Thirty-year-old Walter Taylor was on his knees in prayer. That is where the wife he loved had often asked him to be. She had just died. Before this, Walter had had no use for religion in any form. But now he realized that his wife was already in heaven, while he was doomed to hell.
It was on this day, February 21, 1896 that Walter pleaded with God for forgiveness. There was plenty in his life to forgive.
Born in Pittsburgh, he grew up belonging to one of the toughest gangs in the city. His teachers, who gave him good marks, never suspected that outside of school he was breaking into rail cars and stealing from vendors.
Interested chiefly in money and success, Walter rose from job to job, steadily improving his financial standing. He became co-owner of a pharmaceutical concern.
He had complained when his Christian wife wanted to hold prayer meetings in their home. Now he was holding a one-man prayer-meeting of his own. Walter rose from his knees determined to serve the Christ who had met his soul's need in answer to prayer.
He sold his share in the business, attended Moody Bible Institute, volunteered at the Pacific Garden Mission, married his second wife, Ethelwyn, and became a missionary to railroad men and miners in Colorado. But he felt God was calling him to work among city derelects.
He shuddered at the thought. He still remembered being infected by lice years earlier when he put his arm around a drunk. God was not to be thwarted, however. An appeal came for him to take over the Old Brewery Mission in Montreal. He went. For sixteen years, Walter and Ethelwyn saw success in the previously unresponsive area.
Twenty years after his conversion, Walter and Ethelwyn became leaders of the Pacific Garden Mission. There Ethelwyn wrote the hymn "Calvary Covers it All," while Walter, as director, expanded the mission's work.
- Henry, Carl F. The Pacific Garden Mission. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1942.
- "Pacific Garden Mission." http://www.pgm.org/PGM_Home/pgm_history.html
- Various internet articles.
Last updated June, 2007