Leaders at the Home of Grace in Vancleave remember the Rev. Wayne Myers as a big man who dressed like a cowboy and walked with humility but delivered a powerful message with depth and passion.
Myers was pastor at the Ramsay Hills Baptist Church in Vancleave, but he also was devoted to speaking to recovering addicts and alcoholics at the Home of Grace in his community — every Friday at 1 p.m. for 21 years.
He rarely missed the chance to preach his message there, even when he was sick.
Myers, who battled cancer, died Thursday morning at his home in Vancleave.
“He was a full-time pastor who had his own ranch, and he may have looked like he just got off a tractor, but he would leave whatever business he had that day and deliver the 1 p.m. talk,” said Josh Barton, executive director of Home of Grace.
F.G. Ware, a longtime friend, said, “He was one of the most beloved speakers we’ve ever had at the Home of Grace. He’d come humble. He connected with the men. He knew how to talk with them. They just loved him.”
In 2012, the recovery home gave Myers its highest honor, the Miracle Maker Award, for his work.
“He was the top-rated speaker, the man our alumni would come back on Fridays to hear,” Barton said. “He knew how to take a complicated biblical subject and bring it to life in simple terms.”
Myers served in Coast churches for 50 years. He was also pastor of First Baptist Church of D’Iberville, lost to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Larue Baptist Church.
“He was a legend of a man, always had his cowboy hat and shirt on with a big belt buckle,” Barton said. “He was a very unassuming person. If you were to walk up to him, you wouldn’t realize the depth he had to offer. His intelligence and ability to communicate were awesome. He called himself an old country preacher, but his experience and knowledge” indicated more.
He had a calm storytelling voice, Barton said, but when he got passionate, he could fill the room.
One memory Barton had was of Myers speaking to the men and their families two years ago.
“He was battling cancer at that time, he was already doing chemo, and he had only one good day a week of strength where he could actually preach,” Barton said, and he saved his energy that week for Home of Grace.
He was frail, but his clothes concealed that.
“He spoke with amazing strength and passion,” Barton said, “so that when he sat back down in his pew, he fell asleep immediately. He gave it his all that day.
“He gave it his all to the very end.”