Following God’s Lead



Much has changed for Reverend Donald Collins in his 94 years; one thing that hasn’t is his dedication to God. 

“[My wife] Gloria and I were convinced God had called us to urban ministry,” said Collins, “And while we were in a lot of different contexts and situations, we never moved away from that calling.”

Collins graduated from Anderson College in 1951 before attending Union Theological Seminary. While there, he was asked to pastor in Gloucester City on recommendation from fellow pastor, Dr. Robert Reardon. Collins agreed to transfer to Princeton to serve full-time for a year before returning to Union. While in Gloucester, he married Gloria. 

In his last year in seminary, Collins was invited to preach in Pittsburgh. According to Collins, the church had little to no community connection. Driving back, he and Gloria discussed how to make an impact in that neighborhood. Gloria asked, “‘Do you know of any minister in the Church of God who would have that kind of ministry there?’” When he said no, they realized God was leading them to Pittsburgh.

The couple moved their family of four into the parsonage which had been converted for Sunday school. Each week, they transformed their home into classrooms, then back again. While there, they had another daughter and continually poured their hearts into enriching that community. 

After 12 years in Pittsburgh, a friend visiting from Anderson told Collins that the Park Place Church of God needed his kind of ministry. When the time was right, the family followed the opportunity and moved to Anderson. 

After eight years of ministering at Park Place, Collins felt called to move again. Turning down an offer in Oregon, Collins accepted the invitation of Robert Reardon, who was serving as president of AU, to join the faculty. 

Collins taught several Bible classes on campus and pioneered a summer program in urban ministry to New York City and Washington, D.C. Over 19 years, Collins poured into students as a professor and campus pastor.

To this day, Collins still supports the college’s students through a $300,000 endowment which contributes $12,000 annually to the class he started, Communities of Faith in an Urban Setting. Through this gift, he ensures tuition remains free for the class. When he started it, he told the faculty, “[I decided] I’m gonna teach this class; it’s not gonna cost the university anything, so I think the students who take it should be tuition-free.” 

Reverend Collins has proven himself a loyal servant of God by giving his time, passion, and resources to bring God’s light to urban communities wherever he is led. His many gifts ensure that his legacy and its holy mission will continue in perpetuity.

At 94, Collins loves neighbors at the Primrose Retirement Center through encouragement and prayer. He is determined to serve his savior until he joins his beloved Gloria, who passed last November.

Collins’ ring fell off multiple times the night Gloria passed. To avoid losing it, he moved it to his right ring finger where it remains. Just as his ministry remained true through many changes, so his relationship with Gloria remains steadfast awaiting their reunion. 

Miles Morey is a junior from New Castle, Ind., majoring in public relations and minoring in psychology and writing. Morey is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.