Anthony Hollins, a Hazel Crest resident who did everything from starting the New Life Performance Company ( a dance troupe for young people ) to studying pastry-making to helping lead the HIV/AIDS support ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ, passed away Nov. 25 in Stroger Hospital, the Chicago Tribune reported. He was 42.
A lifelong resident of the Chicagoland area, Hollins was raised in Chicago's South Side. The family later moved to Matteson; in high school, he was active in the theater department.
At Trinity, 400 W. 95th, Hollinswho received a master of divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary last yearwas going to be an ordained minister. He also led a dance ministry at the church, as well as started New Life.
Ronald Wadley, an LGBT-rights activist and secretary of the Same Gender Loving Ministry at Trintity, e-mailed Windy City Times that "Anthony was first and foremost a Christian and an activist. While he was also a dancer, many of us will remember his graceful nature through which hearts were touched; he was a voice for change."
Wadley added that " [ i ] t is also important for all of us to know that Anthony accepted his call into ministry and allowed God to use him to make and set forth a path and lay a foundation for us to continue to make a difference in the lives of those that feel left out or displaced. He spoke loudly about HIV/AIDS within the African-American community. It is with sadness that I think of his passing but I rejoice for I know that he is currently in heaven dancing up a storm.
"It is a very rare occasion that someone is willing to be vocal in a Christian setting about their sexuality and HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. He was truly doing Jesus' work. He touched the lives of so many youth through his dance instruction and leadership. Through his many gifts, talents and ability to stand tall in all that God created him to be none of us who knew and met him will be the same nor will we forget him. When you met Anthony, you walked away saying 'God is up to something.'"
The Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., pastor of Trinity, e-mailed Windy City Times from Germany that "Anthony Hollins was a gifted dancer a phenomenal choreographer, a seminary graduate and a surrogate father for dozens of the young people in our church. He served as the Chairperson for our congregation's HIV/AIDS Ministry and he made HIV awareness come alive in the church as no chairperson before or after him. He will be missed tremendously!"
Hollins is surived by his father, Arthur, and mother, Bertha; three brothers, Andrel, Arthur, Jr., and Aaron; and two sisters, Sasha and Kasie. Services took place at Trinity on Dec. 1..