Bishop E. Don Taylor passed from this world on Saturday, May 24th, 2014 at 6:49pm. On June 1st, 2014, St. James's Episcopal Church of Goshen, NY used a part of their morning service to recognize his contribution. Father Karl Lunden, the Rector led the remembrance with former Orange County Legislator, Noel Spencer.
When I was 17 years old Don Taylor became a lifelong friend. At our school, we welcomed him as our headmaster in 1972 -- the first alumnus to take on that role. We all called him Don T. He was a very young headmaster for all of us, so we had an advantage.
Our previous headmaster was strict, so now we could have some fun. As 6th formers were had certain privileges vested in us, like have access to leaving school early and using the headmaster’s car. Don being new did not object. Our group of five had fun. For us he was a friend, a trusted friend. He saw and led us into the new world of young men, young leaders.
I lost touch once I migrated to the US, but our old boy network kept the information chain of each of us connected. We learned of the passing of his wife, we learned of the birth of his daughter Tara through the chain. We crossed paths at the various old boy’s reunions, and the friendship continued. Don played an important role in my family's life once he came to New York as Vicar Bishop. We saw each other regularly, he knew my parents well from the old days, especially my mother who took care of most of the newborns in Kingston, Jamaica.
Don became more involved in my life when I entered the political arena. He embraced my activities and supported my actions spiritually. After my first victory in Chester, Don the Bishop, The friend, the Alum, the headmaster, did not hesitate to lead the ecumenical service to provide me spiritual strength to deliver service to my constituents. On one occasion, and he made four trips to Chester to lead my celebration (Tom was the organist each time) he quietly said to me, his private wish and vision was for me to go into the priesthood, anyway, I am a Eucharistic lay reader, so part of his wish came true.
I visited with him in Jamaica whenever I was there in 2012 during a summer visit, we drove around Kingston visiting many places since his car was in the shop, I remarked, isn't this funny, when we were teenagers we took your car and drove around Kingston, now you have me driving you around, he chuckled. I was fortunate to have seen him coherent at Hospice in Tarrytown in April of this year. I treasure that 35 minutes even more so now and going forward.
The book, 'The Brave May Fall, but Never Yield' by Ambassador Johnson-alum states, “Taylor IS THE FIRST KC graduate to become a bishop, Having been Vicar Bishop of NY and Bishop of the Virgin Islands.
Ambassador Basil Bryan said he believed, "that there was a place for the proper touch of pomp and ceremony in the execution of his duties.”
Bishop Dietsche wrote, " It was my great pleasure to work as colleague and friend with Don on the staff of the Diocese through the last ten years of his ministry here. Nothing could be clearer than that he loved being a Bishop.. He was a visible link to the Anglican Church and the Episcopalians of NY.
In closing let’s turn to the Book of Common Prayer page 604, Psalm 18 Part II verses 21 to 30.
PSALM 18 verses 21-31
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.
24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
Noel C. Spencer
President/CEO, EA,MBA, LUTCF, ATP, ECS
Newburgh, NY 12550