Speakers

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor

Anthony Basil Taylor was born April 24, 1954, in Fort Worth, Texas. His parents and grandparents on both sides were long-time residents of Fort Worth. Two of his grandparents are converts (his mother’s father from Judaism and his father’s mother from Protestantism) and both of his parents, as well as the Taylor children themselves, were raised in a solid traditional Catholic home.

Bishop Taylor is the oldest of the seven children of Basil and Rachel (Roth) Taylor — the 5 Taylor boys and 2 Taylor girls were born in a little over 9 years and are as close personally as they are in age. The Taylor family moved to Ponca City, Okla., in 1960, where Bishop Taylor’s parents and two of his siblings and their families still live today — the other 4 live in Fort Worth and Dallas. Ponca City is on the Arkansas River in northern Oklahoma.
Bishop Taylor attended parochial and public schools, graduating from Ponca City High School in 1972. He attended the University of Oklahoma for two years, after which he was accepted as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary College in Indiana for two years, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history. From 1976-1980 he attended the North American College in Rome, taking classes at the Gregorian University, and was ordained a priest at St. Mary Parish in Ponca City, his home parish, on Aug. 2, 1980.

Hispanic ministry has been a major feature of Bishop Taylor’s ministry from the beginning. His first assignment was to Sacred Heart Parish, Oklahoma City, and within a month of ordination he had begun to celebrate Mass in Spanish twice a month in Clinton and Hinton, Okla., Masses that he initiated. In 1982 he was transferred to western Oklahoma, where he lived at Queen of All Saints mission in Sayre until 1986 and served the Hispanic population in a five-county area, including ongoing ministry in Clinton and Hinton.

In 1984 then Archbishop Salatka decided to send Father Taylor to Fordham University in New York for further studies. He took classes there during the summers of 1984 and 1985, and then full time from 1986 to 1988. During this time he served Holy Rosary Parish in the Bronx. Fordham University awarded Father Taylor a doctorate in biblical theology in 1989. The title of his dissertation was “The Master-Servant Type Scene in the Parables of Jesus.”
Upon his return to Oklahoma, Father Taylor was named the vicar for ministries of the archdiocese. He was responsible for ministry to priests and, for a number of years, was also responsible for the permanent diaconate program. He had specific responsibility for the orientation and oversight of the international priests serving in Oklahoma, for the newly ordained in their first year of ministry and new pastors in their first year as pastors. He remained the vicar for ministries for 20 years, until being named bishop of Little Rock.

In 1993 Father Taylor also became the founding pastor of St. Monica parish in Edmond, Okla., which is a total stewardship parish. During his 10 years at St. Monica, the parish grew rapidly and dedicated a large beautiful church in the 2000. In 2003 Father Taylor returned to Sacred Heart Parish in Oklahoma City as pastor and has overseen the last phase of its transition from predominately Anglo to predominately Hispanic. The parish is now 95 percent Hispanic and has nine Masses on the weekend, seven in Spanish, one bilingual and one in English.

From 1963-2001 the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City sponsored and staffed the parish of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, and in 1981 Oklahoma priest Father Stanley Rother was martyred there, as were many of his catechists and parishioners during the 1980s. In 2001 the parish was returned to the care of the local diocese of Sololá, but the Catholics of Oklahoma continue to be involved in providing assistance to that parish.

For the last several years Bishop Taylor has been in charge of facilitating Oklahoma support for that parish, its parish school, the local hospital and most recently an alcohol abuse treatment center planned for that community. The cause of canonization of Father Rother was opened formally in September 2007 with Father Taylor heading up the effort as the episcopal delegate for the process. To date he has interviewed 35 of the 112 still-living witnesses to Father Rother’s martyrdom and/or heroic virtue, 23 of these in Guatemala.

At the time he was selected for Little Rock, Father Taylor was also the chairman of the Presbyteral Council, chairman of the Personnel Board, chairman of the Retirement Board, a member of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and a member of the Mount St. Mary High School Board of Trustees. Mount St. Mary in Oklahoma City is a sister school of Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock.

