RIP: Retired New York Vicar Bishop Don Taylor dies at 77

Posted May 27, 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.”


Comments (9)

  1. The Rev. Fr. E. Ulric C-Jones says:

    Our Church has lost a great Father in God who was so very faithful to his call. Bishop E. Don Taylor exemplied what it was to be a Bishop of the Church by his common touch and care for the people of God whom he met everywhere.

    We extend our prayerful and sincere condolences to his daughter, Tara, whom he loved dearly and pray God’s abiding presence and grace upon her.

    May Bishop Taylor’s soul rest in peace.

    Fr. & Mrs. E. Ulric Commissiong-Jones
    1Rivishi Street
    Town of Calliaqua
    St. Vincent & the Grenadines
    Retired Rector,
    St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Queens, NY
    Diocese of Long Island

  2. James Cox says:

    It has been and will continue to be important to have role models whose example in life can help to guide the lives of others.
    Let your light shine so that others may see and be guided.

  3. Rick Britton says:

    In addition to his pastoral gifts, Don Taylor was a saint and mentor to many of us in the ministry. He will be missed but his legacy will continue among us whose lives he touched. He and his family are in our prayers for God’s peace, strength and joy that abides in the promise of the resurrection for eternal life and love through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  4. George Kooney says:

    Bishop Don Taylor was, and will remain, a blessed example of Christ’s love residing inside a man and then being spread to every human being that man meets.
    All of us who heard his inspired preaching will always remember how those words led us closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.

  5. Fr Stuart Kenworthy says:

    Bishop Don Taylor led a vestry retreat for us over ten years ago that we all still remember. His preaching here at Christ Church, especially to the little children, captured all of our hearts. I pray for more loving and faithful witnesses and leaders like Bp Taylor.
    May he rest in God’s eternal peace.
    Fr Stuart Kenworthy
    Rector, Christ Church, Georgetown
    Washington DC

  6. Alva Griffith says:

    Rest in Peace, Good and Faithful Servant!

  7. The Rev. Dr. Raleigh Daniel Hairston says:

    The Rt. Rev. E. Don Taylor was a good priest, and prince of a man, who has gone home to be with God. His life and work remains as a wonderful witness, and testimony, to his love for our church; the parishes and places he served well, and indeed all of us who got to know him down through the years. He will be sorely missed. “May his soul rest in peace and, someday rise in glory with our Lord Jesus.” Amen.

  8. Rev. Canon Dr. G. Llewellyn Armstrong says:

    I should like to extend to the family of the late Rt. Rev. E. Don Taylor my sympathy and assurance of my prayers for you. I first met Bishop Taylor in 1962, soon after his ordination to the priesthood, when he was serving at St.Mary’s, Kingston. He was very helpful to me as I ran a Youth Camp at the time of Jamaica’s Independence. I have always thanked God for his affable personality and personal friendship through the years. He has served the Lord faithfully as a good Pastor. May God be praised for that. May his soul rest in peace and rise in Glory.


    Rest in peace WELL DONE!


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