Pastors' Memoirs

John Wynn Myers, 1914 - 1996

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John Wynn Myers had a restless, searching mind. He was an evangelist, yet a liberal. He was a leader, yet a servant. He was an intellectual, but he had the common touch. He was full of answers, but also of questions. He had the gift of words, yet his chief loveliness was in what he was. He had a great sense of beauty, but he knew the hurts of the human heart. His presence was always a little bit bigger than life.

  Born May 28, 1914, in the parsonage at Courtland, Virginia, to Horwood Prettyman Myers and Matilda Manson Wynn Myers, he was the oldest of four sons of a distinguished family. He attended John Marshall High School in Richmond and graduated from Maury High School in Norfolk. He completed his degree from Randolph-Macon in three years and his theological degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in two, graduating in 1936. While at Emory he met Charlotte Scott of Rome, Georgia. On April 9, 1937, he returned to Rome and they claimed each other as husband and wife. For 59 years they shared their significant abilities in rich ministry. To this marriage came two daughters, Sarah "Sallie" Peters and Maude "Maudie" Wynn Mitchell.

  Bedford Circuit (1936-44) was John’s first appointment. This was followed by assignments to Cheriton (1940-44); Fairmount and Norview (1944-48), which became station appointments when he left Norfolk; Farmville (1948-52); superintendent of the Staunton District (1952-55); Greene Memorial (1955-60); Washington Street, Alexandria (1960-65); Centenary, Richmond (1965-69); Park Place (1969-72); Centenary, Portsmouth (1972-76); and Granbery Memorial, Covington (1976-79). Retirement to Roanoke brought them back to a place where he had served with great distinction while at Greene Memorial.

  Honors and responsibilities came his way. Randolph-Macon awarded him a doctor of divinity degree in 1955. He was elected to the Jurisdictional Conference of 1956 and 1964. He served as president of the Virginia Conference Fellowship and from time to time on conference boards and agencies including Education and Evangelism. He was noted as a preacher and up to the end of his life was in demand to fill pulpits or to give one of his memorable prayers.

  John Wynn Myers was the product of a parsonage rearing, the Epworth League, the old Virginia conference, a proper southern and Methodist education. He was nurtured in the liberal arts; he was sustained by incessant reading and speaking. He was enriched by travel and visits to Chautauqua and most of all by a happy and creative marriage. He was more than a worthy representative of all that. It was a proud heritage disciplined by the Wesleyan tradition. John Wynn Myers understood that "unto whom much has been given, much shall be expected," so he gave back in double portions.

  On Thursday, March 28, 1996, his heavenly summons came. A service in celebration of his life was held on Palm Sunday afternoon, March 31, in his beloved Greene Memorial Church where he was pastor emeritus. Participating in the service were Robert Watts and Robert Garner, Walter Lockett, Doug Newman, John Newman and Bernard Via.

  So he was among us: preacher, pastor, evangelist, scholar, historian, administrator, husband, father, friend. His years were filled with love, work, and a radiant goodness that blessed us all.

— Bernard S. Via, Jr.


Pilgrim on the Way

remembering John Wynn Myers


Above the darkening valley

  the sinking sun

    illuminates

      Mountain tops.

A pilgrim, on the Way, escapes the night.


Faithful friend,

  by your leaving

    we are diminished,

And in grief’s shadows,

  size faith.

By its vision

  we see you climbing

    into the light.

— Bernard S. Via, Jr.

 

 

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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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