August 26, 1927 - July 19, 1983
|Talmage Wayne Perrott was director of the Wesley Foundation at Mississippi State University when I returned there from a hitch in the U. S. Army. The Wesley facility there consisted of a small room with two sofas and several chairs. A smaller partitioned alcove was Wayne’s inadequate office. Due to space, Wayne’s ministry was limited to being figuratively “the Church’s presence” on the campus, and limited practically to being friend and counselor to both students and faculty — usually around a table in the college grill, in an empty classroom, or sometimes a faculty office. This was a time when many veterans were coming back to college.
And veterans felt comfortable with Wayne. Pre-ministry students were especially attracted to Wayne for he was a genius in leading group sessions, usually provoking and challenging students’ home church, Sunday School theologies. The small Wesley Foundation room was packed all through the day.
One year after Wayne and Hughlene transferred to the Louisiana Conference, I attended Westminster Theological Seminary that summer. There I had my first seminary courses with Dr. Pat McConnell, now considered “father of Town and Country Ministry.” Dr. McConnell had known Wayne at Boston University, and told me he had found Wayne talented and gifted in the area of Town and Country Ministry, and had attempted to encourage Wayne into this field. He had hoped Wayne would eventually follow him in teaching Town and Country Ministry, possibly even at Boston University.
I was to finish Perkins School of Theology in January 1961. The North Mississippi Conference told me there would be nothing available for me until June. Wayne knew this, and informed his district superintendent of my availability to fill a vacancy in that district. Communications were made, and Wayne was thus somewhat responsible for my coming to the Louisiana Conference.
Wayne’s career has always reflected two gifts, which were his — namely, scholarship, and pastoral ministry with people. His doctoral program at LSU lacked only the completion of the final draft of his dissertation for his Ph.D. degree. Yet, Wayne’s scholarship never separated him from loving people as a pastor, and communicating with them. While at Lottie, Wayne became a Scottish Rite mason and a York Rite mason, primarily to relate with the men of that community. Once, while preaching for me, we visited a home of some elegance. To my own horror Wayne took off his shoes and propped his feet onto the coffee table. Wayne’s intuition read the people perfectly, for they responded with genuine warmth. On another occasion, Wayne tasted the coffee from the cup, and then scowled: “Do you call this coffee?” Before I could recover my aplomb and poise, the hosts were soon dripping their beloved strong Community dark-roast, and getting out their demitasses.
Wayne was born on August 26, 1927, near Summit, Mississippi. son of Talmage Dewitt and Ruby Johnston Perrott. He graduated from Pike County’s Enterprise High School in 1944. Some several months later Wayne enrolled in Millsaps College, from which he graduated in 1949 with the B.A. degree in Liberal Arts. After receiving the License to Preach in 1946, Wayne served as a student pastor while attending Millsaps College. Also, during this time, he completed the correspondence course for Admission on Trial. Upon graduation from Millsaps College in 1949, Wayne was admitted to the Mississippi Conference on trial, ordained deacon, and then entered Boston University School of Theology. During these seminary days, Wayne worked at the Dorchester YMCA. In 1951, he attended the Mississippi Conference for ordination to Elder and admission into full connection. On Christmas Day of that same year, Wayne married Miss Hughlene Speights of Bassfield, Mississippi. Hughlene returned to Boston with Wayne, being present when he was awarded the S.T.B. in 1952. They then continued at Boston University for Wayne to complete the S.T.M. in Social Ethics, in 1953.
Returning to the Mississippi Conference in 1953, they served one year on the Church Hill-Community McNair Circuit. In 1954, Wayne was appointed director of the Wesley Foundation at Mississippi State University. While at MSU, he took several courses with noted rural sociologists Harold Kaufman, who stimulated Wayne to continue graduate-level studies in Sociology.
In 1956, Wayne transferred to the Louisiana Conference, and was appointed to the Magnolia Church while pursuing graduate studies at LSU. Their daughter, Brenda Gail, was born there. After fifteen months, they moved to Lottie-Rosedale and were there almost six years. In 1964, Wayne moved his family to a home near the LSU campus, and became a fulltime graduate student there for three years. For two of these years, he taught at Delgado Junior College. Their second daughter, Hilda Dawn, was born there.
In 1966, Wayne was appointed associate professor of Sociology at Hattiesburg’s William Carey College. They were there until 1979, when Wayne requested pastoral appointment in the Louisiana Conference, and was sent to the Metairie church for one year. Wayne was appointed to Napoleon Avenue Church in 1980. They served there until the comparatively rare Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease took Wayne on July 19, 1983.
Memorial services were held in the Napoleon Avenue Church, with Bishop J. Kenneth Shamblin and the Reverend William C. Blakely officiating. Internment was in the Speights family plot in the cemetery at Bassfield, Mississippi.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1984; p. 196-198 By Wallace P. Blackwood|