Friends and family remember Glenside's the Rev. Terry Traylor

A photo of the Rev. Terry Traylor is displayed for his memorial service.
A photo of the Rev. Terry Traylor is displayed for his memorial service. (SULAIMAN ABDUR-RAHMAN / Staff)
Posted: December 18, 2013

The Rev. Terry Traylor was said to have the physique of Superman and the heart of God.

With those gifts, Traylor lifted up everyone around him, from southern Texas to his church in Montgomery County.

That was the way family members and friends remembered Traylor at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside on Monday, four days after the church leader died from a massive heart attack.

Traylor, 64, was the senior pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in Glenside and a leader in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

"Terry's ministry touched the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people," Todd Traylor said of his older brother as he spoke to hundreds of mourners in the theater, about 1,000 feet from the church where the pastor preached. "I think we're all shocked by Terry's sudden departure."

Terry Traylor gave his final sermon at New Life on Dec. 8, in which he told parishioners it was "a privilege and honor to be here as your pastor. I'm still your pastor. I love it."

He had accepted a position as church development director for the PCA's Mission to North America. That would have positioned him to oversee an outreach ministry to build churches in all regions of the continent.

The PCA is the second largest Presbyterian body in the country. It is more conservative than the larger Presbyterian Church (USA).

In September, Traylor took a two-month sabbatical from his New Life duties to prepare for his new job, which would have built on his legacy of building churches and mentoring pastors in Texas, North Carolina, and Florida.

He was to begin his new ministry Jan. 1, but the married father of four adult children died Thursday while running on a treadmill at a local gym.

"I feel like this is some sort of 12-step program, because there is this ongoing theme that I am in ministry because of Terry Traylor," the Rev. Leonard Bailey said, prompting laughter from the mourners.

Bailey is pastor of Hope of Christ Church in Stafford, Va. He was mentored by Traylor in Raleigh, N.C.

"Terry poured out himself into others," Bailey said.

Traylor had served as pastor of New Life since September 2005. After Monday's memorial, there was an evening reception at the church.

In Traylor's final sermon, he addressed the biblical account of creation and man's fall from grace.

"Death is the separation from one another," he said. "Death is the physical separation of body and soul when we die."

"Terry was a man with a great amount of life and energy," said Nancy Bower, New Life's community relations coordinator. "We do not grieve without hope, though. We know we will see Terry again. He is with the resurrected Lord."


sabdur-rahman@phillynews.com@sabdurr

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