HACKENSACK, N.J. — After nearly 36 years as the pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Gregory Jackson will retire at year’s end.

At the Oct. 29 council meeting, the governing body bestowed Jackson with a proclamation for his service at the Central Avenue church which works to provide “meaningful and transformative” services that fuse traditional and contemporary worship while exposing congregants to African-American and Christian protestant heritages.

“It’s been a wonderful journey these past almost 36 years being here in Hackensack,” said Jackson. “I came when I was 33 years old thinking I knew everything, and learning that I knew very little. But I am so grateful of the people I have met over the years and the various mayors, councilpersons and citizens of our community.”

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Deputy Mayor David Sims was especially grateful to Jackson as he recalled running into him in town and getting his blessing to run for city council.  

Mayor John Labrosse, on behalf of the council, thanked Jackson for “providing leadership and spiritual guidance” in “inspiring the community to generously give to people domestically and internationally, while encouraging them to be politically aware and seek justice for people worldwide.”

Jackson has served for more than 20 years on the Bergen County Council of Churches. He was president of the Fellowship of Black Churches in addition to serving as president of the Hackensack Board of Education and a member of the Hackensack Housing Authority.  

“Thank you for this honor,” said Jackson who was in attendance with his wife. “We’re grateful we’re living in a city that we feel is safe, and we feel is a good place to raise our children. My children were educated here. I’m grateful for the investment in our family, and we try to invest in our community because we love our community.”

The father of three said he plans to spend his retirement being with his grandchildren and attending to missionary work around the world.