The Rev. Anthony Dunnings became three things in life he swore he would never become. “I said I was never going to get married, have kids and be a preacher. I got all of them in a two-year span.”
Dunnings is an Alcoa native, the son of Donna Dunnings and the late Mr. Anthony Haszelton. Dunnings is the Director of the Martin Luther King Community Center in Alcoa, and also the Associate Pastor at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.
Dunnings is active in civic and religious affairs holding positions of leadership on numerous boards. Dunnings and his wife Shelley are the parents of one son, Jonah.
Most of all, Dunnings says he is committed to “Rightly dividing the word of truth and carrying the message of Jesus Christ to all and equipping the saints for the ministry.”
Here is Anthony Dunnings:
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“My most embarrassing moment happened when one Sunday, coming out of the pulpit, I stepped on my robe and fell in front of the whole congregation.”
What is your favorite website?
“My favorite website is “blackamericaweb.com.”
When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“I wanted to be an airplane pilot. I always wanted to fly.” Dunnings says he got his eyes checked at 7 or 8 and when he didn’t have perfect eye sight, he gave up on his goal because he didn’t want to be a co-pilot.
What’s the best thing about Blount County?
“The best thing about Blount County is its people. The people make the county.”
What motto or creed do you try to live by?
“If it doesn’t absorb you, if you don’t love it, don’t do it,” he said. Quoting D.H.Lawrence. “I don’t do anything I’m not passionate about.”
What has been your proudest moment?
“My proudest moment has to be a tie between my wedding day and the birth of my child.” Dunnings and his wife Shelley knew each other as children, he said. “She used to throw rocks at me, and we ended up married. God has a sense of humor.”
To what do you attribute your success?
“My success is most attributed to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because looking at my life and my experiences, I should not be in the places or positions that I have been fortunate enough to tread.”
Who would you most like to have a long lunch with -- living or dead?
“My long lunch would have to be with the Apostle Peter.”
What do you hate?
“I hate ignorance.”
Where would you like to be in five years?
“In five years I would like to be working and doing the exact things that I am doing now. I am very happy and content with my life and my vocation. But I am always willing to change if fate would have it.”
What do you do to relax or for fun?
“I like to sing, read and write to relax. To have fun, I love to laugh and play Madden on the PlayStation game.”
What is your dream vacation?
“My dream vacation would be to go to Australia.” Dunnings says he picked the country as the subject of a project while in middle school years ago. “I have been intrigued by it ever since.”
When you were a child, what was your favorite toy?
“My favorite toy as a child had to be Rock-um Sock-um Robots and comic books.”
What was your favorite TV show as a child? What is it today?
“My favorite TV shows as a child was just about any cartoons and the classic Thursday night line-up on NBC during ‘The Cosby Show’ years. My favorite shows today are all of the Law and Order series and the Food Network Channel.”
What is your all-time favorite movie?
“My all time favorite movie would be Spike Lee’s ‘Malcolm X,’ but there are so many that I love.”
What is the best book you’ve ever read? Best book you’ve read this year?
“The best book I have ever read was ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. This year it would be ‘Failure: the Backdoor to Success’ by Erwin W. Lutzer.”
If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation you would make?
“I’m sorry, but I would never play the lottery; but if I happen to come across a large chunk of money, it would go to the ministry.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“I would revisit the summer of 1987 - the best time of my life. That particular summer I went to Tennessee Tech University to an engineering camp. Athletically that was the best shape I’ve ever been in my life.”
What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?
“The character in a book I would most like to be, would be Peter Pan. I’m a big kid; I’ll never grow up.”
What is your favorite room in your house and why?
“My room where I have my computer and comfortable chair is probably my favorite room in the house, and the kitchen is almost tied.”
What is your favorite sport and sport’s team?
“My favorite sport is football, but I love them all. My favorite teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Florida State University, Penn. State University and Alcoa High School. I love sports, period.”
If you were King for a Day, what edict would you immediately pass?
“I would immediately eliminate debt. I think one of the biggest problems in people’s lives is money. If we take that way, give them a fresh start, maybe mistakes they made they wouldn’t repeat. If you’re not going to be responsible for $10, you won’t be responsible for $10 million.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“The best advice my mother gave me was to listen to my elders.”
Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
“My friends and I were always doing stuff, and it always seemed like I was the one who got caught. I was paddled so much in school I have forgotten more things that I was paddled for than children could even be paddled for today if it was still in practice. I lived in the principal’s office and was always on the business end of a piece of wood.”