Bro Tony's Biography
Bro. Tony's Biography
February 17, 2016
To Our Christian Family,
Blessing in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! My name is Reverend Tony Antonelli and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you who I am, how the Lord has called me into His service, and some places I have served as Pastor.
I was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan on April 6, 1960. We (father, Tony Antonelli; mother, Mary; brother, Wayne; sister, Kathy and I) lived in Stevensville and attended Lakeshore School systems. At age eleven my parents divorced and my sister and I moved with my mother. During that time my brother had gone into the Army and was on his own. At age thirteen my mother had remarried and moved to Blountstown, Florida and I stayed in Michigan with my father. As for my sister, she moved to Florida with my mother. At age fifteen my father married and at age sixteen I too moved with my mother who then lived in Marianna, Florida. During this time in 1977, I was State Runner-up in Class-B bowling plus played on the Marianna Bulldogs basketball team. We were State Runner-ups in Class-B both 1977 and 1978. This culminated with my graduation in 1978 from Marianna High School. On April 5, 1978 I began my delayed enlistment in the United States Air Force and October 5, 1978 I left for basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas. After basic training I was transferred for training on the Minuteman Program, an Inter-Continental Nuclear Missile System, at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. Then had a permanent duty station in Great Falls, Montana at Malmstrom, AFB until December 1982. I then returned to the panhandle of Florida to pursue an Electronics career.
I enrolled at Gulf Coast Community College where I earned an Associate of Science degree in Micro Computer Systems. In 1987, I was privileged to receive the “Outstanding Electronics Student of the Year Award” and the “Co-Operative Educational Student of The Year Award”. My cooperative education was with The Naval Coastal Systems Center and upon graduation they hired me as an Electronic Technician.
My Call: The Lord touched my life in July 1986 at the Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Panama City, Florida, under Reverend Norman F. Hodges. This was a true deliverance experience (two and half hours) like in Acts 9, Saul's conversion. From Reverend Hodge's sermon the statement I remember is, "You create your own circumstances through the decisions you make". I was also prophesied over that "You will be an Oasis in the desert and people will come and drink from you". I truly didn't understand what this meant. However, the Lord continued to reveal certain scriptures to me and directed me toward being a Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church.
In 1987, I became a Lay Speaker Trainer and even served on the Marianna/Panama City District Board for Lay Speakers. In June 1989 I was appointed to a two-point charge with Black Creek and Red Bay United Methodist Churches in the Alabama/West Florida Conference. In August, 1990 Brother Eugene Calloway, my spiritual grandfather, invited me to the Centennial for Indian Springs Holiness Campmeeting in Flovilla, Georgia. While there, I heard Dr. Dennis Kinlaw preach on a deeper commitment. I went to the altar and the Lord spoke to my heart "I should attend Asbury College and that while in school I would meet my wife". What a shock, because I didn't know where Asbury College was and surely wasn't ready to get married. Under the preaching of Reverend Mark Nysewander on preacher’s night at the Bethlehem Holiness Campmeeting in Bonifay, Florida, the Lord revealed to me, "I would be ministering to ministers". Meanwhile, I kept seeking the Lord's will for my life.
In 1992 I was honored with the Marianna/Panama City District Harry Denman Award. This award is given each year to the person who best exhibits a hunger for the lost and wins souls to the Kingdom of God. I began to see what the Lord had been showing me. The direction was toward becoming a preacher.
My theme song for my life is "Living by Faith". I put it into practice in January 1992 by leaving a secure Civil Service job with the Department of the Navy, to pursue a call on my life as a full-time preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I enrolled at Gulf Coast Community College to meet the requirements for an Associate of Arts degree. In June of 1993, I moved to Salvisa, Kentucky enabling me to attend Asbury College so as to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Bible. Up to this point I had preached about fifteen revivals and campmeetings, plus the 1993 The Annual Marianna/Panama City District Youth Rally.
Moving to Kentucky in June of 1993 I received a two-point charge with Salvisa/Joseph's Chapel United Methodist Churches with a parsonage just thirty minutes from the college. In most Asbury students’ opinion it was the best student pastor charge in the conference. What a blessing of God! The following year on May 21, 1994 I married Cynthia Archer with her daughter Lyndsie from Cedar Hill UMC in East Brewton, Alabama. After a short time in Salvisa, we had a revival in April 1995 where Dr. Ron Smith, the Director of the Francis Asbury Society, came and ministered to the people but the Lord called us to step out on faith to explore our call as an Evangelist. This would be our ministry while attending school to equip us for the pastorate.
On August 20, 1995 we resigned from the two-point charge as we were led to Wilmore, Kentucky to focus on my education. I had become acquainted with the Francis Asbury Society (FAS). The founder, Dr. Dennis F. Kinlaw, he affirmed my call as an evangelist, as well as, establishing himself and Dr. Ron Smith as my mentors for ministry. God ordained the move.
