Bishop Harry Jackson stopped going to church when he was thirteen. He began playing football and dropped out of the church choir. He graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he played football.
He tried out for the New England Patriots but didn’t make the team. After his father died, Bishop Jackson rededicated his life and decided to become a Christian minister. Bishop Jackson got married after graduating from college and was accepted into Harvard Business College. However, since he had already become licensed to preach Bishop Jackson turned Harvard down and decided to go to divinity school.
Circumstances prevented him from attending divinity school so after writing an apology letter to Harvard requesting admittance a second time, they accepted him again — this time with all tuition paid during his first year. After getting his MBA from Harvard, Bishop Jackson had the opportunity to work for a Wall Street company, but he said no after much prayer and consideration.
He and his wife moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he preached in the inner city. Soon he took a job at Corning Glass in Corning, New York, and preached in his free time. There he founded a church called the Christian Hope Center, and his parishioners were mostly white. “We really broke racial barriers for a black man pastoring white people in 1981,” he says.
During his time in Corning he says, “God increased my capacity to love the white people in my church.” In his congregation were white farmers who grew up in Appalachian poverty. God convicted him and dealt with his heart over his racial and class issues. Bishop Jackson was recruited to Beltsville, Maryland to take over Hope Christian Church.