Reverend Anthony Kelley, M.Div.

Organizer, Pastor and Teacher

Anthony Kelley was born in Chicago, Illinois and is the Visionary Organizer, Senior Pastor and Teacher of the Greater First Church Baptist in Baker, LA. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) from Trinity College, Deerfield, IL (double majors in Sociology and Biblical Studies), and Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary/Northwestern University Campus, Evanston, IL (Administration and Social Ethics). He has studied Business Administration at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University; African-American Literature at the Graduate School of Northwestern University; Sociology at Roosevelt University and Loyola University of Chicago; Social Ethics at Chicago Theological Seminary; and Exegesis of Greek New Testament Studies at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He was licensed to preach in 1971 by the Centennial Baptist Church on Chicago’s Southside and ordained in 1978 by the First [Institutional] Baptist Church on Chicago’s Westside. He is the former Senior Pastor of the Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, LA succeeding Dr. T.J. Jemison, former President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. He served other churches to include Van Buren Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, IN; Union Baptist Church in Danville, IL; and King of All Nations Baptist Church in Chicago, IL.

He is a former Commissioned County Deputy Sheriff Staff Chaplain for the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Indianapolis, IN and Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Crown Point, IN; first African-American State Prison Staff Chaplain at Indiana State Prison and Out Camps Chaplain for Louisiana State Penitentiary. In 1994, he was appointed the Executive Secretary as Founder of the newly created Prison Ministry and Criminal Justice Commission (PMCJC) of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Also for 15 years he served as the Instructor on Prison Ministry for the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education and past Lecturer for the Annual December Conference of Christian Educators, CED-SSPB of the NBCUSA. Kelley is past President of the Interdenominational Black Pastor’s Conference of Danville, IL; past Vice-President of Danville, IL Branch of the N.A.A.C.P.; past Chairman of the Finance Committee of Baptist General State Convention of IL; past Instructor and Dean of Wood River Baptist District Association of IL; past Delegate of Illinois Assembly on the Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse; former member of MLK, Jr. Illinois Holiday Council; past President of Interfaith Clergy Council of Gary and Vicinity; former Chairman of Criminal Justice Sub-Committee to establish the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males; and former Member of Board of Directors of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana. Kelley has also served as Director of the Social Justice Department, Congress Instructor and Member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Louisiana Baptist Convention, Inc.

He is also, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Reclamation and Restoration Ministries, Inc. (a 501 © (3) Non-Profit Public Charity) which engages in youth development, public safety and family preservation projects. Kelley is author of three books, Jailhouse Religion: The Church’s Mission and Ministry to the Incarcerated-1992; A Strange Silence From the Pulpit: The Prophetic Role of Pastors in Prison Ministry-1998, revised 2000; and How Shall They Hear: Effective Preaching to Prisoners-2013 (Townsend Press, Sunday School Publishing Board, Nashville, TN). He is currently working on nine additional books entitled, What the Spirit is Saying to the Church-in-the-Black Experience: A 21st Century Progressive Ministry Vision Plan (first of a seven part book series); and In Season and Out of Season: Preaching through Contradictions, Challenges, Controversies and Celebrations of Life; and Memoirs from Berkeley Avenue: A Manual for Pathways from Boys to Men.

AWARDS TO INCLUDE: Cited for Outstanding Service to the Indianapolis Community by: WBRI American Bible Radio (The Shirley Herd Show) 1982; THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR Newspaper, 1982; THE MARION COUNTY BANNER Newspaper, 1981; THE RECORDER Newspaper, 1983 WISH Television Channel 8, “Indy Today” program, 1982; WRTV Television Channel 6, “Living for The City” program, 1982; WTHR Television Channel 13, “A Portrait of a Winner” on the six o’clock news, January 1983; and WRTV Television Channel 6, “Impact Indiana” program, 1983. Also selected as an OUTSTANDING YOUNG MAN OF AMERICA by the OYM of America Association, endorsed by the United States Jaycees (1980); 2000 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD- Indiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; and 2000 BARBARA LEEK-WESSON HUMANITARIAN PHOENIX AWARD-Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living, Gary, IN. THE ANTHONY KELLEY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP was established in 2003 at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Northwestern University Campus) in honor of Anthony Kelley’s now more than 30 years of faithful and effective ministry since his graduation from seminary in 1980. Honorary Mayor-President City of Baton Rouge-Parish of East Baton Rouge, LA; Board Certification as Clinical Chaplain by the Louisiana Chaplains’ Association, Inc. #237, Baton Rouge, LA; Commissioned Police Chaplain for the City of Baker, LA; and Certificate of Training, Pre-Service Regional Academy-Indiana Department of Correction-Division of Staff Development and Training.