Reverend Samuel Saylor
Pastor Samuel Saylor, Sr. is in his eighth year of pastoral ministry and has been ordained for ten years by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. He is currently the Senior Pastor of the Gardner Memorial AME Zion Church of Springfield, MA.
Reverend Saylor has spent much of his efforts fighting for gun reform laws after the loss of his son Shane, who was murdered in October of 2012. Joining forces with parents and individuals from Newtown, he has traveled many times to Washington, DC and other cities to lobby for responsible gun legislation. In a speech in Hartford, Rev. Saylor coined the phrase; “We Are Newtown”, after gaining insight into the interconnectedness of both urban and suburban abhorrence of Gun Violence.
In February of 2013, he met with Vice President Biden and secured his support for a new campaign he started called “Kids Without Guns.” The purpose is to have children turn in their toy guns and take a pledge to refrain from playing with guns. Reverend Saylor organized a national panel of individuals who have lost loved ones to gun violence on urban streets throughout America, the goal is to bring out the voice and concern of gun violence which happens on a regular bases in our city’s poorest communities. Rev. Saylor was featured on CNN with Newtown’s Attorney, Monte Franks and is the central figure in a yearlong documentary of gun violence and related experiences produced by Odyssey Productions located in New York.
In 2014, he called for and initiated clergy leadership over the city’s faith based initiative started by local politicians for the sake of spiritual response to the gun violence on city streets—over 40 pastors and ministers are now working together in this effort.
Reverend Saylor has spent the last 33 years serving as an activist, youth worker and parent leader in Hartford. Among the many awards and recognitions he has received over the years are: Hartford Public Schools’ “Parent of the Year Award”; African American Alliances’ “Father of the Year” and Hartford District Conference’s “Preacher Appreciation Award”.
He helped form a local progressive network of Christians called We Works Coalition for Peace and Justice and took the lead in developing Hartford’s first Faith Based Crisis Response Team—Balm of Hartford,. In 2013, Reverend Saylor joined with Rev. Henry Brown to start the Hartford Hundred Man Movement to take the mission of feeding the poor children and families in Hartford poorest communities.
Reverend Saylor has served on many boards and task forces over the past 33 years including, among others, the Connecticut Governor’s Task Force of Education and Equality, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA), the African American Alliance, Mothers United Against Violence, Hartford’s Hundred Man Movement. He is the founder of Sons & Daughters of Harriet Tubman.
Thirty-Three years afforded Reverend Saylor many other experiences, too numerous to mention on one sheet of paper; but what he would have you to know, is that he truly appreciates God’s allowance of him as husband of Gabriella, father of Anona, Sam, Jr., Sasha, Shane, Johnathan and Jerimiah, grandfather of Zakiah and Amiyah and Pastor of his current church Gardner Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church.
Reverend. Saylor attended Hartford Public Schools, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration in 1980, the Midwest Academy Executive Organizing in 1982, the Yale School of Psychiatry Non-Profit Human Resources Certificate Program in 1984, and the Hartford Graduate Center Non-profit Management Program in 1985.