Church Army training centre named for Capt. Ray Taylor

Published December 1, 2005

Capt. Raymond (Ray) Taylor, who served as director of the Church Army in Canada for 37 years, died Oct. 31 at the age of 91.”For many of us, ‘Captain T’ was larger than life,” wrote the current national director of the evangelical organization, Capt. Bruce Smith, on the Church Army’s Web site.Born in Aurora, Ont., Mr. Taylor joined the armed forces during World War II, serving in the medical corps. Upon his return, he joined the Church Army and was commissioned as an officer in 1948.He traveled to Sunset Prairie, a rural community in northeastern British Columbia, to start a church community “I went up the Northern Alberta Railway all the way to Dawson Creek,” he recalled, according to a profile published in 1985 in the Anglican Journal’s predecessor, the Canadian Churchman. A fellow passenger told him he was wasting his time, since there were only a few people there. Two years later, there was an active congregation.In 1950, he was recalled to Toronto and became involved in rebuilding the Church Army training centre, becoming its director in 1952. Founded in Great Britain in 1882 by Rev. Wilson Carlile, the Church Army began as an evangelistic and social-service movement among working-class people, under the auspices of the Church of England. It expanded to Canada in 1929.Capt. Taylor oversaw the expansion of the training centre to four adjoining houses. According to the Churchman profile, more than 175 men and women were trained as lay evangelists under Capt. Taylor’s leadership, many progressing to ordination. He was especially interested in prison ministry and youth.He and his wife Dorothy “would open their home every Monday night to the students for an evening of fellowship, prayer and refreshment. They shared a missionary heart, a deep concern for those who struggle on the margins and a solid conviction that Christ brings hope in the here-and-now and for eternity,” wrote Capt. Smith.Capt. Taylor was granted the Anglican Award of Merit in 1991. In 1998, the training centre was moved to St. John, N.B., and renamed the Taylor College of Evangelism. Capt. Taylor was predeceased by Dorothy and is survived by two daughters, a granddaughter and several nieces and nephews


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