By Leslyn Weekes
The Rt. Rev. E. Don Taylor, whom I got to call Father, was a personal mentor and friend of my family. We all walk this journey of life and bear witness to each other and when we are lucky we run into people who nurture us at our roots. Father Taylor was such a water bearer for me.
I remember the day we met at The Episcopal church of the Holy Cross. I was 16 and my family had just moved to Atlanta that August and it was our 2nd Sunday in Atlanta. Our friends had insisted that my family join them that Sunday morning and meet their friend the priest of the church. At the end of the service we were introduced to Father Taylor and he looked at each of us and turned to my mother and said, “what are you serving for dinner and what time? I will be there.” We all looked at him and laughed and there began a beautiful friendship. Such dinner meetings would continue with him, his family and ours for many years to come.
It was an honor to have known Bishop Taylor and to have called him a friend. He gave me my first job babysitting his daughter Tara and his late wife, Rosalie, and my mother became great friends. Bishop Taylor served as one of my earliest mentors. As he was leaving for his new Job as Bishop in the Virgin Islands, I was preparing for confirmation, he would encourage me to look for God in the faces of the new people I would meet and he explained that they would be different but because God is everywhere I would see him and find comfort. He was right. I am fairly certain I did not understand this at age 16 when he tried to explain this at one of our dinner conversations. When he left Holy Cross and Atlanta he did not leave his friends behind. He left the year I was to be confirmed and to my delight he came back to perform the service.
I will always remember Bishop Taylor as a graceful and humble man who made an effort to reach out to me. On one visit to Atlanta he presided at the funeral of another family friend and at the reception came over and handed me his card with a note to call him if I ever need to discuss the job I was about to take on. He had heard that I was to be a Senior Warden of our beloved church. I smiled and he said to me, “I have faith in you and you can do it.” It warms my heart to have been regarded with such grace by such a pillar of the Anglican/Episcopalian community.
I know my family joins me and all who mourn his passing in praying for his safe passage to the next life. May light perpetual shine upon you Father Taylor and may your soul rest in eternal peace.
Leslyn Weekes, MBA lives and works in Atlanta
Cell: 404-641-0652. email@example.com
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