This year, Pastor Samuel Saylor, Sr. marks 12 years as a pastoral minister, and he has been ordained with Elder’s Orders for ten years by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church. Currently, Saylor is the Senior Pastor of the Gardner Memorial AME Zion Church of Springfield, MA, and was appointed by the New England Conference as Chairman of the Social and Political Action Committee. Pastor Saylor is also the National Vice President of the National Gun Victims Action Council, a Chicago-based coalition of gun violence victims.
Pastor Saylor has fought tirelessly for gun reform laws since October 2012, when his son Shane was senselessly murdered. He has mobilized with the parents from Newtown, CT, as well as other concerned citizens, traveling to Washington, D.C. and other major cities to lobby for responsible gun legislation. Pastor Saylor coined the phrase, “We are Newtown,” during a speech in Hartford, CT, after gaining insight into the interconnectedness of urban and suburban gun violence. In February 2013, the pastor met with Vice President Joe Biden to secure support for a new campaign called “Kids Without Guns,” where children would pledge to not play with and turn in their toy guns.
Pastor Saylor has spent the last 33 years serving as an activist, youth worker, administrator, and parent leader. Among the many awards and recognitions he has received, some include: Hartford Public Schools “Parent of the Year Award,” African American Alliances “Father of the Year,” and Hartford District Conference’s “Preacher Appreciation Award.” For the past three decades, Saylor has served on many boards and task forces such as: The Connecticut Governor’s Task Force of Education and Equality; the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA); the African American Alliance; Mothers United Against Violence; and, Hartford’s Hundred Man Movement. He is also the founder of Sons & Daughters of Harriet Tubman. He is also husband to Gabriella, a father of six, and grandfather to four.