Donor Story: Andrew “Bob” Taylor, PSR ’66, Navy Chaplain and United Methodist Minister
Bob Taylor graduated with an MDiv from PSR in 1966. Now retired, Bob served as a Navy chaplain for 22 years and as a local United Methodist pastor for 18 years. Bob is a monthly donor to PSR, and has made a regular $25 monthly contribution to PSR for the past ten years.
When asked why he has supported PSR so faithfully Bob said: “What I most remember about PSR was the camaraderie of fellow students – living in Benton, being a part of the community. My father died after my first year at school and the PSR community was there for me when I really needed a community.”
Bob remembers many things about his time at PSR, including taking part in a barbershop quartet with three other classmates – they called themselves “The Uncalled Four.”
Bob said that after graduation, he pastored a local United Methodist congregation in Newark, CA for four years, and then decided to become a Navy chaplain. “PSR prepared me well for a career that took me in a lot of directions that I didn’t expect to go,” Bob says. “I’d focused on pastoral ministry, but Navy chaplaincy was a significant ministry and was really good for me. It helped me confront myself in ways I hadn’t before.”
The Navy awarded Bob a scholarship to Boston University, where he eventually completed his DMin degree.
After retirement from the Navy, Bob and his wife, Sally, moved to Virginia, where he became pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, a church known for its racial and ethnic diversity. The church was very active in the local community, offering programming in the performing arts, afterschool programs, and several other initiatives structured to meet the needs of people in the community
Bob and Sally adopted two sons, Garrett and Bryan, and became parents to foster daughter Becca, who also became a United Methodist minister.
“I love what PSR stands for and what it is involved with. I love its tradition of boldness. For example, when I visited PSR this year, I went to the [Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in the Ministry] and told the staff there how much I appreciate what they are trying to do and what they’ve brought to the school.”
He noted that in the early ‘90s, a lesbian couple started coming to his church. “Well, they made an appointment with me, and laid their cards on the table. They asked: ‘are we welcome here?’ and I said: ‘Of course you are, this is your church and you better be here next Sunday!’”
Bob said the church embraced the couple as well. “We all learned a lot. It was wonderful the way they took part and how welcoming the church community was.”
Though now retired, Bob still is serving his community, currently serving as the Board President of the Peninsula Pastoral Counseling Center in Newport News and volunteering at a local school.