Listen: Interview with Ched Myers
Breaking Through and Acting
Mattie Taylor works in lower Manhattan, just a stone’s throw away from where her denomination, A.M.E. Zion Church, has its roots. “Whites and slaves worshipped there together,” she says. “When the slaves became free, they remained. But we were forced to worship in the balcony. We could only take communion after the whites. The priest felt free to rename our babies after baptism. We decided to break away. We asked the bishop if we could worship separately.”
The new church was established on John Street in lower Manhattan in 1796. Mother A.M.E. Zion was known as the “Freedom Church,” for the central role it played in the Underground Railroad. Frederick Douglass was among the escaped slaves the church hid. Sojourner Truth and Paul Robeson worshipped there. In 1914, Mother A.M.E. relocated to Harlem. Today, Mattie Taylor worships at the First A.M.E. Zion Church in the Bedford-Stuyvesent neighborhood of Brooklyn. She serves as vice-president of the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society (known as “WHOM”) for her district. She also writes and edits the society’s newsletter for the 1.4 million-member A.M.E. congregation.
“Bread’s focus on advocacy and action is a perfect fit with WHOM,” she says. The WHOM newsletter readership spans the denomination, which operates in the United States, Africa, South America, and the West Indies. She has been a member of Bread for the World since 1991. “I make an effort to lift up Bread’s work during October, World Hunger month,” Mattie says. “When I became a member of Bread for the World, it impressed me that they always kept me informed about what my support was helping to achieve.” For the past 12 years, Mattie has supported our work through Baker’s Dozen, our monthly giving program; she has not missed a month.
“My passion is mission education,” she says. At conferences, in her congregation, in WHOM’s district activities and worldwide newsletter, and in her everyday life, she stresses the importance of Bread’s mission. “I have a feeling of great love for what they do,” she says simply. “My connection to Bread for the World is special.” Every day, Mattie Taylor prays for peace, love, and wisdom. “But it is not enough to care,” she says. “It is not enough to pray. We’ve got to break through and act. That’s why I support Bread for the World. They help me commit to positive action that improves the world.”
Bread for the World is deeply grateful for the dedication and generosity of Mattie Taylor, longtime ambassador for our mission.