|Bryon Clement Taylor, an elder statesman of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church for over 40 years, died on Thursday, March 19, 1981 at his Tremont Apartment in Dallas, Texas. Memorial service was conducted at the University Park United Methodist Church where his family was members and where he was an active participant in the life of the church. He had been in frail health for several years and was preceded in death by his wife, Bernice Lee Taylor on October 31, 1980, a fact which hastened his own demise.
A Tennessee farm boy born near Dresdan in 1897 he enrolled in Ruskin Cave College in Ruskin, Tennessee, where he came under the guiding influence of Rev. R. E. Smith, founder and president of the school. Here he answered the “call to preach” and dedicated his life to the Methodist ministry. When Ruskin Cave College was closed in 1918 he accompanied Rev. Smith to Florida State College and later joined his beloved mentor at Centenary College where he graduated in a class of seven in 1922.
B. C. Taylor, known by his friends as “B.C.,” then completed his ministerial education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In 1925 he married Bernice Lee and for 55 years thereafter their lives were intertwined in the activities of the parsonage home and the demanding program of the Methodist church. Keeping their priorities well balanced in these matters they achieved signal success in the ministry and gave to the world two outstanding children, Robert Charles Taylor and Mrs. Ned Harris, prominent in business, civic affairs, and church work in Dallas, Tx.
After his ordination, B. C. Taylor’s first appointment was to Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas as chaplain, but in 1926, anxious to return to his adopted state he was transferred to the Louisiana Conference and appointed to the Louisiana Ave. Methodist Church, New Orleans. His rapid rise to prominence in the Louisiana Conference can be chronicled briefly through his appointments: Mer Rouge, Natchitoches, First Church Homer, First Church Alexandria, First Church New Orleans, Rayne Memorial Church, Shreveport District Superintendent, Shreveport, Noel Memorial Church, and Vice President of Centenary College. While there he took the retired relationship in the Louisiana Conference but remained with the college as Director of Scholarship Funds. In 1976 he left his college post and moved to Dallas where he and Mrs. Taylor would be near their children and other family members.
As B. C. Taylor progressed in his church appointments his leadership qualities were evidenced by his membership on important boards and committees of the Conference including the Orphanage Board, the Board of Ministerial Training, the Board of Trustees of Centenary College, and the Board of Education of which he was chairman for a number of years. He was elected as a delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences a number of times. While serving First Methodist Church, Alexandria, during the war years he was honored by Centenary College with a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1940. In 1975 he was elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame of Centenary College.
B. C. Taylor had a great zest for life, was always open and friendly, anxious to serve where needed and was never flagging in his zeal as a pastor to his people. In his counseling with young people one of his first suggestions was “do not marry a lazy person.” To him sloth was always a cardinal sin. While living in the Tremont Apartment Complex during the last few years of his life, and suffering partial blindness and other infirmities, he was editor and publisher of a monthly news bulletin and was attending a refresher Bible course preparing to lead a study group at Tremont at the time of his death.
He loved people and enjoyed being with people, whether on festive occasions, in the dark hours of tragedy, visiting in the homes of his people or presiding over the business of a church or Conference board. His skills in public relations made him an effective vice president of Centenary College under three presidents. He loved the preachers and laymen of the Louisiana Conference and attended every session until the year of his death. While living in Dallas, Texas, he kept abreast of all significant happenings of the Conference and the College and communicated with his many friends on a regular basis.
Whatever roles in life devolved upon him B. C. Taylor fulfilled them with grace, courage and faithfulness. In his closing years he found new strength and greater faith as he assiduously read the Bible and considered his life in ultimate relation to God. When he was fatally stricken as he sat in the dining room on March 29 he was prepared to go.
After the work of a life time has been completed, the green memories have lingered, the tears of separation shed, and the last comforting words uttered, all is encompassed by the larger faith engendered in the message of Jesus: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
B. C. Taylor, himself a poet of sorts, loved the works of Robert Browning, and
these lines from the poet are appropriate:
“What’s time? Leave Now for dogs and apes—
Man has forever.”
“No work begun shall ever pause for death.”
One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward;
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1981, p. 178 By Bentley Sloane|