Our family, on March 28th, 1997 was born to us our son Anthony Louis Antonelli II. Then on August 31, 1999 we were blessed with our beautiful little girl Rebekah Rose Antonelli. They have given us great joy. Lyndsie is now married to Duane Jackson, living in Milton, Florida. She has three girls, Taylor, born March 17, 2002 and Catelyn, born August 26, 2008 and Skylar, born November 11, 2014. My wife Cynthia, while in Kentucky attending school, worked for the United States Post Office in Versailles, as a part-time rural route carrier. She has also worked in the cafeteria at Autauga Academy where our children attended school. And now at our current appointment she is the choir director, youth leader and the After School director for Marengo Academy where our daughter attends. Anthony is currently attending Asbury University studying Piano Performance. Praise the Lord!
In July of 1996, I graduated from Asbury College with a BA in Bible. I then continued my education at Asbury Theological Seminary ending with a Master of Divinity Degree. During my educational process I worked as an evangelist traveling to eleven different states to hold Ashram meetings, Campmeetings (both as evangelist and bible teacher), Revivals, and Special Speaking events. If I could tell you in a sentence what my ministry is: "God uses me like a vitamin B-12 shot to the existing church. By way of challenging individuals through self-evaluation to a deeper commitment (walk) with Jesus Christ." During the fourteen months prior to graduation from seminary, I worked as a Contract Chaplain at the University of Kentucky, Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, KY. This was a great experience to prepare me for becoming an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. Graduation finally took place with a Master’s of Divinity Degree on May 22, 2004 from Asbury Theological Seminary.
On June 9th, 2004 I was appointed to serve Trinity UMC in the Mobile District. We had a wonderful two years of ministry in the Semmes area (West Mobile). In June 2006, we were appointed to the Brent Charge (McDaniel Memorial and Pondeville UMC’s). We enjoyed the year reaching out to the community and sharing Jesus with so many of the good people of Bibb County. In June of 2007, we were appointed to Autaugaville & Ivy Creek UMC’s. We served both churches until April 1, 2011. That is because Autaugaville grew so much they wanted to become a standalone church since they received nearly 40 new people. During that same year we had nine Confirmands and baptized 13 in the Alabama River. In June of 2013, we moved to Linden and Jefferson Charge in Linden, Alabama. We are truly blessed in this appointment and are thankful to the Lord for this opportunity to serve in this community. We are so grateful for how the Holy Spirit has helped us to mature over the last twenty-one years together in ministry. My preaching has focused on individuals to “reflect the image of Christ in the World they live” and currently the LORD has given me Covenant, Loyalty, Faithfulness and Fidelity!
While in Autaugaville on November 11, 2008 we started a community food pantry serving on average 90 households per month. And in November 2011, we developed a community outreach called, “Tauga Fest” to raise funds for the food pantry. Tauga Fest is an event to bless Autaugavillians. We had music, free food and soft-drink, Antique cars on display, hayride, games for the children and adults, face painting, air filled slide and moon walk, cake walk, horseshoes, bean bag toss, bingo, a free gift bag for every family, and door prizes. There were many local businesses and churches that setup booths to display their information. The first year we raised $2500. We followed up with the 2nd Annual “Tauga Fest” on November 10th, 2012 to include honoring veterans. God helped give vision to the people to minister to their community.
During my time at Autaugaville UMC I had the opportunity to teach at Autauga Academy 7th & 8th graders Bible. I taught them 1 & 2 Peter in the fall and The Book of Acts in the spring. What a blessing from God to plant seeds in such fertile ground.
On June 25, 2013 we moved to Linden, Alabama. We were appointed to Linden and Jefferson United Methodist Churches and our children would attend Marengo Academy. Anthony has graduated in 2015 from Marengo Academy and is now attending Asbury University. However Rebekah-Rose is a junior who plays basketball and is the chaplain of her class. I was able to teach two bible classes when we first moved here to the 8th and 10th graders in the fall semester and 7th and 11th graders in the spring. My wife has been for the last two years the After School Director for Marengo Academy Elementary School.
When we moved to Linden I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Local area pastor’s. The Lord gave me a vision for this community to begin a Revival with the Linden Area Ministerial Association pastors and their choirs. The first year we hosted the community revival at Linden UMC, the second year was at the Missionary Baptist Church and this year will be held at Cornerstone Community Church. The Lord showed me to name it “Unity in the Community”, building the kingdom of God here in Linden, Alabama. The first year we raised almost $1900. The second year was $2800 and we anticipate a bigger blessing this year. What a blessing this move has been for our family.
It is our desire to be obedient in serving the Lord as a Pastor while serving the Local Church in the Alabama/ West Florida Conference, the web site is www.awfumc.org . However our prayer is, if God can use us to help encourage / build up other groups of believers that they would feel comfortable enough to call upon us. You may call us anytime at this phone number: cell (334) 235-1288. We look forward to having an opportunity to speak with you about serving you, your congregation or to help at your special event. God has given me a gift to communicate the Gospel through preaching and teaching. And I have several references to substantiate our ministry. Therefore if we can be used to encourage / build up the existing church we want to do it! Have a blessed day!
In Christ Jesus,
Rev. Tony Antonelli, 2Tim.2:15