Reverend Marvin C. Griffin blessed the members of Ebenezer Baptist Church with 42 years of dedicated service. He was a devoted man of God, community leader, and truly a man for all seasons. Under his leadership, Ebenezer Baptist Church flourished and continues to grow in Christian love and devotion. It stands as a beacon light, poised and equipped to win souls for the Kingdom.
Marvin Collins Griffin was born on February 20, 1923 in Wichita, Kansas to Beatrice Howell and William Marvin Collins. He was raised by his aunt and uncle and was educated at public schools in Dallas, Texas before graduating from Bishop College with his B.A. degree. He went on to receive four other degrees including his M.Div degree from the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, his M.R.E. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D.Min degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Rev. Griffin began his official ministry on August 31, 1940 at Greater Bethlehem Baptist Church, Dallas Texas. On December 20, 1942 at Greater Bethlehem, he received his "Certificate of Ordination". Between 1951 and 1969, Rev. Griffin served as pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. In July 1969 he began his tenure as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Shortly thereafter, he led the congregation in a Mortgage Burning Ceremony during the celebration of the church's 100th anniversary in November 1975. During his early tenure at Ebenezer he served a two-year term as the first Black president of the Austin Independent School District Board of Directors.
Rev. Griffin served as the corresponding secretary of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Director of Christian Education Enrichment Program at the National Baptist Fellowship of Churches. He also spent time as a Director and Lecturer for the Teacher Training Department of the National Baptist Sunday School Congress. He served as an instructor at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, teaching “Pastoral Ministry in the Black Church.” Rev. Griffin performed in many other capacities at state and national religious gatherings.
Under his leadership Ebenezer Baptist Church formed the East Austin Economic Development Corporation (EAEDC) in 1988 to help guide the economic development aspects of the church’s mission in support of the community. EAEDC sought and received technical and planning expertise to pursue the congregation’s goals. These goals included affordable housing programs for rental and home ownership, housing counseling, down payment assistance, rental assistance, energy assistance, projects for the elderly, and statewide technical assistance to faith-based community development organizations. In 1990 he successfully guided the Board in acquiring a grant enabling the Ebenezer Child Development Center to construct a new facility. The Center has the capacity to accommodate 200 children. It also houses the Family Life Center which is used for banquets and other Church activities. In 2002, on his thirty-third anniversary as pastor of Ebenezer, the building that houses the East Austin Economic Development Corporation was named the Marvin C. Griffin Building in his honor.
Rev. Griffin had many other accomplishments during his tenure, most notably:
• Housing the first " Meals on Wheels" program in East Austin at Ebenezer Baptist Church;
• Partnering with Austin Energy in an energy conservation project to use solar energy;
• Restoring the historical Bailetti house to be utilized for community service projects;
• Facilitating the construction of Ebenezer Senior Housing - 12 units tailored to the special needs of seniors;
• Expanding Ebenezer's outreach ministry through radio and television broadcasting;
• Establishing the Tape Ministry for members incapable of attending services.
Rev. Griffin retired on July 31, 2011. He and his late wife, Mrs. Lois King Griffin parented three daughters: Marva Lois Carter, Gaynelle Jones (Deceased); and Ria Griffin.
Pastor Griffin was on the "Battlefield for the Lord" shepherding God's people for over 59 years. We, the members of Ebenezer Baptist Church, thank Our Lord and Master for allowing Rev. Griffin to render his faithful and devoted service to Ebenezer. His vision, his persistence and his willingness to give his all in the service of the Master are treasured by the grateful members of this congregation. Dr. Griffin made his transition into eternal rest with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on December 25, 2013.