Friends And Family Say Final Farewell To Reverend Barton

MOSS POINT (WLOX) -- What started as a small community's church, is now a church for the community.  Wade Baptist Church prides itself on being a beacon in the community.

For the past 20 years, Reverend Bill Barton Senior was an instrumental part of the Jackson County church's history and its future.

"His language and his focus wasn't, what's going to happen tomorrow. (It was) What are you going to do now," says Danny Wildman, a decon at Wade Baptist Church.

Deacon Wildman worked with Reverend Barton for more than 20 years. A man he says always expected the best from everyone he met.

"When you get a task, Brother Bill wouldn't interfere with that task. He expected you to go do it," Wildman said.

It's that 'can-do' attitude no one will forget as they remember the life of Brother Bill.

"Brother Bill taught every member the same, from the wealthy to the non-wealthy. No matter what your background was. The recovering alcoholic to the drug addict to the bank president, he treated us all the same," says Deacon Mark Taylor.

Taylor remembers that faithful day in the early 80s when Reverend Bill took over as pastor of the now 100-year-old church. He says that's when his lesson began.

"His favorite scripture was out of Nehemiah. The children of Nehemiah were trying to build the walls back. And that was his theme for us: Stay on the wall; stay on the team," says Taylor.

His biggest lesson: Stand strong as a team to do God's work. It's that lesson of faith, commitment and love people will remember most about the man who gave his life to his community.

"It's hard not to love and appreciate a man that loves you in return," Wildman said.

Reverend Bill Barton was also responsible for starting Home of Grace, a ministry that helped people with drug and alcohol addictions.

Reverend Barton was 83 years old.