Bishop Kenneth Haney

Bishop Kenneth F. Haney

“In the sweet bye and bye, we shall meet on that beautiful shore!”

This song came to mind as I was thinking about the life of Kenneth Haney. Whatever the afterlife is truly like, we can only surmise the true peace and happiness that a soldier of this world can feel when all the battles of life are passed. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable…” says Paul (1 Cor 15:19). Bishop Haney was not miserable in this life. He was a man that exuded the Hope of the Gospel, life as a True Christian, and a Friend to everyone I know.

Earlier in his writing, Paul described the life of a true believer as one who is a fighter battling a real foe – not as one who simply beats at the air (1 Cor 9:26). Often, the worst foe we have to fight is our self, our own desires, our own bodies. Bishop Haney truly had a great battle in the end. Everyone that knew of his sickness joined him and his entire family in prayer for healing. Bishop Haney taught us all how to fight Spiritual battles. Even if the fight at the end was Spiritual, the weak vessel that we are will some day have to pass from this life. The true victor is Bishop Haney. He has fought a good fight. He has finished his course. He has kept the faith. Still, he has shown us how to fight the battle!

What he has left us with is a generation of legacy! Someone tweeted this morning, “If you’re not living the legacy you’re trying to leave, you will not have left a legacy, but a fallacy.” Bishop Haney lived the legacy! What he has left behind for us is not a fallacy! Excellent leadership, natural and spiritual! An untold number of books, articles, and recordings of preached messages. Superb examples of fatherhood, how to be a good husband, how to lead a church to God…

Among all these examples, I have often thought of him as one that shows me how to be a Spiritual Gentleman!

To Sister Joy Haney, our prayers and thoughts are with you now and in the days to come, just like they have been with you since this latest battle began. Peace to you and your children.

There is a deeper loss felt at the passing of Kenneth Haney, than recent deaths of others that have not impacted me like he has impacted me… Thank you Bishop Haney.

Along with all of this, I have some very personal memories – personal discussions, preached messages that were very personal for me from my teen years until now, his impact on some of my good friends that circle me at my church, and as a true example of a Christian for me to follow, and the legacy of a man who could remember my name even when I did not move in his circle. A true Spiritual Gentleman!

Who am I that any of my memories may be important to the reader? It does not matter. I write for myself today. I have some great memories of interaction with the Haney’s.

  • When I was a teenager and a part of Bishop James Kilgore’s church in Houston, Bishop Haney came and preached a life impacting message that affected me and my direction. Years later, though I cannot recall the message, I remember my commitment to Christ for His Will in my life. I hope that I have followed that calling to the best of His ability in me.
  • In my early adult life, I was at a conference where Bishop Haney preached another message – again, I cannot recall the details, but when I chatted with him about it several years ago, he remembered the venue, the message, the title, the scripture, and the hard work of his church that cut up and anointed pieces of cloth for anyone in the service who was needing the anointing of God in their walk. I carried this cloth in my wallet for a dozen years or so until it finally disintegrated… As I am a collector of things, and have started a collection of message notes by specific ministers, he hoped to find that original copy and send it to me for my collection. I can only assume he never found it! He said it would not be pretty or polished, but to my heart it would have meant a lot.
  • At an anniversary service with Bishop Frank LaCrosse, Brother and Sister Haney called me over to their table to talk about our church start in Lacey. They were both very interested. They loved to see new churches started! Both of them prayed a spiritual blessing on our beginning efforts. First Church of Lacey, you are a result of their prayers! Very few others cared what we were doing, and some even disparaged our attempt… Not the Haney’s!
  • Finally, two years ago, the Haney’s came to our Washington Ministers and Spouses Retreat.  Every session he “taught” was laced with deep spiritual and theological strengths and truths. To this date, I believe this was the best retreat we have ever attended, to which my wife says a hearty “Amen!”

“In the sweet bye and bye…” Bishop Haney, there will come a day when I would like to get to know you better. Until that time, thank you and Sister Haney for your blessings on all of us!

Michael Gurley