Pastors' Memoirs

Floyd Jackson Wingfield, Jr., 1930-2001

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Dr. Floyd Jackson Wingfield Jr. (F.J.) touched lives through ministry in the churches of Amherst Circuit, Rapidan, Newcastle, Wesley in Hampton, Hot Springs, Bath Larger Parish, Rocky Mount, Smithfield, Belmont in Roanoke, St. Marks in Petersburg, Calvary in Stuarts Draft, Dayton, and Highland in Petersburg. F.J. retired in 1997.

   His ministry was alive and dynamic. He was quick to crack a joke, and then touch you with a story to make you cry. F.J. loved youth ministry. He took youth groups all over the continent. He took a group to Texas to a Billy Graham Crusade in a bus the church bought with green stamps! Fifteen years later, in a bus named "Holy Smoke," he took a group to Toronto. He thought children’s "love time" during worship was a highlight, not a hindrance.

   He was full of encouragement for the folks with whom he ministered. He always said, "Just love them." This was the framework of his ministry. His love and caring went beyond the pastor/parishioner relationship to one of friendship. In every church he served there were those whose souls were touched in a special way by his sharing of God’s love.

F.J. was best known for his preaching. He was affectionately known to some as "Preacher." He shared in the gift of preaching with his father and his four brothers. "He was," as one parishioner said, "able to move you as he proclaimed the love of God." After 30 years, I still remember several of the sermons he preached at my home church when I was a young child. His preaching took him to many places to preach revivals, and even took him to Canada and Romania for weddings and missions.

   F.J. and his wife, Shirley, lost their son, Wade, in November 1993. In one of those sermons long ago, F.J. told us that God did the hardest thing anyone could ever do; He watched His Son die. This, he said, showed us how much God loved us that He gave His only Son for our lives. I have always remembered the impact of that sermon. In the midst of the grief over the loss of Wade, those words of the love of God touched me again.

F.J. developed cancer from exposure to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Navy. After years of surgery and treatment, and more than 40 years of serving Jesus Christ in ministry, he went to be with our Lord on December 26, 2001. His life touched many, and the love of God he shared still lives with these memories in our hearts and souls.

— The Rev. B. Failes Jr.



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