In the many years I have been on this earth until now I have never been called upon to write about Rev Griggs.
I find it to be a stirring moment as I stop and reflect on the man, his wife, and the tremendous impact they both had on my life. Without their love and affection I undoubtedly would have been another statistical ward of the state of New York. Another child lost to the system and lost to himself. Born and raised in Birmingham Alabama, "Mr. Griggs" as I affectionately called him was first thrust out onto the world stage as a member of the Armed Forces when he served time in the Army as a Sargent during World War II. After a tour in Europe he migrated to New York City where he took up residence with his wife Amy Lee in Brooklyn New York. It was there that I first met them both. It was there that they took me into their arms and into their hearts. My clearest vision of Mr. Griggs is that of him towering over me offering me a blend of warmth, security, and authority second to none. I watched him day after day as he toiled from before sunrise until well after sunset working in the hot and smelly confines of a cloth-drying factory. Yet each night he prayed, each night he studied his Bible and each day he became more sure of himself as he moved closer and closer to God. Then one day when he knew there was no turning around, there would be no turning back, he realized he had been "called" and so he choose to follow.
The transition wasn’t easy, as we had spent virtually our entire lives as active members in a rather sizable church in Brooklyn. Suddenly that was to be no more. Rather in April of 1964 the then Reverend George. W. Griggs was elected the second pastor of a small congregation at the Bethenia Baptist Church. There he served for the next 20 years until on October16, 1984 when God said, "well done my good and faithful servant" and called him home. But he didn’t leave without a lasting legacy of church growth and goodwill. Besides Reverend Griggs’ generous support of youth his other accomplishments included a new piano, organ, furniture, paneling, a new church van, and the purchase of property just next door. In 1974 Reverend Griggs had the Church’s Cornerstone installed. Under his spiritual guidance two sons of Bethenia were called into the ministry. Finally, under the leadership of Reverend Griggs two choirs were formed, The G. W. Griggs Singers and The Bethany Youth Ensemble. Need I tell you which was his favorite! Reverend Griggs was a man of hope, a man of dreams, a man willing to walk the talk and live his life in the same way he asked of others. More than any man I ever knew he practiced to near perfection the categorical imperative expounded by Immanuel Kant,"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction".