As a teenager on Chicago’s South Side in the 1970s, Rev. Anthony Haynes trained to be a minister at the African Methodist Episcopalian Church. Now, more than four decades later, he is serving as associate minister for the River Jordan Ministries on the city’s South Side. Meanwhile, Rev. Haynes has had a wide variety of experiences in the public and private sectors that have contributed to his perspective on the world.
Rev. Haynes is chairman of the Ministers for Manufacturing Committee of Manufacturing Renaissance. On September 21, Manufacturing Renaissance will hold a virtual meeting of Ministers for Manufacturing. Because of the pandemic, the committee has not met in 18 months. “We have a great opportunity to help open doors for people in our communities,” says Rev. Haynes. He points to the positive role Manufacturing Renaissance and this committee can have in the community. “People need to be able to support themselves, their families, and be responsible,” he says. “This is a great avenue for that.”
After high school, Rev. Haynes worked in a range of areas in the U.S. Army, including social work, mental health and psychology. His responsibilities included conducting psychology testing, drug and alcohol counseling, and working in military confinement facilities. During his time in the military, he served in Germany, Korea and in various states across the country, including California, Texas, Colorado, and Hawaii. Rev. Haynes served in the military for 12 years and 11 months, and received a medical retirement. While in the military, he also worked as a Noncommissioned Officer in Charge for a Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, where he was a counselor for patients, manager, and was responsible for doing project management for the building of a new clinic. In addition, he worked at the Defense Language Institute, where he counseled students in the mental health clinic.
“I went through a lot in the military, and saw people go through a lot. I saw people dying in front of my face, and many people dealing with family issues.”
Range of experiences
When he got out of the army, his experience including a work study assignment in the Office of the Regional Director in the Chicago area for the Veteran’s Administration. He also worked as director of sales and marketing for a dental surgical equipment manufacturing company in Chicago.
His experience has also included working in hospitals, as a hospital chaplain. He reflects that “My wife got sick and died, and her illness was one of the things that made me decide to get back to the community and work in the hospital system.”
His work over the years has also included advocating for the rights of workers. “I was employed by the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues,” he says. “I went to different places around the country. My work involved supporting the steel workers union and bringing black and white churches together to help support those who were on strike.” In addition, he ran a program called the Building Bridges Project, which trained people to get union jobs and construction work.
Working with Manufacturing Renaissance
In 2016, Rev. Haynes met Dan Swinney, founder of Manufacturing Renaissance, and David Robinson, Director of External Affairs. “After a few conversations, I decided to volunteer my time to organize what they do for youth in their training and help open up avenues for funding and policies.” He has also advocated for RE/CAST, Manufacturing Renaissance’s program that advises companies on issues related to ownership succession.
He adds that work is an important component of people’s lives – and encouraging people to work and finding opportunities for them is tied to the role of the church. “Doing God’s work is not only concerned with feeding the soul, but the whole person. Jesus is concerned with the whole person,” says Rev. Haynes.
Rev. Haynes adds that the work of Manufacturing Renaissance can make a difference in helping “youth get mentored, trained, and learn the right way to live.”
In particular, he points to the Young Manufacturers Association as a program that can educate young people about work, ethics, and how to be positive citizens. He and Torres Hughes, Program Coordinator for Manufacturing Renaissance, have made presentations about the program to churches in the area.
Servant of the Lord
“This program is tangible, and it’s real,” he says. “It can be an important part of someone’s journey toward finding a skilled job in advanced manufacturing,” he says. “When that happens, they have opportunities to get credentials and work anywhere in the country. Where I come in is supporting people as they try to make a change in their life for the good. It’s about getting them the help that they need.”
Rev. Haynes cites a passage from Matthew: Chapter 25:
Jesus said “For I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me in. I was naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me. I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
Rev. Haynes adds, paraphrasing: “Then the servant asked the Lord, when did I do all these things, and the Lord said ‘In as much as ye have done until one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me.’”
“What this means to me,” Rev. Haynes says, “is that I love people of many different races and many nations. I am a willing servant of the Lord and it is done in love.”
Education and Business
Rev. Haynes received a bachelor’s degree from Devry University in Chicago, a master’s from the Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago, and an honorary doctorate from the Gospel Ministry Outreach Theological Institute in Houston, Texas. He also graduated from the Joseph Business School in Forest, Park IL, an accredited school that teaches business according to biblical principles.
He is currently owner and president of A.H. Global Trade Inc., an import-export company in Forest Park, IL. The company is a member of the Global Chamber, a community of professionals, mentors, and innovative companies taking on the work of global business.
Rev. Haynes has three step-children from his first marriage, and is currently engaged.
He is outspoken about what propels him forward – in the community, in his personal life, and in his work.
“The engine that keeps me going is my lord and savior Jesus Christ and his teaching, and my love for his people. That keeps me motivated to do more. And there is more to be done. I look forward to continuing our work with other ministers in the region to advance manufacturing – and provide more job opportunities in our communities.”