Bishop Haynes dies at 63
Bishop Christopher Haynes, the “visionary” and “charismatic leader” of Restoration Fellowship Church, has died at the age of 63.
Bishop Haynes was born as the youngest of six siblings in Georgetown, Guyana, and has spent the past two decades pastoring on the Island.
In his younger years, he worked as a teacher at both the kindergarten and primary school level and then had plans to become a microbiologist, but he felt the Lord calling him to a life of ministry and he chose to answer.
He first served as a pastor at Gaines Memorial Chapel in Jamaica; in recent years he pastored at Allen Temple AME, Vernon Temple AME and Mt Zion AME in Bermuda.
In 2002, he founded Restoration Fellowship Bermuda; and Restoration Life Fellowship, in New Jersey, followed a year later.
He was married to his best friend and partner in ministry Reverend Roxanne Haynes on November 3, 1979. Together they had four daughters (Rev) Celena, Alexis, Charis and Chrystal Haynes, all of whom are deeply rooted in the church and have strong family values.
Daughter Alexis Haynes described her father as the “head coach” and said he encouraged the family unit to work together as a team.
Her father was their biggest supporter and considered each of his daughter’s university degrees as his “lifetime achievement awards” and “his most prized possessions”.
These degrees were hung on the walls of the living room and Bishop Haynes was known to come down and “just stare at them” and comment on how proud he was, Alexis told
The Royal Gazette.
“As we look at everything our father has done for us, all he helped us to achieve, and who he helped us to become — “the best” — it is a clear understatement of any adjective that could begin to describe the “Oh, so, Super Man” our daddy is and will always be,” she said.
“If we attempted to put words to our hero, we would start the in-exhaustive list with integrity, incredible, impossible to replace [and] impossible to emulate.
“As we too remain committed to the propagation of the gospel through the ministry of the word, dance, song, and music, we know that this is far from the end of the race, but rather, the passing of the baton.”
Pastor Sonya Merrill-Williams worked closely with Bishop Haynes at the Church Without Borders Ministries, located in Norwalk, Connecticut.
She described him as a “man of great faith”, and called him the “ultimate role model” for living his life with the utmost integrity.
“He was such a humble man and was content with life and his family,” she said. “He lived a sacrificial life for the people, in that everything he did was for their betterment — politically, spiritually, financially, materially and emotionally.
“He never did anything for accolades, notoriety or gain. He always saw the good in people.”
Pastor Merrill-Williams recalled that while Bishop Haynes faced “monumental challenges” in life, he always remained steady in his faith and lived by what he preached.
She said: “He was a visionary. He was a transformational and charismatic leader.
“Every church he oversaw he left a mark: from rebuilding youth centres, rebuilding and expanding the church parking lots, starting nurseries, burning mortgages, and increasing membership exponentially.
“He believed in empowering the people as well as their leaders. He wasn’t selfish with his knowledge and he wanted everyone to better themselves.
“He was also loyal — to everything and everyone. He was committed and he was dependable.”
Bishop Haynes was also described as being witty, personable and approachable; he was also praised for having a great sense of humour and for being devoted to his family.
During his years in ministry he conducted revivals, seminars, workshops, crusades, and conventions across the globe.
As a result, tributes for him have poured in from all over the world, including China, the UK, Canada, South America, South Africa and various parts of the Caribbean.
The Haynes family have also received cards, e-mails, flowers and phone calls from people whose lives were impacted by Bishop Haynes.
They plan to continue his legacy in the community. His wife is expected to continue as pastor of Restoration Fellowship; and their eldest daughter will serve as “her right hand” and as an ordained elder.