St. Andrew's Episcopal ChurchAyer, Massachusetts

Parish History:Richard Taylor Lyford

RICHARD TAYLOR LYFORD, son of James O. and Susan A. (Hill) Lyford, was born 6 Jan 1896 in Concord, New Hampshire. His father was a lawyer, member of the New Hampshire Legislature, and long-time Chairman of the New Hampshire State Savings Bank Commission. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1918 with an A.B. degree and from Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1925 with a B.D. degree. He was ordained a deacon in October 1924, and a priest in June 1925, by the Rt. Rev. Edward Melville Parker, Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. He was married to Dorothy Winthrop Emery, daughter of the Rev. William Stanley and Ethel (Naunton) Emery of Concord, New Hampshire, 21 June 1926 in Concord, New Hampshire. They had one son.

In December 1924, while still a student at Episcopal Theological School, he was engaged to be the regular supply vicar at St. Andrew's Church in Ayer, Massachusetts and its mission in Forge Village after the rather sudden departure of the Rev. Leslie F. Wallace. The Rev. Dr. Endicott Peabody and masters from Groton School had been filling in on a temporary basis since the end of September, and students from Groton School had been assisting in the choir. It seemed difficult for the parish to find the right person to succeed Rev. Wallace. In the meanwhile, Rev. Lyford took charge of the services and the Sunday school. He was greatly liked during the short time he served St. Andrew's.

In the summer of 1925, he was appointed curate at St. Paul's Church in Concord, New Hampshire, where the Rev. William Stanley Emery served as rector. After his marriage in 1926, he was called to be rector at St. Andrew's Church in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

In May 1931, he was elected rector of the Church of St. Asaph in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. During his time at St. Asaph's, the parish grew from 426 communicants and 225 children in the Sunday school to 940 communicants and 285 children in the Sunday school. Also, the role of women in the life, work, and leadership of the parish grew steadily. The Women of St. Asaph's, founded in 1944 from two earlier guilds, led programs to address the missionary, charitable outreach, and social needs of the community. While continuing his work as rector at St. Asaph's, he served as trustee of the Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, which awarded him an honorary D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) degree in 1954. He was also a trustee of Episcopal Hospital and the Philadelphia City Institute, both in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He retired in 1964, after serving the Church of St. Asaph for 33 years, and moved to Denver, Colorado to be near his family. During his retirement, he assisted at Calvary Church in Golden, Colorado and was later a parish visitor for St. John's Cathedral in Denver.

The Rev. Dr. Richard Taylor Lyford died 29 February 1976 in Denver, Colorado. After a memorial service at St. John's Cathedral in Denver, his ashes were taken to the Church of St. Asaph in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania for interment.
1. "Ayer," Turners Public Spirit, Ayer, Massachusetts, 13 December 1924, 4.
2. Bennett, Mrs. Frank Silas History of St. Andrew's Church: Ayer, Groton, Forge Village 1892-1942 (Ayer, Massachusetts: St. Andrew's Church, 1944), 18-19.
3. Episcopal Church Directory 1975 Edition (New York, The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1975), 358.
4. "Rev. Richard T. Lyford," Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, 3 March 1976, 100.
Photograph courtesy of Richard T. Lyford, Jr., Denver, Colorado.


Physical address
7 Faulkner Street
Ayer, Massachusetts 01432

Mailing address
St. Andrew's Church
PO Box 298
Ayer, MA 01432

Disability services

St. Andrew's is handicap accessible. We also have large print bibles and Book of Common Prayer available upon request

BSA Pack 32

St. Andrew's is a proud sponsor of Cub Scout Pack 32. Contact them at ObscureBSA for more information.