About the Taylor Centre

The Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care is one of three Centres of Excellence at the Acadia Divinity College, which is the Faculty of Theology at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and the official seminary of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada.

The Taylor Centre was established in 2011, to build on the professional and spiritual legacy of the late Dr. Charles J. Taylor, an Order of Canada recipient, pioneer in Clinical Pastoral Education in Canada, and an internationally recognized leader in ministry to prisoners, their families, and their communities.

Personal and Professional Growth,
Rooted in Biblical Truth”

— motto of the Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care

Training Men and Women for Specialized Pastoral Ministries

Through the Centre’s emphasis on chaplaincy and spiritual care, the Divinity College seeks to become a leader in training women and men for specialized pastoral ministries, in hospital, prison, extended care, workplace, military, sport, and other settings.

The mission of the Taylor Centre is to foster and promote clinical and theological excellence in spiritual care, by encouraging and supporting the personal growth, the building of professional capacities, and the rigorous theological reflection of students preparing to be chaplains.

The motto of the Centre—Personal and Professional Growth, Rooted in Biblical Truth—reflects the College’s identity as a Christian educational institution, always seeking to speak with integrity and sensitivity into our multicultural and multi-faith society, and our interconnected world. In doing so, the Centre honours the gracious life and witness of Dr. Taylor,  the title of whose best-known book said it best: Only Love Heals.

Rev. Joe Green

Director of the Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care

In 2016, Joe Green graduated from Acadia Divinity College with a Master of Divinity specializing in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care, receiving both the B.D. Stevens Scholarship and Emma Porter Perkins Scholarship for academic excellence.  He was ordained to Christian Ministry at Aenon Baptist Church, Chester Basin, Nova Scotia, in 2017, where he has served as Senior Pastor since 2014.  Joe will continue to serve as Senior Pastor of the Aenon Baptist Church as well as serve Acadia Divinity College in this part-time role.

Prior to 2014, Joe embraced a variety of opportunities through vocational and volunteer work: Spiritual Care Volunteer at Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Superintendent of Sunday School at Chester United Baptist Church, Nova Scotia; and Teacher of English as a second language in Halifax and Chungli, Taiwan.  Through these experiences, Joe has demonstrated a passion for establishing relationships with people of all ages and developing leaders.

His education includes a Bachelor of Arts (honours, first class) in Religious Studies at St. Mary’s University in 2006, with a concentration in religious diversity in Canada, as well as a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Queen’s University in 2007, with a concentration in religion and modernity, religion and ecology. At both academic institutions, Joe was a Research Assistant, focusing on the religious diversity in both cities:  Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Kingston, Ontario.  He has received a number of academic awards including the Queen’s Graduate Award and the SMU President’s Award.

Joe is a member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care and the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, and he supports the work of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC). He is the CBAC Connector for the Lunenburg-Queen’s Association, and he was the co-chair and executive member of CBAC Tidal Impact in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, the South Shore site for 2017. (Tidal Impact is Canada’s largest youth mission program and occurs every second year in two Atlantic Canada locations simultaneously.)

Joe lives in Boutiliers Point near the Atlantic Ocean, with his wife, Amber MacLean, and for leisure, he enjoys golfing at the Chester Golf Club where he is also the Vice-President.

Rev. Joe Green

About “Charlie”- Reverend Dr. Charles J. Taylor

The Reverend Dr. Charles J. Taylor, affectionately known and referred to as Charlie by all who knew him (and by many who wish they had) was born in 1917 in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. At the end of the Second World War, he left the navy and returned to working for a Canadian bank for a number of years in several different communities in the Maritimes.

An active member of Baptist churches wherever he was placed, he had long felt there was another call on his life. He prayed “Show me the door; I’ll go through it.” In 1953, a door was opened when he was invited to take up a place in the seminary at Acadia University.

Charles J. Taylor became Professor of Clinical Pastoral Education at Acadia Divinity College, where he taught for fifty years, inspiring and training several generations of chaplains. Charlie Taylor died in 2004.

