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Pastor is back home again
In the pulpit
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After serving as a pastor in the Dublin area for many years, the Rev. Ralph Taylor is excited about returning home to pastor a church in his native Walthourville.
Taylor has been a minister for 31 years, 24 of which have been spent as a pastor. He’s a native of Hinesville and a graduate of the Liberty County School System.
He’s currently the pastor of Walthourville’s St. Thomas African Methodist Episcopal Church. Although his congregation is small, Taylor has high expectation for the church.
“St. Thomas can be a paradigm for other small rural churches in the community,” he said.
Taylor credits many people for helping him through his spiritual walk, including presiding Elder John Sterling Bryant, presiding Elder Henry Frasier, the Rev. Edward Boyd, the Rev. Henry Lanier, the Rev. Johnny Riles, the Rev. Marion Hardman, the Rev. S. L. Green, Henry Baker Sr., Ethel Baker, Ned Brown, Harris Jenkins, Edell Osgood and Clifford Taylor — his grandmother.
“My wife (Betty) has also been a blessing and a source of encouragement,” Taylor added.
   “Rev. S. L. Green gave me my first set of ministry books. Rev. Johnny Riles encouraged me to attend seminary school,” he said. “Older people need to pass knowledge and experience down to the younger generation. They need to tell teenagers what to expect in life. If you have experienced it, reach back and help. It takes a village, but the village has to have the right knowledge to grow a village.”
Taylor said he thinks older community and church members should come together with the younger members to share experiences and knowledge.
“We have members such as Mother Leola Pray and Sister Willie Pearl Mikell who can share their experiences to help the young people. The wisdom of the past and the strength of today build the wisdom for the future,” Taylor said. “Ministers must remember their ancestors and respect their elders. Learn everything you can. Yes, learn, learn, learn and know that whatever God ordains, He maintains.”
Taylor said he’s enjoying his time at St. Thomas, especially as he and his parishioners prepare for their upcoming revival. Billed as a dual deliverance revival, two speakers are scheduled for each night. The revival is March 4-6 at 7 nightly.
“The purpose of the revival is to revive souls, touch the community and reach out to others pastors and ministers in the community,” Taylor said. “Tag-team preaching is very exciting. I want to see the old church come back. I have a passion for God and a compassion for his people.”  
Taylor and his wife are the parents of two children and have three grandchildren. She is a retired Fort Stewart government employee.
The pastor said he enjoys boxing, reading, football and gardening.  
“I love the country and the things it offers. People need to get back to the basics, such as growing their own garden.”  He’d like to start gardening, quilting and canning classes at the church, among other things.
  The St. Thomas AME Church family invites the public to attend the annual dual revival. For more information, call Taylor at 876-9801.
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