Stephen Jackson, MDiv
Southeastern Regional Medical Center
"There’s camaraderie and a great feeling of hope here."
- Rev. Stephen Jackson, MDiv
- Master of Divinity – Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia
- BS, Business Administration and Real Estate – University of Georgia, Atlanta
- Ordained - First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta
Practicing Since: 1996
Reverend Stephen Jackson often tells patients, “I’ve been where you are.” Indeed, Rev. Jackson was as close to cancer as someone can get without having it.
When his father, Gordon, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1994, Rev. Jackson uprooted his New York City life to return home to Atlanta and be by his father’s side. He saw firsthand the stress that cancer patients experience, becoming his father’s advocate and navigating his father’s care along with his own emotions.
The year his father died, 1996, Rev. Jackson took up his lifelong calling of pastoral care and led the Stephen Ministry Program at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. In that ministry, Rev. Jackson trained other church members to offer support to those in the congregation who had experienced a death of a loved one, divorce or illness.
He then pursued his Master of Divinity at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. During Rev. Jackson’s studies, he had an internship at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, where he ran a homeless shelter for eight men, visited patients at hospitals and residents of nursing homes, and developed partnerships with smaller churches in Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens. Rev. Jackson studied at Westminster College at Cambridge University in England as part of his graduate program, as well. He earned his degree in 2002 and was ordained in 2006 at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta.
Rev. Jackson’s career has focused mostly on marketing, sales and property development. But he knew since childhood that he wanted to minister to others. When Rev. Jackson learned about the chaplain position at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), he reflected back on his father’s battle with cancer. It was a significant part of his desire to work here. He joined CTCA® in August 2012.
At CTCA, Rev. Jackson said he approaches patient care with empathy because of his family’s experience with cancer. “I know this curveball, this cancer affects every member of the family,” he says. “I make myself available to cancer patients and to family members who may need a separate time to meet with me.”
Rev. Jackson meets patients as soon as they come to CTCA. As part of our integrative model of care, he’s part of the medical team that works with each patient. He wants patients to know that a chaplain isn’t just for emergencies but that he’s there for patients throughout their journey – from intake to surgery to radiation or other treatments.
At its core, Rev. Jackson sees his work as helping patients connect with their own spirituality and as serving as a conduit for their Creator. He offers his patients hope from theological perspective.
“We talk about God always being with us. If we forget there are miracles, we have to remember that we are one,” he says. “My perspective is that God can heal now, can take His time, or we are made whole once we meet our Creator face to face. From that perspective, we win either way.”
Outside of work, Rev. Jackson is an avid writer and is working on a historical fiction novel. He swims and exercises at the gym to reduce stress.