“Charlie Taylor has made a tremendous impact on theological education … he was a pioneer in the field of Clinical Pastoral Education.… in the hands of Charlie Taylor, theological education, instead of it being … an inward, ivory-tower, purely academic kind of thing … became an outgoing, active, caring expression of the compassion of God. He did that by turning it outward, toward human need …”

–Dr. Andrew MacRae, former Principal, Acadia Divinity College

Charlie Taylor—The man and his work profiled

Dr. Taylor’s life and work are profiled in a thirty-minute video created in 1995. In the video, Charlie Taylor and Charlotte—his wife and partner in prison ministry—talk about their life and work, in particular their response to the call of the human need of people in jail and prison. Charlotte Taylor refers to the work as “the privilege of prison ministry.

”In 1969, Charlie Taylor created the Kairos Marathons, a therapeutic circle of sharing held in a prison chapel, involving people who are incarcerated along with students and volunteers from the community. The Kairos Marathons continue to this day—in the chapel at Springhill Institution, a medium-security, federal penitentiary in Springhill, Nova Scotia. One of, if not the single, longest-running prison chaplaincy programs in North America, the Kairos Marathon program will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019.

In the video, a number of men who were inmates at Springhill in the 1990s share their memories of Charlie Taylor and his work. Also offering their reflections are Dr. Andrew McRae, former Principal of Acadia Divinity College, and former prison chaplains, Sr. Teresa Currie and the Rev. John Tonks.

“Prison ministry gave wings to my faith and feet to my prayers. If you want faith to be meaningful, go to prison.”

–Charlotte Taylor, in “The Witness: Charles James Taylor”

Charles J. Taylor—Member of the Order of Canada

On May 21, 2004, the Government of Canada announced that, in recognition of his work in theological education and in prison ministry, Dr. Charles J. Taylor, faculty member of Acadia Divinity College, would be made a member of the Order of Canada, one of the highest honours the Government of Canada can bestow. The press release from the Governor General’s office read as follows:

“May 21, 2004 OTTAWA – On behalf of Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, the Honourable Myra A. Freeman, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, presented the insignia of Member of the Order of Canada to Mr. Charles J. Taylor during a ceremony held earlier today at the Wolfville Baptist Church, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The appointment has been in effect as of October 30, 2003. The following text is the official citation for Mr. Taylor:

Mr. Charles J. Taylor, C.M. A caring and compassionate humanitarian, Charles Taylor has dedicated his life to serving those on the fringes of society. Professor emeritus at Acadia Divinity College, he pioneered clinical pastoral education in Canada, creating training programs for those who provide pastoral care in an institutional setting. Leading by example, he has volunteered for 40 years in federal penitentiaries. His ministry features innovative programs that provide prisoners with a forum for discussing and dealing with their social and spiritual issues. A model of ecumenism, he served as president of the Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education and the Christian Council for Reconciliation.”

Source: Archived Government of Canada website

“A caring and compassionate humanitarian, Charles Taylor has dedicated his life to serving those on the fringes of society. Professor emeritus at Acadia Divinity College, he pioneered clinical pastoral education in Canada, creating training programs for those who provide pastoral care in an institutional setting. Leading by example, he has volunteered for 40 years in federal penitentiaries.”

–Excerpt from the official citation of Charles J. Taylor’s appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada, in 2003.

The Taylor Award, Correctional Service of Canada

In 2001, the International Year of Volunteers, the Correctional Service of Canada created the Taylor Award, named after Charles and Charlotte Taylor. The award was created to recognize their forty-plus years of volunteer work in Canada’s prisons and, in particular, for “… their lifetime dedication to faith-based counselling with offenders in correctional facilities and in the community, and for Dr. Taylor’s contribution to the development of prison ministry education.”

Each year since then, the Correctional Service of Canada has given the Taylor Award to an “outstanding CSC volunteer who has shown exceptional dedication to the Service,” bestowing the award on an individual (or couple) from BC, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces.

Past Directors

Profile of the Past Directors of the Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Growth

Dr. Tracy vom Hagen (née Demmons),
Director of the Taylor Centre,
2011-2013

Tracy first came to Acadia Divinity College as a student, earning a Master of Arts (Theology) with Distinction in 2004. During her studies at Acadia, she also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE); each unit consisting of four hundred hours of instruction or clinical practice in a specific setting such as hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons.

