By Toi Pearson
NDG Contributing Writer
Monday, August 8 a birthday celebration was held in honor of Bishop James Neaul Haynes’ 80th birthday at the Fairmont Hotel. Pastor Andrew Jackson greeted and escorted guests to a small lounge area where Bishop Haynes greeted attendees. He wore a big smile and exuded inviting warmth that could bid a complete stranger to sit down with him. Family and friends flooded the room adorned with their best “black tie affair” threads, and glad hearts to honor a man they all love so dearly.
Regarding the celebration being held in his honor, Bishop Haynes stated, “It is a heartwarming thought and feeling that your
contemporaries think enough of you to celebrate you.” He recalled that, “the last time I had a celebration for my birthday it was for my 50th.” As we sat together, I noticed Bishop Haynes greeted everyone by name. There was not a stranger in the building.
This man, described by his colleagues as a “gentleman and eloquent leader”, was born Aug. 8, 1931, in Denton. His parents, Bishop F.L. Haynes and Ola Mae Haynes had six children altogether, Bishop Haynes is the youngest. He holds degrees from the University of Denver, North Texas University (University of North Texas), and Dallas Theological Seminary where he received a Masters in Biblical Studies. Ministry runs in his blood, his father was a bishop and his grandfather was a pastor. He preached his first sermon at the age of 16.
In 1951 Bishop Haynes received his pastoral license just before becoming the pastor of Open Door Church of God in Christ at 20. Though the task of leading a church at such a young age intimidated him, he was comforted by his father’s words of wisdom, “if you are going to make God’s work your work, you go to work when He says go.” Bishop Haynes has served as the pastor at six churches since 1952, and is currently serving as the pastor of Saintsville Sanctuary Church of God in Christ located in Dallas. He has held numerous prestigious positions in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) including but not limited to: Member of the Texas Northeast Jurisdictional Trustee Board (1967), District Superintendent of the Dallas West District (1967), Assistant Jurisdictional Secretary (1969), Prelate of Texas Northeast Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (1978), Member of the National Trustee Board (1972), Member of the General Board of the COGIC (1984-Present).
In 1997, Bishop Neaul Haynes was chosen by over 200 pastors to serve as the Bishop of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, one of his proudest accomplishments. A part of his responsibilities as Bishop include presiding over more than 400 pastors and 45 districts under his jurisdiction. Holding this title has allowed him to travel the world and appoint other Bishops both locally and internationally. He remarked with a nostalgic smile, “I don’t where it is that I have not been.”
Bishop Haynes is not only an accomplished member of the COGIC, but he is an accomplished family man. He married his wife, Vivian King Haynes when he was 26 years old. They raised two daughters together, Vrai Haynes-Morris and Pia Haynes-Williams. Bishop Haynes is the proud grandfather of four grandchildren.
His cousin, Betty Harden commented on his familial triumph, “He is a family man who has raised a beautiful family. It says a lot about a man whose adult children still love to be around him.” At the tender age of 80, Bishop Haynes has accomplished many things and from my observations, he has the energy to accomplish many more.
He is the only member of his family to reach the age of 80 and everyone who attended the celebration rejoiced at his long life, and accomplishments throughout the night. Family and friends stood and recalled treasured memories and words of wisdom shared between them and the Bishop. An assortment of slideshows chronicled his journey through 80 years of life lessons, achievements, and memories. He spent the greater part of the night receiving compliments and words of gratitude for his service to the COGIC, and investment in the lives of young men. Bishop Haynes was serenaded, applauded, praised, and celebrated all night long. He expressed his appreciation with a hearty smile that remained on his face all evening.
I agree with Superintendent R.C. Williams who stated that, “[Bishop Haynes] has served in so many capacities and positions, he deserves to be celebrated.” Bishop James Neaul Haynes has a beautiful family, cumulative reservoir of talents and triumphs, and a full length celebration to acknowledge and commemorate all of these things. He feels that he has led a full life and yet he still desires to, “help people until I my body will not allow me to do so, and even then the desire will remain.”
Bishop Neaul Haynes, we at North Dallas Gazette salute you and wish you all the best.