Retired New York Vicar Bishop Don Taylor dies at 77

May 26, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of New York] Announcing the death of retired Vicar Bishop of New York, the Rt. Rev. E. Don Taylor, Bishop Andy Dietsche wrote:

Retired New York Vicar Bishop Don Taylor dies at 77. Photo: Diocese of New York

Retired New York Vicar Bishop Don Taylor dies at 77. Photo: Diocese of New York

Bishop Taylor suffered a stroke in February and had pursued faithfully a long and difficult process towards recovery. This past week, however, his body began to fail, and he was admitted to the ICU of Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow. He died last Saturday, May 24, 2014, with his daughter Tara and other members of his family by his side.

Bishop Taylor held the distinction of being the first West Indian to become a Bishop in The Episcopal Church. Born and raised in Jamaica, he was ordained a priest in 1961 and began a ministry at St. Mary the Virgin, then a small mission in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1970, he left a flourishing congregation to take up his next appointment as Headmaster of Kingston College. He came to the United State in 1973 and served communities in Buffalo and Atlanta for some 14 years, until election in 1987 as Bishop of the Virgin Islands. As Bishop, his strong pastoral ministry contributed to significant church growth. A former radio announcer, he established a Diocesan Radio Studio and proclaimed the gospel in weekly broadcasts.

In 1994, Bishop Taylor returned to the United States mainland to assume duties as Assistant Bishop in this diocese, in the newly created position of Vicar Bishop for New York City, an area covering Staten Island, Manhattan and the Bronx.  Bishop Taylor was especially beloved for his pastoral ministry and his commitment to promoting community development. Always he cared most about the people he served. “I haven’t done spectacular things, haven’t raised millions of dollars,” Bishop Taylor once said about his ministry as Vicar Bishop. “I’ve just tried to be a faithful, loving and caring bishop.”

Upon his retirement, he answered the call to serve, once again, in his homeland and in 2009, he was appointed Rector of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, more widely known as the Kingston Parish Church, in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

I wish again to express my profound gratitude to the clergy and lay leaders of our diocese who, in these last weeks since his stroke, visited Bishop Taylor and joined me in pastoral and sacramental ministry. Many of you offered care and companionship to Bishop Taylor in his journey towards God, expressing the love of this diocese for him.  I will add personally that it was my great pleasure to work as friend and colleague with Don on the staff of this diocese through the last ten years of his ministry here.  Nothing could be clearer than that he loved being a bishop, and his service to and ministry in this diocese was always characterized by the broad, infectious smile and deep laugh that signaled the profound joy at the center of his being.  He also served as a visible link to the Anglican Church in Jamaica and throughout the West Indies for the great number of Caribbean-American Episcopalians in the Diocese of New York.  In this last season of his life, I had the privilege to come to him as a brother bishop, and I am confident that I speak for Bishops Sisk, Grein, Roskam and Donovan, all of whom shared episcopal ministry with Don in New York, in expressing our sorrow at his passing, our love for him, and our respect for the legacy he built in the ongoing life of this our diocese.

Letters and cards of condolence may be sent to his daughter:

Tara Taylor
195-04 90th Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11423

Please continue to remember our brother at your altars, commending him to God’s surpassing peace, abiding love and complete joy. Pray, also, for Tara, Bishop Taylor’s family, and all within the wider church who mourn.”

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