The Rev. Ruth Taylor, 94, formerly of the dioceses of Qu’Appelle and Moosonee, is writing her memoirs with the assistance of B.C.-based writer/speaker Donna Jean Richards. After an ordained ministry that began 36 years ago, Taylor retired to Powell River, B.C., where she’s now a member of the Anglican Parish of St. David and St. Paul.
“I have pages here and there and all over the place. I was going to write out the whole manuscript myself,” said Taylor, from her home in Powell River, B.C.
Though Taylor learned to write when penmanship was prized, she’s trading her cursive for a cursor, thanks to Richards, who has volunteered to word-process the memoirs from face-to-face interviews and Taylor’s notes.
“Ruth finally has the time and rest in which to get many of her recollections down on paper,” said Richards. “We are busy selecting stories from her very active and long service in the Anglican church.”
Born in 1920 in Brockville, Ont., on the St. Lawrence River, Taylor was involved in lay ministry from an early age in eastern Ontario and later, as the wife of the Rev. Herbert Elmo Taylor, in the dioceses of Qu’Appelle and Moosonee.
Over the decades, Taylor taught at a residential school in Moose Factory, Ont., was editor of the diocese of Moosonee’s magazine, toured as a national speaker and served on the national board of Anglican Church Women.
Ordained in 1979 in Regina, she devoted much of her time to ministering among Indigenous people. During her service to the church she raised three sons-two of whom she has outlived-and also cared for numerous foster children. Taylor is godmother to the Rt. Rev. Mary Irwin-Gibson, bishop-elect of the diocese of Montreal. (Gibson’s consecration and installation as bishop is scheduled on September 29.)
Known for her penetrating insight into the human journey of faith, Taylor is highly creative person with a gift for healing and for writing songs, hymns and plays, said Richards.
Richards has taken on the task of word-processing the memoirs from her interviews with Taylor and from Taylor’s handwritten notes. “At first, Ruth was going to write out the manuscript entirely by hand,” Richards said. “When I volunteered to type it for her, she said, ‘Oh, would you really be willing to do all that?’ ”
A more-than-willing Richards is asking people who know Taylor, or whose lives intersected with hers over the many years of her service to the church, to share their recollections, anecdotes and reflections for the autobiographical book. “Ruth tends to understate her ministry and experiences, and I think for the book we are to produce to have as much impact on others as her life and ministry have had, we need to be able to flesh it out with a few views from the other side,” she said.
Comments can be emailed to Richards at [email protected]
“Ruth is blessed not to have to tangle with computers and the Internet-I do that for her!” Richards said.
Comments also can be sent by regular mail to:
The Rev. Ruth Taylor, #307, 4923 Kiwanis Ave., Powell River, BC V8A 5H5, or to Donna Richards, 4258 Marine Ave., Powell River, BC V8A 2J7.
As for when the memoirs will be published, Taylor has no target yet for completing the manuscript but is pushing forward to set it all down. “I’ve had such a varied and interesting life. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I want to share my experiences,” she said. Her advice to others contemplating similar autobiographical projects? “Just get busy and do it!”