Rev. Taylor was born and reared in Gadsden. At the age of 18, after graduating from Litchfield High School, he left to attend college at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville where he received a double major in economics and finance.
That degree carried him to the Eli Lilly & Co., in Indianapolis, where he was a statistician. While there, living in close proximity to Notre Dame, he took economics classes at that university.
His father’s illness brought him back to Gadsden where he became reacquainted with a schoolmate, Jacinta Zapata.
“In high school, we really didn’t get along too well,” said Rev. Taylor. “I guess I sang too much. After I got back to Gadsden, we ran into each other and I said, ‘You want to marry me,’ and the rest is history.”
The Taylors have five children who attend schools in the Gadsden area - John, Janie, Jayden, Jaybrianna and Jayci. Jacinta is a medical laboratory technician at Riverview Regional Medical Center in Gadsden.
The family resides in Southside.
Rev. Taylor’s parents are Pamela Taylor of Gadsden and the late Alfonza Jones.
Rev. Taylor has had two callings in his life - to preach the word of God and to help his fellow man.
As a youngster, he didn’t have a choice about going to church. His parents insisted that he attend. That changed as he grew older. He reached a point where he felt he couldn’t miss services.
“Nine years ago, there was a call in my life from God,” said Rev. Taylor. “I’ve always had a passion for dealing and working with people. I knew I was needed to preach.”
He was ordained in 2011 at the First Baptist Church of Gadsden.
Rev. Taylor’s grandfather Hersey Taylor, 76, pastors Greater Cavalry Baptist Church in Anniston. His brother, Terrance Taylor, also serves at a church in Knoxville. These two men, along with Rev. Taylor, are three of more than 20 pastors in the family.
At the age of 10, Rev. Taylor, having had no lessons, began playing the organ and piano at church.
“I just sat down and started playing,” he said. “Everybody in our family sings, and everybody plays an instrument. My grandfather was an entertainer before he went into the ministry. He sang the blues.”
Rev. Taylor took piano lessons when he was older.
He took over as pastor at Eastwood First Baptist in June.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “The people are very nice and so is the environment. This is my first church to pastor to, so needless to say, I’m a little nervous but excited at the same time. I know that God is always in control of things, so it’s cool. I’m just enjoying the ride.”
Rev. Taylor, a former employee of Job Corp in Gadsden, said he tries to inspire children and is big on teaching goal setting.
“I’ve always volunteered at organizations,” he said. “I worked at The Bridge (a substance facility for adolescents in Gadsden) and I’ve also worked with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.”
He is proud of the fact that about 14 teens from Job Corp in Gadsden attend his church at Eastwood.
Rev. Taylor owns a tree cutting and landscape service in Gadsden, Evergreen Lawn Maintenance and Landscaping. He’s a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity Inc.
“We at the First Baptist Church Eastwood are a church with a big heart and with the love that pours from within, we believe that we are an asset in helping to build God’s kingdom one stone at a time,” he said.
Contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.