Passionate, dedicated, phenomenal and faithful are just a few words that describe Rev. Dr. Edwin A. Davis, pastor of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church (GMBC), the oldest African American Baptist church in Acres Homes. Pastor Davis has been pastor of GMBC for 35 years and has grown the church significantly over the last three decades. It was in 1987, when he preached what is known to some as his most famous sermon, “The Boomerang,” which played a significant role in him becoming the 8th pastor of the church. A native Houstonian, Pastor Davis grew up in Third Ward and lived on Truxillo Street where his grandmother, Ophelia P. Davis raised and taught him many life lessons.
As a child, Pastor Davis attended church with his grandmother every Sunday morning. He learned to play the organ at an early age and played for several churches in the Houston area, and later received the call from God to enter the ministry. “The Holy Spirit reveals this calling to you, and you either obey the calling or do something different. As God told Jeremiah, even when I was in my mother’s womb, I was destined and ordained to be a preacher.”
There are many things that come with being a Pastor, and Pastor Davis does not take for granted the call he answered in 1985. “I have been able to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and have tried to save as many souls as possible. God allowed me to be there on many occasions for God’s people in their time of need, providing them with the comfort they needed. My hope and prayer is that in some way, I’ve been an inspiration to many,” he said.
In addition, being a pastor does not come without its set of challenges. One challenge he mentioned was working with different personalities and trying to reach hundreds of people who are at different levels in their spirituality. Pastor Davis stated that Covid brought with it its own set of challenges. “Covid stabbed and wounded the church, and it has not recovered yet.” He discussed how this is not only a challenge for GMBC, but a challenge for churches all over the nation. “It impacted the church in a big way and hindered a lot of people from actively attending church. Although we offer online streaming for service, being online is quite different from being in the sanctuary for praise and worship in person.”
Under the leadership of Pastor Davis, GMBC has reached significant heights. In 1993, a new fellowship hall was built, which expanded the square footage of the church. The 15 year mortgage for the construction of the fellowship hall was paid off in four and a half years. Over the years, GMBC grew even more with the construction of a 15,964 square feet, 860 seat sanctuary, which was completed on September 14, 2003. The 30 year mortgage for this construction was paid in full in fourteen and a half years. More recently the entire fellowship hall and bathroom areas have been renovated.
A strong believer in supporting the community, Pastor Davis has overseen many community events at the church over the past several years. These events include festivals, food giveaways, hurricane relief, vaccination and childhood immunization events, and the church has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to assist their youth in pursuing higher education. Pastor Davis stressed that none of this would have been possible without the help of his faithful members.
Pastor Davis has always stressed the importance of getting an education to his members, and has even been an example of what education can do. Education opens doors and provides better opportunities, but a lack of education can bring larger and more serious issues to the community.” He even quoted the great late Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Over time, Pastor Davis has received several accolades and achievements. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Religion in Dallas, Texas, and has received many other honors and awards. He has also obtained many degrees including a Doctorate of Education from the University of Houston.
Pastor Davis has been married to the beautiful first lady of GMBC, Dr. Charlotte J. Davis. They have four kids; Eric Davis (Mandelé), Erica Davis-Stribling (David), Dr. Chelsea Davis-Bibb (Derek), and Courtney Davis. They also have five beautiful grandkids; Aubrey Davis, Alysse Davis, Aurielle Davis, Carter Bibb, and Caiden Bibb.
GMBC has played a major role in the life of Pastor Davis, and he is forever grateful that he answered God’s call many years ago to come to Acres Homes, Texas to the historical landmark, GMBC. When it comes to his legacy, Pastor Davis stated that he would like to be remembered as a pastor who tried to help as many people as he could and that he tried to be an example of a person who lived the life that he preached about.”