Brief History and Vision of the Galilee Griggs Association
The Galilee Griggs Association may be able to find a blueprint for her future by looking at the foundations of her past. Names matter. The meaning of names is significant. The Hebrews and Africans historically have tended to name their children with intentionality; understanding that every time you call a person's name, in a sense you are reinforcing or pronouncing affirmation relative to the meaning of the names.
"The Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association"—which was the original official name—is the combination of two Associations. "The Griggs Memorial Baptist Association" was organized in 1929, at Hopewell Baptist Church, Denison, Texas. This Association was named in honor of Rev. A.R. Griggs, a prominent pastor and educator who served primarily in North Texas and whose lifespan covered from 1850-1922. Dr. Griggs was born into slavery. In 2004 the "Herald Democrat"—the local Denison, TX, newspaper headline reads: "Griggs looms large in church history." His accomplishments are too numerous to list them here, but suffice it to say, that he founded the first high school to educate African Americans in Dallas. He founded the first newspaper targeting African Americans in Texas. He was the co-founder of Bishop College, Dallas; Co-founder of American Baptist Theological Seminary, Nashville—then named—The National Baptist Theological Seminary and Training School. He organized more than 50 churches, including the historic and influential Good Street Baptist Church, Dallas, TX. Dr. Griggs, who is referred to as "Bishop Griggs" in a "History of Negro Louisiana Baptists from 1804-1914" by William Hicks—was truly a pioneer. Hicks' book was published by the National Baptist Publishing Board in 1915. "Bishop A.R. Griggs" is mentioned by Hicks as "Superintendent of Missions" and "State Evangelist" of the Texas State Convention in the early years of Black Baptist organized work in Texas.
He was born in Hancock County, GA, in 1850 and sold at auction and brought to Texas when he was 9 years old. He entered school for the first time when he was in his 30's. He co-founded Bryan's Orphan Home, a home for orphaned African American Children in Texas. He formed a working relationship with Dr. R.C. Buckner and Rev. L. W. Coleman, Southern Baptist Texas leaders—in the early 1900's—to work in a cooperative mutually reciprocal beneficial way for Texas National Baptist and Southern Baptist. An eight-acre city park is named after him in Uptown Dallas, which will include a statue in memory of him. Griggs "looms large in church history." He was Moderator of the Northwest District Association for 20 years. He died in 1922, and seven years later a District Association was birth in his honor that comprised of churches then and now that range as far North as Denison and as far South as Corsicana. Rev. Griggs was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Kentucky State University in 1891.
Griggs was ordained a missionary in 1873. He served as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church (Dallas' oldest Black Baptist Church) in 1875, and was among the trustees of an 1879 purchase of Freedman's Cemetery land. Alan Griggs impacted Dallas and all of North Texas, spiritually, socially, educationally and economically in an incredible manner. It is time for his namesake, the Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association, to rekindle his vision, missions, education, and evangelism which was his heartbeat.
In keeping with the spirit of Alan R. Griggs, the Galilee Griggs Association must focus on Christian education/disciple-making, church planting, benevolence, missions, church development, revitalization and networking with other Baptist and evangelical groups across racial lines for Kingdom building purposes.
In September 1929 at the Galilee Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas, another Association was organized in a meeting called by Rev. E. A. Evans, pastor of the Galilee Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas. The Association based in Ennis was named the Galilee Baptist Association.
In 1930, Rev. U.S. Patterson, pastor of the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas, invited the two Associations—Griggs Memorial Baptist and Galilee Baptist—to meet together at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas. There, the two Associations decided to merge, and the new name for this Association would be "Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association." The Association was later incorporated by the State of Texas and revised its name to "Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches, Inc."
At one point at least 78 churches were regular in attendance and registration in the Galilee Griggs Association. In the most recent Association, 32 churches registered and sent delegates.
Throughout her history, Galilee Griggs has supported the mission endeavors of the National Baptist Convention, given financial support to local Dallas Ministers Training Institutes; engaged in Haiti Children Mission projects, and supported the Shoe Drive, assisting The Buckner Children's Home. 7.35 acres of land, located in Lancaster, Texas, has been purchased for future Kingdom expansion, during the tenure of Moderator Donald Parish.
There have been 11 Moderators who have served in the history of this Association:
|Dr. S.T. Alexander||1930-1934|
|Rev. R.T. Andrews||1934-1938|
|Rev. W.A. Sparks||1938-1942|
|Dr. B.R. Riley||1942-1963|
|Dr. F.D. Davis||1964-1969|
|Rev. Robert L. Parish, Sr.||1969-1988|
|Rev. A.F. Thomas||1988-1933|
|Rev. C.S. Trimble||September 1993 – November 1993|
|Rev. E.D. Ingram||1994-2005; Moderator Emeritus – 2006-Present|
I am absolutely awestruck and inspired by the life and legacy of Dr. Griggs. "He being dead, yet speaketh." He provides not only the inspirational foundation for our past, but also, the blueprint for our future. The Great Commission was given by Jesus at Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20). The names "Galilee" and "Griggs" are significant, and their significance can only be enhanced as those names are submitted to the Kingdom of God. The Galilee Griggs Association will continue to be a Kingdom Family Fellowship of Churches doing the King's business and impacting the next generation until the King comes.