HARRIMAN — Ted Taylor was a relatively new member of Trenton Street Baptist Church in 1972 when his pastor, John Shepherd, called him and asked if he could use his talents to design the bulletin and church newsletter due to the absence of the church secretary.
Taylor, who has a degree in commercial art, went to the church from his office at The Harriman Record where he served as advertising director and got the job done.
The secretary was unable to return to work due to a pregnancy, so Taylor worked on the bulletin and newsletter for the remainder of the year from his office at the newspaper.
In January of 1973, the church called Taylor to serve as a full-time staff member.
On Feb. 19 of this year, the church will honor Taylor for 50 years of faithful ministry.
Approximately two years after joining the staff, the church built a gymnasium and Taylor served as recreation director when church recreation was in its heyday as a ministry of Southern Baptist churches.
He directed the operation of the gymnasium and oversaw the recreation program which included church basketball and softball teams.
Taylor, who turned 79 in January, “retired” after 34 years, but has remained on staff for the past 16 years as part-time senior adult director.
During his tenure at Trenton Street, he has served under 10 pastors (not including interims). David Williams, his newest pastor, began serving in November. It has not taken him long to appreciate his senior adult director.
“Ted is well loved in the church and the community,” Williams observed. “He is that quiet servant working behind the scenes for the glory of God.”
Williams described Taylor as “the perfect example of a true servant … always willing to do whatever needs to be done and to minister to the needs of people,” he added.
Over the years, Taylor has “done a little bit of everything” at Trenton Street, recalled former pastor Gene Nelson, now pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, Russellville, and second vice president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
Though not an ordained minister, Taylor has basically served in that role, for decades Nelson affirmed.
“He did not have the title, but he ministered as effectively as any minister on staff,” said Nelson, who served with Taylor for six years.
“He is faithful to Trenton Street Baptist and to the Lord,” Nelson continued. “Every pastor needs a Ted Taylor who they can rely on to do ministry in an effective and humble way,” he added.
Kevin Sellars, pastor of RoEllen Baptist Church in Dyersburg, served as minister of youth at Trenton Street for eight years. “While Christ is the rock on which every church is built, Ted is the glue that has held everything together at Trenton Street,” he affirmed.
“Ted is the definition of a servant leader,” Sellars said. “He does not want any attention. He wants all the glory and honor to go to God.”
Sellars also described Taylor as a “peacemaker. He was a calming influence at the church, he added.
Sellars said his tenure at Trenton Street was one of the best of his ministry. “Ted and Wilda were a tremendous part of that. She is the true definition of a helpmate.”
Taylor is a man of few words when it comes to talking about himself but he acknowledged he has enjoyed his time at Trenton Street. Through the years, he has been involved with basically every age group, from children to senior adults.
He noted that he especially has enjoyed his work with senior adults, And, though he contemplated “retiring” again this year he has “decided to hang on and see what happens.”
An added bonus of his time at Trenton Street is that former pastor Jerry King met Wilda Loggins at a teacher appreciation dinner at the school his daughter attended and decided she would make the perfect wife for Taylor.
Between their efforts, they managed to get the two of them together and in 1984, the couple was married at Trenton Street.
Wilda helped her husband as she could in the early years of their marriage but she was a high school choral director and elementary music instructor.
She has been more involved with him in senior adult ministry since her retirement about 10 years ago.
She also plays the piano and organ, sings in the choir and serves as director of Trenton Street’s handbell choir.
The two have made a good team throughout the years.
“He is quiet and shy but he has come a long way,” she laughed.
“He is the love of my life,” she added. “Every day is a new adventure.” B&R