture readings accompanied by the gradual extinguishing of lights. The readings commemorate the events of the final three days of Jesus’ life and death. When the sanctuary is in total darkness, it reminds the worshippers of Jesus’ time in the tomb before his resurrection. At the end of the service, one candle is lit as the sign of Easter hope, and the congregation leaves quietly.
  • Good Friday: April 14 – 6 p.m. – Prayer Walk with Cross – this is the fifth year of this meditative Good Friday experience.  We will start at the Sanctuary front steps of the church and walk while some carry a large wooden cross. The group will walk in silence, stopping at certain places along the way to offer prayers and change cross bearers. The walk is weather permitting and alternatively a service is held inside the church.
  • Saturday: April 15 – 11 a.m. – The Friends of Stark Park will once again present Stark Park’s community Easter egg hunt.  Everyone is welcome to grab your baskets and hop over to Stark Park for the annual Easter Egg Hunt EGGS-travaganza. The hunt begins at 11:00 am sharp for all children under the age of 8 years old. Come early for face-painting, festivities, and special guests. River Road will be closed between Rowell and Readey Street, so please plan to park on Elm Street. The event happens rain, shine, or snow. More information is available here.  
  • Easter Sunday: April 16 – 6 a.m. – For the first time Easter Sunrise Service will be held at Stark Park, meeting near the Gazebo.  Coffee and donuts will be provided following the service. 8 to 9 a.m. – Pancake breakfast in church fellowship hall (2013 Elm St.) Cost is $5 per person, $15 family maximum. 10 a.m. Easter worship service in the church sanctuary with the Brookside Choirs and the Nottingham Brass.

For more information, please visit the Brookside Church website at:

Brookside Congregational Church is an open and affirming congregation, embracing diversity and affirming the dignity and worth of every person. The church invites everyone to join in the common life and mission of reconciling community through participation and leadership in its congregation, and by fully sharing in the worship, rites and sacraments of  the church. Brookside Congregational Church is a member of the United Church of Christ, the Hillsborough Association, the NH Conference, and United Church of Christ. For more information please visit Brookside Congregational Church online. 

About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!