Distinguished Alums 2004
February 24, 2004
Darrell Lamar Jackson
Darrell Lamar Jackson was born in Chicago on June 4, 1952 to the late Pastor Abraham Patterson Jackson, a 1945 graduate of Garrett Biblical Institute, and the late Harriet Coskrey Jackson. He graduated from Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology in 1975 and from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1981 with a master of divinity degree.
For more than a decade, Jackson has been senior pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, Chicago, succeeding his father and grandfather (Durmon Zollie Jackson) in a family role that has lasted over 75 years. Established in 1918, Liberty Baptist was in the forefront of the Black civil rights movement and served as the Chicago headquarters for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Committed to serving the needs of the community, Jackson’s outreach ministries include couples, singles, teens, aging, grief and after-care ministry, substance and alcohol abuse, and New Horizons Ministry for widows and widowers. Additionally, he helped lead the effort to establish Vision House, a residence for homeless families and people battling AIDS. Residents of the formerly abandoned four-story, 25-unit apartment building have access to drug counseling, support groups and mental health services on site. Jackson also collaborated with Illinois State Senator Margaret Smith to fund a day care center at Vision House. Vision House, its partnership with Liberty Baptist Church, and Jackson’s leadership role were featured in the article “Sanctuary,” which appeared in the February 29, 2004, issue of the Chicago Tribune Magazine. The article highlighted Black churches that are responding to the needs of AIDS victims.
Jackson has been a member of the minister’s council of Chicago’s third and fourth wards, the Lou Rawls Tobacco Road Foundation, and Hirsch High School council. He was president of the Hirsch alumni association and chaired the United Negro College Fund telethon church committee from 1991-94. Additionally, he has been a motivational speaker for youth.
He served on the State of Illinois Committee for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday, was a former chaplain of the Cook County Correctional Center in conjunction with the One Church-One Inmate prison ministry, and was featured in Dr. Henry Young’s book The Clergy and Harold Washington.
Jackson helped to establish the Abraham Patterson Jackson scholarship at the seminary and has acted for many years as supervisor to Garrett-Evangelical field education students serving at Liberty Baptist Church. He has been married to Michele Bullock for 23 years, and they have one son, Maurice Patterson Jackson.
Marcus J. Blaising
Originally from Goshen, Indiana, Marcus J. Blaising met Nona Louise Cochran from Port Angeles, Washington, in the seminary’s library. They were married within the year and this year celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. In 1955, he received the bachelor of divinity degree from Garrett Biblical Institute.
Blaising’s first call was to South Milford Wayne Center Methodist Church, South Milford, Indiana (1952-56). From there, he served Indiana United Methodist congregations in Fort Wayne (1956-64), Noblesville (1964-69), and Elkhart (1975-86). Under his leadership, these congregations grew in membership, stewardship, and missional support. His ministry also included several building programs. From 1969-75, he was district superintendent for the New Castle district. In that capacity he supervised the ministry of 68 churches with 15,000 members. He was executive assistant to Bishops Leroy Hodapp and Woodie White from 1986 until Blaising’s retirement in 1994.
Serving the church-at-large, Blaising held memberships on the General Council of Finance and Administration and the General Board of Pensions of The United Methodist Church and was a delegate to three general conferences and four jurisdictional conferences. In 1992 he was an episcopal candidate.
Blaising has given leadership to over 244 finance campaigns, raising $45 million, and has participated in preaching missions to Mexico and Chile. He was a leader in the development of “Operation Classroom,” which built schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone. He participated in tours to China and Russia and has traveled in 31 countries. For several years, he has taught classes in church finance at Methodist Theological School in Ohio.
His service to the community includes board memberships of Ball State Wesley Foundation, Bashor Children’s Home, Wesley Manor, Franklin Community Methodist Home, Elkhart General Hospital, Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and the Samaritan Center.
Blaising received the bachelor of arts degree from Albion College, Albion, Michigan, in 1952. Honorary doctor of divinity degrees were bestowed by DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, in 1971, and the University of Indianapolis in 1986. He has also studied at Yale University and the University of Edinborough, Scotland. In honor of his distinguished ministry, a scholarship was established at Garrett-Evangelical in 1987 by his friends and colleagues.
Having retired from full-time ministry, Blaising and his wife live in Sarasota, Florida, and Indianapolis, where they both continue to serve God through work at their local churches, serving meals at homeless shelters, and supporting the Oaks Academy, an inner city Christian school in Indianapolis. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.