Women in Ministry (Part 4): Martha C. Taylor, Theologian-Historian-Leader


The Rev. Dr. Martha C. Taylor is author of the book, From Labor to Reward, Black Church Beginnings in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond, 1849-1972.

Dually ordained as an American Baptist and Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Dr. Martha C. Taylor also is historian for the Progressive National Convention, Inc., and for Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA.
Dr. Taylor’s doctoral dissertation, “Pastoral Leadership Training and Mentoring African American Baptist Clergywomen,” has been used as a model for helping both men and women to better discern God’s call to ministry. For ten years prior to the retirement of J. Alfred Smith, Sr., Dr. Taylor was Assistant to the Pastor for administration and oversight of the office of the pastor.
With a powerful education in both administration and theology, Dr. Taylor holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with Cum Laude Honors, from the University of San Francisco; a Master in Divinity from the American Baptist Seminary of the West, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. For seven years she has been an adjunct professor at SFTS. Dr. Taylor also has done missionary work in South Africa.
Her leadership through scholarship is described by Congresswoman Barbara Lee in notes on Dr. Taylor’s book: “Taylor’s passionate, probing perspective unveils the rich history of Black Church beginnings in the [SF Bay Area]. She brings to light the struggles, strengths and triumphs of everyday people who built strong religious communities in the face of adversity…. Scholars, clergy, and lay people will be intrigued and stimulated by this one-of-a-kind history book.”


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