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Pastor Mark Evans

Mark Evans is the founder and Senior Pastor of The Church at Rock Creek, a fast-growing congregation of 6,000 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Church at Rock Creek has been featured in Church Growth magazine’s list of “The 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America.” Mark was also highlighted in “The Church Report” as a “leader to watch” – one of a handful of leaders across the nation who have “taken their congregations to new levels, expanded their community outreach, found new ways to reach out, and served as an excellent example of a quality leader.” Mark’s community involvement has included serving as Chairman of the Mayor’s Homeless Commission for Little Rock and North Little Rock, as well as Co-Chairman of the Luis Palau Central Arkansas CityFest event held in October, 2009. In the past, Mark served as Chairman of the Transitional Employment Agency, a statewide program focused on welfare-to-work. The people-focused, practical ministries The Church at Rock Creek has established at its “Care Center” – a hands on computer lab, an employment training agency, a food bank, and a car repair ministry – have been widely recognized as innovative outreach programs that are making a real difference in Central Arkansas. In April 2006, The Church at Rock Creek moved to a new 40 acre ministry campus featuring a 3,000 seat worship facility, with plans to expand their ministry by adding a home for abused and neglected children, a residential ministry for troubled teenagers, and a shelter for homeless families. Mark is a popular and frequent speaker at special events and company employee meetings. He is also the author of four books, including his latest (co-authored with his wife Terri): “Before the Vow Breaks — How to Beat the Odds and Build a Marriage That Lasts.” More information about Mark’s books, CD’s and other resources — including a link to his popular blog — is available at his website: “PastorMarkEvans.com”

Mark and Terri, along with their two teenage children, make their home in the Little Rock area. Mark’s hobbies include “all things baseball,” duck hunting, travel and fitness.

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Jerry Cox

Jerry is a native of Arkansas and spent 11 years as a classroom teacher.  His introduction into politics came through his involvement in a successful effort to pass a state constitutional amendment to prevent public funding of abortions in Arkansas.  In 1989 he founded Family Council, a non-profit education and research organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and strengthening traditional family values in Arkansas.  Later he established the Education Alliance, a statewide home school support organization, and the Arkansas Physicians Resource Council, an organization for Christian physicians.  In 2004, Jerry founded the Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee, an organization that secured passage of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.  In 2008, he led a successful effort to pass Act One, an initiated act that prevented adoptive or foster children from being placed in cohabiting homes. Jerry and his staff operate out of an office near the State Capitol in downtown Little Rock.  Among the many things they do, he and his staff lobby the Arkansas Legislature, publish voter’s guides, and conduct media interviews on a wide range of social and moral issues.  Jerry and his wife Doris live in Little Rock.  They have 4 sons and two daughters-in-law.

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Beth Anne Rankin

Rankin was raised on the family farm in Magnolia, Arkansas as a seventh-generation Arkansan.

After graduating from Magnolia High School, Rankin attended Southern Arkansas University and later Ouachita Baptist University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in music and history and was selected the Outstanding Senior Woman by both faculty and students. She served as Miss Arkansas 1994 and then performed in Branson for one season with America’s Premier Piano Showman, Dino.

In 1996 Rankin joined the Governor’s office and worked with Governor Mike Huckabee as Policy Advisor and Director for State-Federal affairs, National Governors Association, Capitol Hill and the White House.

In 2004 Rankin launched Beth Anne Productions, Inc., a teaching, speaking and music company. She also serves as VP of Rankin Land & Timber Inc. And co-hosted a Christian radio talk show, Scarlet Thread Conversations.

Rankin first ran for public office in 2010 when she won the Republican primary for Arkansas’ 4th congressional district by carrying 27 of 29 counties.

A former board member for Arkansas Teen Challenge and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Beth Anne lives in Magnolia where she currently serves as President of Beth Anne Productions, Inc.

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