The committee sent communications to several ministers regarding their search. At the third meeting on Sept. 10, 1921, a letter was read from Dr. Bean of Hamilton Church, Los Angeles, California, which stated he would be present on Sept. 17, 1921, to conduct a financial campaign for the group in order that they might raise funds to provide transportation for a minister. The campaign was successful.
Alameda Mayor E.K. Taylor helped sponsor the building of the first Taylor Church, requesting that it be named for his father, the late and legendary Bishop William Taylor. Known for physical strength and prowess, as well as his abilities as a speaker, Bishop Taylor had been an evangelical missionary in South America and Africa until age 75, when he returned to southern California to be with his family.
By the time the church was officially chartered on Oct. 29, 1921, membership had grown to 56. The Rev. Albert Scott became the first pastor of the new church, then called Taylor Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church.
Unfortunately, in 1960, it was discovered that the recorded historical achievements of Taylor Memorial Church and the 22 pioneers and founders had been destroyed in a fire. It was therefore deemed expedient that someone be designated to create the History of the Church Founders and Ministers, a 22-page booklet that details the accomplishments of Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church from 1921 to 1988. Rev. Robert D. Hill, officers and members of the church, appointed founder S.J. Duncan and his Committee on History and Records (members Gladys M. Jordan and Essie Coleman) to compile the booklet. Additional information for the booklet was obtained from the first record book, church files and founder Willie Mae Meade. Much of the historical information on this site has been taken from that booklet.
One fun fact that was not in the booklet is Richard Nixon’s visit to Taylor Church. On Oct. 21, 1962, he campaigned here at the church when he was running for governor of California.
In summary, the founders of Taylor created a legacy ministry institution that has made significant contributions to the City of Oakland and worldwide — through the dedication, preservation and unique contributions for more than 90 years. These historic contributions are woven into the covenant of the church and into American history in the City of Oakland.
Communications were sent to several ministers in this regard. At the third meeting on September 10, 1921, a letter was read from Dr. Samuel Bean of Hamilton Church in Los Angeles, California, stating that he would be present on September 17,1921 to conduct a financial campaign for the group in order that they might raise funds to provide transportation for a minister. The financial campaign was successful. 
During this period, Mayor Taylor of Alameda, California, gave generously to help erect the first building for Taylor Church. At his request, the name Taylor was selected in memory of his father, the late Bishop William Taylor.
On October 29, 1921, the fourth meeting was held. District Superintendent Milnes presided. He congratulated the group and stated that they had now grown to a membership of 56 and wished to know if they wanted to choose a full-time minister. The vote was affirmative.
Reverend Albert Scott became the first minister to serve as pastor. He served from 1921 – 1924. Under Reverend Scott’s administration people of all races were attracted to Taylor as visitors. Reverend Scott was a well-educated and qualified minister. He was followed by Reverend John Wesley Thomas and Reverend George Carter. The church thrived and grew slowly but steadily under the dedicated, efficient and able leadership of these ministers. Their expertise and leadership abilities, along with the support of our twenty-two loyal founders and the small but devoted membership of 35 persons, laid a firm foundation for those pastors and members who were to follow.

The following is a message from Rev. Ron Swisher on the 88th anniversary of Taylor Memorial Methodist Church:

Dear Members,

This year of 2009 marks, as we all know, our 88th anniversary here at Taylor Memorial. This year our country began extremely hopeful. Many of us were fortunate to witness the election of the first African-American president of our nation, Barack Obama. Who would have said that would happen a year earlier or even the last few months of the campaign? And when he was elected many of us were a little impatient because it seemed as if we would have to say for a very long time, “the president elect” before it became a reality.

Though this year began with high hopes this has been a challenging year for all of us, especially for the president. As I write this we know the president has just been announced the recipient this year of the Nobel Peace Prize. And though people might debate about whether he has earned this so early in his tenure, I did appreciate some of the rationale about the positive direction and potential that he has brought to the world. The importance of why he received this prestigious award was because of the promise that hope and peace will prevail in our world someday because of his leadership. In other words, the direction and not the actual accomplishment of his presidency is the reason this great award was given.


