Elkin Presbyterian Church welcomes its newest member to the congregation, Pastor Stuart Taylor.
Pastor Taylor makes his way to Elkin via Tuscon, Ariz., but he has deep roots in the south.
Born and raised in Greenville, S.C. where his parents were chartered members of the John Knox Presbyterian Church, Pastor Taylor stated that ministry is a deep tradition in his family. He has two siblings, one who’s also a preacher and minister.
“It’s like a family curse,” Chuckled the new pastor. “And you can print that.”
Pastor Taylor admits that he knew ministering was “a calling” when he was in high school.
“I was swept up by the Jesus movement (referencing the 70s),” revealed Pastor Taylor. “I started a Bible study/fellowship called Brothers and Sisters with my high school peers.”
Pastor Taylor credits studying religion at Wake Forest University in helping shape his mind. He stated that he experienced an “intellectual awakening” at the school. He feels he was provided with a new language to express and deepen his faith.
While reflecting on his faith and journey, the interview was briefly interrupted. Two children appeared outside his door and in the church corridor. Pastor Taylor approached them. The children paused for a moment staring up at the pastor, seeming to give him instant respect. They already knew who he was.
“How was your Christmas? Was it good?” asked Pastor Taylor.
“Yes, it was,” agreed both children, before resuming their normal business.
Taylor’s desk was quite organized. He expressed interest in prosperity and peaceful living and was firm on his core beliefs. The pastor has worked on major anti-poverty campaigns, peace demonstrations, and has also been a counselor.
The pastor admits to being interested in supporting and promoting traditions of the church.
Arriving from ministering in Tuscon, we discussed how needs are different here.
“In Tuscon, we dealt a ton with migrants who were in need,” Pastor Taylor said. The Arizona city is known as an active crossing point for Mexicans seeking entry into the United States.
“The church serves on behalf of human life,” said Pastor Taylor. “I do not serve any political interest, but I serve God as a humanitarian.”
He responded like a skilled lawyer delivering closing arguments to a jury. He described real conditions on observing people being on the brink of death, dehydrated, injured, and risking their lives to cross and enter the states.
Pastor Taylor has a passion for hiking and can be found on many of the local trails in the region. He has acquired a taste for Mexican food, but also enjoys Italian food and is very interested in having some southern culinary dishes.
“I’ve had an amazing reception here so far, not only from church officials but from the larger community,” admits Pastor Taylor. “It didn’t take me long to realize that Elkin is a special place.
“My focus right now is to getting to know my congregation and the community,” continued Pastor Taylor. “I want to help bring more jobs to the region, to help revitalize the downtown area, to work on protecting our trail system.”
“The church opens its doors to you,” smiled Pastor Taylor, talking to this reporter. “Service is at 11 a.m.”