In ceremonies at the 151st session of the Georgia Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in April Presiding Elder J.E Taylor formally retired from active ministry. Also retiring at the session were the Reverends Charles Wesley Purnell, George Bush, and Sherry Taylor. After accepting the call to preach in July 1975, Elder Taylor spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa, serving as a lecturer and administrator at Cuttington University College. Returning to the Savannah area in 1977, he was appointed as pastor of the Brier Creek Circuit in Screven County where in 1979 he led the congregation in building a new church, Asbury A.M.E Church. Beginning in 1980, over a span of twenty six years he pastored the following five (5) A.M.E. Churches in Savannah: St. Luke, Townsley Chapel, St. James, St. Phillip Monumental, and Greater Gaines Chapel. In 2006 he was appointed Presiding Elder and for the past decade served the following districts: the Waycross District, comprising 32 churches, the West Savannah District, comprising 23 churches, and the new Savannah South District, holding it’s organizational meeting and serving as Interim Presiding Elder. During the 2015-2016 Conference year he served as Interim Pastor of St. Phillip Monumental in addition to his duties as Presiding Elder.
Elder Taylor is a gifted preacher whose most celebrated sermons include “Sermons for Today and Tomorrow,” Champ Studio, Nashville, Tn., 1984; “How Shall We Celebrate?,” Annual Sermon, 1987, Atlanta International Records; “A Life- Changing Experience,” Annual Sermon, 1992; “Playing in the Sand,” Annual Sermon, 2015. A noted educator, he has led in creative youth ministries, and in the 1980’s he developed “Orita,” a Rite of Passage program for African American youths, in the Savannah area,
For over thirty-five (35) years Elder Taylor has served the Savannah community through many organizations and in numerous capacities. Pondering retirement, he now hopes to devote some time to traveling, writing, and gardening, along with a continuing involvement in the church and it’s critically important mission.
He served as Chaplain for the Day for the Georgia State Senate and was presented special citations from Governor Deal, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, State Senator Lester Jackson, and also received a special citation signed by Secretary of State, Brian P. Kemp proclaiming Elder Taylor an Outstanding Georgia Citizen.
In April, Elder Taylor and Spouse, Mrs. Shirley V. Taylor enjoyed a retreat at the King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island in celebration of their 37th Wedding Anniversary.
As his final official task in his active ministry, he is leading the Georgia Annual Conference delegation to the 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal for early fall and will be announced.