I share these initial thoughts because we live and have lived in a world of great change and challenge. Our society has impacted the church, and it is always our hope that our witness and faith and love and courage have impacted the world in a positive way. Over these 88 years of Taylor’s existence, we have tried to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world in our ministry and mission. We are so grateful to all the stalwart soldiers here at Taylor who will again help our church celebrate a wonderful anniversary. You love your church and above all you love our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of you understand what faith means and without it how do we please God. You have gone the extra mile in the giving of your time, talent and tithes. We, along with our country, state and city, face great economic challenges. Even amidst these economic challenges, many of you have learned to live and demonstrate so powerfully in your life commitment, consistency and constancy in your walk and faith in God. Amen and God’s blessings upon you.

So friends and constituents let’s dine with our Lord in our festive and fun time for our anniversary this month. We will dress up for our roaring ‘20s banquet, and we have this wonderful souvenir booklet you have made possible. And of course all of you have paid your $88 or more representing the years of service and sharing we have done here in Oakland on 12th and Adeline Streets. For GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

Yours in service of our Savior and Spirit of our Jesus!

Rev. Ron

The following was adapted from a piece written about Pastor Andrea Davidson just before she left Taylor for the next chapter in her service to God:

Reverend Andrea Davidson was appointed Taylor Church’s 11th pastor on July 1, 2010. Known for her down-to-earth style, engaging delivery, musical gifts and powerful prayers, she was a pastor with a passion for spiritual development, a strong advocate for social justice and an ecumenical leader in the city of Oakland.

Rev. Davidson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Master’s of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During her tenure as Taylor Church pastor, she was admitted into the doctoral program at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California, and began coursework toward a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Theology and African-American Studies). She received the Fund for Theological Education 2010-11 and 2011-12 Doctoral Fellowship as well as the GTU’s President’s Award.

Prior to coming to Taylor Memorial, Rev. Davidson served as campus pastor and worship director at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, as associate pastor for Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley, and as assistant pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York, with a congregation of over 3,000 members. She served in both public and private sectors as a technology and business process consultant working with telecommunications companies for over 10 years. She had also worked for not-for-profits in Washington, D.C., raising funds for community-based organizations, offering relief to survivors of Hurricane Katrina, helping provide job training and placement, and youth programming for underserved populations.

While at Taylor Church, Rev. Davidson worked to stabilize the church’s finances; rebuild the music ministry; expand education, outreach and missions ministries; complete pew renovations in the sanctuary; and to revitalize ministries to children and youth. She has also worked to re-engage the church with the broader community through community organizing, focused projects centered on violence reduction, facilitated conversations with criminal justice officials and the Bay Area community, engagement of local churches in annual ecumenical East Bay Lenten Caravan services, Worship Without Walls outdoor services, the development of a circuit food program, which provides weekly groceries and hot meals, and hosting community-wide events throughout the year.

Rev. Davidson has served as assistant treasurer for the Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) Board of Directors. She also helped lead OCO and PICO California’s Live Free Campaign, which has focused on violence reduction, ending mass incarceration, economic development and jobs for the hard-to-employ.

Here is a list of the boards and committees Rev. Davidson served on during her time in Oakland:

  1. Fred Finch Youth Center Board of Directors
  2. Advisory Committee of State Assembly member Rob Bonta’s Boys and Men of Color (BMOC)
  3. Vice Chairperson for Black Methodists for Church Renewal’s Western Jurisdiction
  4. Worship Task Force Chairperson for the California-Nevada Annual Conference Commission of the UMC
  5. Bridges District Superintendency Committee
  6. Bay Area’s Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance

And an example of her legacy here at Taylor Church:

  1. Church Without Walls
  2. Lenten Season Study Series
  3. Church-wide Bible Study
  4. Dynamic Religious Subjects Study Series
  5. Tea With the Pastor
  6. Congregational Praise Songs
  7. Dramatic Spiritual Readings
  8. Candlelight Memorials
  9. Inspirational Sermon Messages

After her tenure at Taylor, Pastor Andrea and her family relocated to Chicago, where she took a position as pastor of Hartzell United Methodist Church.

Rev. Davidson is married to Rev. Dr. Steed Davidson, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. They are the proud parents of twin boys, Wesley and Myles. In addition to the ministry, Rev. Davidson enjoys reading, singing, travel, jazz and gardening.

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