“Lord, what will you have me do?” This question, taken from the motto of The Order of the Daughters of the King, served as the impetus for a life lived to the glory of God. Krisita Anne Jackson, who died Dec. 1 at age 71 in an Orlando hospital, was a gifted lay leader whose faith and administrative expertise propelled her into key roles at local, diocesan and national levels within The Episcopal Church and The Daughters of the King.
Jackson, a proud native Floridian and lifelong Episcopalian, grew up attending St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Fort Lauderdale, where she was baptized and confirmed. After graduating from Rollins College in Winter Park, she spent 26 years working in marketing and sales for BellSouth. But her lay leadership became both her passion and her legacy. An active member in her local parish, the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Orlando, she was a founding member of the Canon Nelson Pinder Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and past secretary of the Canterbury Conference Center Board. In 2018 she was elected president of the Central Deanery and member of the Diocesan Board for the Diocese of Central Florida. She presented both the Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Justin S. Holcomb, fourth and fifth bishops of the diocese, at their ordination and consecration services.
After joining the DOK in 1999, she became chapter president and was elected to the Diocesan Assembly of Central Florida DOK Board, where she served as secretary, second vice president and president. She was elected the first Black national president of the DOK at the organization’s 2018 Triennial Convention, going on to serve a historic four-year term and guiding the membership through the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, her signature “Conversations With Daughters,” monthly Zoom meetings open to Daughters across the U.S., allowed members to connect remotely through powerful spiritual teaching, prayer and discussion.
“My election as president is humbling,” Jackson told the Central Florida Episcopalian in 2018. “I never really imagined or aspired to hold this position. … I prayed and listened to hear what God was calling or not calling me to do.” When God pointed her to Isaiah 6:8, she responded in obedience.
Jackson was also elected three times as deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, serving as a member and secretary of the Privilege and Courtesy Committee of the 2015-2021 Convention and as secretary of the Black Caucus in 2018.
“The life and ministry of Krisita Jackson should be acknowledged and celebrated,” Holcomb said upon hearing of her death. “She was a matriarch not only of St. John the Baptist, Orlando, but also the Diocese of Central Florida and The Episcopal Church.
“Krisita was a supremely gifted lay leader,” he added. “Her exceptional skills, combined with her compassion, assertiveness, humor and poise, meant that peers and leadership alike respected and admired Krisita. Service to the diocese and the wider church were her ministry and calling. … I don’t use the language of ‘saint’ lightly, but when I think of Krisita, the image of a saint comes to mind.”
“Krisita was the heart and soul of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, where she served in various ministries, including senior warden,” said the church’s rector, the Rev. Charles T. Myers. “She embodied the spirit of the Daughters of the King through her prayers for those around her, service for others and heart for evangelism, welcoming others into the community of faith. I will miss her wisdom in our conversations; her knowledge of the church, both nationally and locally; and her presence at the church, in our community and with our family.”
As news of Jackson’s death spread, tributes and condolences poured in from diocesan and denominational friends and colleagues. The National DOK released a statement that said in part: “During her term, she [made] a statement about who Daughters are just by being herself, bringing her perspective, talents, and faith journey to the role. We were blessed to have Krisita’s leadership during the national outrage sparked by the killings of George Floyd and others.”
“Krisita had an indomitable spirit,” said Brewer, whom Jackson appointed as national DOK chaplain during her presidency. “She took on significant responsibilities with panache. She was a true prayer warrior with an abiding faith in the goodness of a God who acts on our behalf. … She was both a true realist as well as courageously faithful. I look forward to rejoicing with her in heaven.”
“I am deeply saddened at the death of Krisita Jackson,” said the Rev. Canon Ernie Bennett, former canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of Central Florida. “Krisita was a remarkable woman and a good friend. … it was a privilege to have known her and to have worked with her. She was fun to be around, yet I was always aware of her keen insight and down-to-earth attitude. She touched so many lives for good in the name of Jesus.”
Central Florida DOK President Nadine Craig also benefited from Jackson’s faith, wisdom and encouragement. In a message to the diocesan DOK about her death, Craig wrote, “Many times when I did not have the confidence to take on a particular challenge, she would say to me, ‘You don’t have to go it alone! You have gifted people all around you to help you, and God is with you. He will provide what you need!’”
“I am certain that the gates of heaven are wide open for our precious Krisita,” Craig added. “We are grieving but we know that she is rejoicing – fully healed and whole and caught up in the loving arms of her precious Savior. Thanks be to God for her beautiful life and inspiring example.”
Funeral arrangements are still being finalized. Please contact the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Orlando, at 407-295-1923, email@example.com for updated information.