Reverend Wendell Anthony is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated in the Detroit Public School system. He graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Political Science, and Marygrove College with an M.A. in Pastoral Ministry. He also attended the University of Detroit for Advanced Study in Black Theology. Reverend Anthony is a Certified Social Worker with the State of Michigan. He became the Pastor of Fellowship Chapel in December of 1986 following the passing of Reverend James E. Wadsworth, Jr. and was installed as Senior Pastor in February of 1987. Through the grace of God and the labor of his ministry, the church has experienced the greatest growth in its 40 year history.
Through its James E. Wadsworth, Jr. Community Center, Fellowship Chapel has a full-time outreach ministry with programs ranging from computer programming, adult education, narcotics and alcoholics anonymous, homeless assistance, Education 2000 (tutoring from elementary through college), job training and placement, special SAT and ACT college preparation training, and much more. Reverend Anthony is the developer of the Isuthu Institute (Coming into Manhood) program for boys ages 6-18 and the Intonjane Institute (Coming into Womanhood) program for girls ages 6-18. It is one of the oldest mentoring programs in the country.
Reverend Anthony has traveled extensively throughout Africa. He has preached in churches in West and South Africa, and the Caribbean. He has led groups of Detroiters on special pilgrimages to visit the roots of African-Americans and to establish cultural ties between Detroit and Africa. In 1990, Reverend Anthony served as a special delegate with the Religious Action Network to South Africa representing clergy from across the country. He held a meeting with the African National Congress, South African Council of Churches, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Reverend Allan Bosesak to discuss political and social conditions inside South Africa. Reverend Anthony served as Co-Chairman of the International Mandela Freedom Tour to the City of Detroit, 1990. In 1994, Reverend Anthony organized a Rwanda Relief program in which the Detroit Branch NAACP raised nearly one million dollars for food, medicine, clothing, and transportation vehicles to aid in the relief for the hundreds of thousands of refugees in both Rwanda and Zaire. In April of that same year Reverend Anthony was apart of a special delegation of the National NAACP leadership to visit South Africa in support of the national elections held in April of 1994. In March of 1996, Reverend Anthony founded the Fellowship Chapel Health Care Clinic in Cape Coast, Ghana, providing medical service to children and adults throughout the central region. In April of 2000, Reverend Anthony organized Project D.R.E.A.M.Z.S. (Detroit Relief Effort to Aide Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa) raising nearly $300,000.00 to aid the victims of the flood in those nations. Again, Reverend Anthony and a special delegation personally distributed food, medicine, and clothing for purposes of aiding displaced victims of the flood.
He is a member of several boards and councils inside the City of Detroit and has received numerous local and national awards. He is a board member of the First Independence National Bank, the National Association of Securities Professionals-Detroit, and the Detroit Building Authority, overseeing the construction of various building programs within the city of Detroit. In 1995, Reverend Anthony served as a Co-Chairman for the Million Man March Committee. Detroit had one of the largest delegations with more than 75,000 men in attendance in Washington D.C. Reverend Anthony is Co-Chair of the Detroit Fair Banking Alliance, which is responsible for negotiating over $7.2 billion in economic development with local banking institutions. He currently serves as the Citizen Trustee for the Detroit General Retirement System Pension Fund, managing a pension fund of nearly three billion dollars. He has also served as chairman of the Detroit Police Department citizens review panel making recommendations for new policies and procedures on the use of less-than lethal force. This panel also made various recommendations for the reform of Detroit Police Department.
In 2005 he was appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm as Chairman of the Detroit Public Schools Transition Team. The purpose of the Transition Team is to create new directions and make recommendations for new strategies to prepare for a newly elected and empowered school board in the City of Detroit.
Reverend Anthony was elected as president of the Detroit Branch NAACP in 1993, the largest branch in the country. He was recently re-elected to an unprecedented 8th term. During his first term, Reverend Anthony organized and led a march of over 250,000 persons in the City of Detroit commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the march of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Detroit in June of 1963. This march occurred before the historical march in August of that same year. This was the largest march organized for this purpose since 1963. In 2001, Reverend Anthony founded the Freedom Institute which is a 501(C)3 non-profit, urban think tank. The Freedom Institute sponsors Freedom Weekend annually with emphasis on economic, social justice and political empowerment. Additionally, he is also the founder of the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee. This is a grassroots activist organization supporting issues and candidates both locally and nationally with an 80% success rate for endorsed candidates.
On June 5, 2005, Reverend Anthony led his congregation, community and business leaders, government officials, supporters and well-wishers in a procession to the new Fellowship Chapel; call the The Village, for its grand opening and inaugural worship service. The Village will contain the new church and soon to be developed 140 units of single-family homes and condominiums as well as the James E. Wadsworth, Jr. Community Center. This is a $40 million dollar project which will result in the building of a new community.