During this period, Tracy was living with, and rising above, the effects of Neurofibromatosis Type 2, a disorder characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors throughout the nervous system. Surgery affected Tracy’s hearing, and she was therefore unable to follow the call to chaplaincy as she had sought to do. Rather than dwell on the loss, Tracy listened with an open heart and recognized God’s hand at work in her life.

“Give whatever you can, take that step out in faith, and God will do the rest.”

— Dr. Tracy vom Hagen

From the Acadia Divinity College to the University of St Andrews

Turning her attention to the academic side of chaplaincy, Tracy enrolled at the venerable University of St Andrews in Scotland, completing a doctoral dissertation on the theology of knowledge of God for people with intellectual disabilities.

Tracy then accepted an internship with the United Nations Critical Incident and Stress Management Unit in New York, training UN support staff in providing psychosocial support. She then spent eighteen months in Afghanistan as a staff counsellor, providing psychological and spiritual support to UN staff working under conditions of extreme stress and hardship.

Unfortunately, her ongoing health problems forced her to return to Canada following this assignment, but she immediately became involved once again with the Acadia Divinity College’s work of training chaplains.

Return to ADC and the work of training chaplains

In February 2011, Acadia Divinity College formally launched the Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care, appointing Dr. Tracy Demmons as its first Director. In three brief years, Tracy, interrupted by several serious operations, worked to define the mission and vision of the Taylor Centre and to reconnect the Divinity College with the chaplaincy world in Canada and beyond.

As a teacher and counsellor, Tracy’s vibrant personality and tenacity in the face of severe physical limitations inspired and touched the lives of students in profound ways. In 2015, she was honoured by the Acadia Divinity College Alumni Association with its Distinguished Service Award, which honours alumni whose gifts for ministry have contributed significantly to the Christian church in Canada and throughout the world. Tracy vom Hagen, the youngest person ever to receive the award, was recognized for her outstanding contributions in the field of chaplaincy and spiritual care.

A deep faith, an indomitable spirit … a life ended too soon

Tracy believed that God works wonders with whatever you give Him. This was certainly demonstrated in her own life, which ended, too soon, in 2016. Everyone at the Acadia Divinity College and everyone who met her will long remember Tracy’s indomitable spirit, positive outlook on life, and deep faith in a loving God she described as one who “… can take brokenness and make much. He takes whatever we give him. I came in wanting to be someone to listen, and even though I couldn’t hear, I began to listen to hear in other ways, and God made something of that. So give whatever you can and take that step out in faith, and God will do the rest.”

Dr. Carol Anne Janzen,
Director of the Charles J. Taylor Centre,
2014-2018

Dr. Carol Anne Janzen has served the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada and Canadian Baptist Ministries in areas of Baptist historical work, missions, and children’s programming. With experience in both pastoral ministry and academic work, Carol Anne seeks to bring the best of current educational theory to the church’s approach to nurturing mature Christian faith. Her areas of interest are children’s spiritual formation, peace and justice education, faith and culture, sacred place and space, church history, and spiritual formation.

Since 2006, Carol Anne has played a number of roles at the same time at the Acadia Divinity College—Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Director of the Mentored Ministry Program, Dean of Students—and also, since 2014, Director of the Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care. Carol Anne has worked tirelessly in all these roles and, in her capacity as Director of the Taylor Centre, she has sought to restore and expand the College’s chaplaincy program, including importantly, spearheading the revival of Clinical Pastoral Education in correctional facilities—in Springhill Institution, 2012—2015, and in the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in 2017 and 2018. Carol Anne was a member of the steering committee of the National Conference on Community Chaplaincy, which was hosted by the Divinity College and national partners, and was held at Acadia University in 2013. Since that time, she has worked to develop research in Community Chaplaincy (working with people who have been incarcerated as they seek to establish new lives outside of jail or prison) and in chaplaincy work with seniors.

In 2018, Carol Anne accepted a new call to service of the faith. She will be leaving the College at the end of the 2017-18 academic year to take up the position of Regional Director of the Atlantic Region for the Canadian Bible Society. The College’s—not least the Taylor Centre’s—loss is the Bible Society’s gain, and we wish her every blessing in her new work.