Voorhees prepares for Absalom Jones Feast Day

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Voorhees prepares for Absalom Jones Feast Day

February 05, 2020

Voorhees College will host its annual Absalom Jones Feast Day celebration, to recognize the African American presence in the Episcopal Church, on Tuesday, Feb.11 at 11 a.m. in St. Philip’s Episcopal Chapel.

February is the month that Absalom Jones is celebrated as the first African-American priest in The Episcopal Church. Jones was the first ordained African-American priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States. He became a religious icon of the late 1700s and early 1800s and helped to abolish slavery in America.

The celebration will feature guest speaker The Reverend Robert Jemondae Taylor, rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh N.C.

Taylor is active in the diocese and larger church by serving on the discipline board, Diocesan council, standing committee, co-chair for the nominating committee to elect the XII Bishop Diocesan, consultant and advisor for the Office of Black Ministries, a contributor to “Sermons that Work,” board member for the gathering of leaders, and board member and trustee for the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX.

His current work includes an experiential documentary film on race, church, and theological practices as a collaborative effort between the Louisville Institute’s Clergy-Scholar Research Team and Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies.

Recently, Taylor’s team received a $400,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to produce the documentary film. His recent seminars and lectures include “Wrapped in Whiteousness: Worship, Liturgy, and Race,” “The Darkness Sings: The Church’s Unfinished Symphony with Race,” and “Baptized in Dirty

Water: The Theology of Hip-Hop.”

He has spent two decades studying the spirituality and history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church, including leading several pilgrimages to Ethiopia for the country’s largest religious ceremony, Timkat. His interests include integrating what he calls the indigenous African Christianity of Ethiopia and North Africa into the religious experience of Christians in the African diaspora.

Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University, a master’s in mechanical engineering with a concentration in robotics and vehicle design from Stanford University, and a master’s degree in divinity from the General Theological Seminary in New York City.

Prior to seminary and ordination, Taylor worked as an automotive engineer for Michelin Tire Company in Greenville, S.C. He is married to Kierson Leigh Taylor, and they have one daughter.

The Right Reverend. W. Andrew Waldo, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, will serve as celebrant. Other clergy and laity of both dioceses will also attend and participate in this festive Eucharist.

The Absalom Jones Feast Day service is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Office of Communications, at 803-780-1191 or at communications@voorhees.edu.