Rev. Dr. Wayne Wiatt Returns to Trinity’s Pulpit

Rev. Dr. Wayne Wiatt Returns to Trinity’s Pulpit

by Tanya Holladay, Member of the Bicentennial Publicity Committee

There are some people who have a such profound impact upon you as a youth, whom you never forget and remain grateful for having had them in your life, if even for a brief time. The Rev. Dr. Wayne Wiatt is such a person. 

I first met Wayne during the summer of my sophomore year of high school, when he joined the staff of Trinity United Methodist Church as our Summer Youth Director in 1976 and the following two summers. My sister and I thoroughly loved being in the very large and active youth group, and the youth worship services were filled with the Holy Spirit and holy fellowship. With his talented musical voice and guitar-strumming fingers, he led us in a traveling youth choir, delivering meals on wheels and on several mission, trips including Mountain Top Tennessee, Appalachia Service Project, and a mission trip to the Bahamas. His sincere, kind, and calming presence led to trust and confidence in his leadership and his obvious love for people left a lasting impression on me. Wayne was a true encourager. When I heard a few years later that he had followed the call to become an ordained minister, I knew that God would use him in a powerful way.

Rev. Wiatt grew up in rural North Florida. He holds a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He has served Florida Conference congregations including First Jacksonville, Palm Coast, Southside, Jacksonville, and completed 14 years of serving on the Bishop’s Appointive and Extended Cabinets. He is a past director for the Office of Clergy Excellence, where he had responsibility for the care and oversight for all licensed and ordained clergy in the Florida Conference.

Wayne returned to Trinity in 2016 as Senior Pastor and what a joy it was for those of us who had known him during those fun-packed, Spirit-filled 70s summers! Wayne led the Trinity congregation faithfully, concluding his tenure as Senior Pastor on June 30, 2022, serving one additional year as the North West District Superintendent. Retiring in June of 2023, his final formal ministerial role was to lead a trip to trace the journey of the Apostle Paul in Greece and Turkey. As with the summers of my youth, this trip was a highlight of a lifetime for those of us whom he led on that inspiring journey.

Beyond his leadership and involvement in the local church, Wayne was an active member in Rotary International, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Community Outreach Ministries, and Advocacy for Racial Justice and Inclusivity. He formerly served on the United Methodist Publishing House Board of Nashville, Tennessee, Board of Trustees for Bethune Cookman University, and the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Florida Conference, on which he served for twelve years. An avid water sports enthusiast, Wayne enjoys swimming, sailing, kayaking, water-skiing, and paddle boarding. He particularly enjoys exploring the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge and nearby parks.

Wayne is married to Ramona Folds, formerly of Titusville, who was previously an employee of the Disney Corporation. They have two grown children: Matthew (Katie) Wiatt, film makers in Lakeland, Florida, and Taylor (Phillip) Stokes, both employed with the University of Florida. They also enjoy spending their time with two granddaughters, Coraline Mae Stokes and Mariam Lily Stokes. Wayne and Ramona reside in Tallahassee in the “forever” home on Lake Talquin.

Wayne was involved in the early planning for Trinity’s Bicentennial, and we’ll welcome his return to Trinity as one of our guest clergy on Sunday, June 9.