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Meet The Ministers
E. Theophilus Caviness

Senior Pastor

At six years of age, Rev. Caviness knew there was a burning fire deep down inside; he found this to be quite strange.  But, as he became older, the urge to fulfill that burning desire led him to preach the Word of God, the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He practiced preaching with his brothers, his little friends, and even going as far as baptizing his cat, “Buttons.”  As the urgency grew, he knew, unequivocally, he must do the work of the Lord.  Therefore, Rev. Caviness made a decision to follow the calling of Almighty God.


At 17 years of age, Rev. Caviness became a pastor at his first church.  But, because of his strong belief in “getting a good education,” after graduating from high school, he decided to attend Bishop College in Dallas, Texas,  where he received a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Christian Education Degree.  Shortly before graduating from Bishop College, he met the love of his life, a beautiful young lady, Miss James Lee Pitts.  His instinct told him Miss Pitts would be the one-and-only love of his life.  The two of them soon became husband and wife, Rev. Emmitt Theophilus and Mrs. James Pitts Caviness.


Mrs. Caviness was an inspiration to her husband.  Along with her beauty, she was a dynamic vocalist and pianist.  She was the musician of the family.   Before each sermon, Mrs. Caviness set the mood of the congregation with her beautiful melodious voice.


Reverend and Mrs. Caviness both loved residing in East St. Louis, Illinois and it was there they began their family.  They were blessed with a son, naming their little bundle of joy Theophilus James Caviness.


Having been the Pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in East St. Louis, God decided He had another job for Rev. Caviness and his family.  God communicated with his servant once again. When the Lord spoke to Rev., The Lord said, “I have something else in mind for you.”  Rev. Caviness packed up his family and    relocated to Cleveland, Ohio.   The Lord told him he would become the Shepherd who would lead a great Christian flock, at the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church.  Rev. Caviness never questioned God - he was obedient to the call of his Master.


On July 11, 1961, the transition was made.  Rev. Emmitt Theophilus Caviness and his family followed the direction of God.  He began his work diligently, as God had commanded.  Rev. and Mrs. Caviness and their little son, lovingly called “Thop,” began to settle down in their new home.  A darling little baby girl, whom they named Theodosia Jacqueline, added much joy, love and excitement to the Caviness family.


Pleased to have relocated to the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, Rev. Caviness knew he had much work to do.  So, he rolled up his sleeves and got busy.  He began to do the work of the Lord.  It was not easy, he      tackled every stumbling block and climbed every mountain which stood in his way and he got the job done.  Through the years, because of Rev. Caviness’ obedience to God, miraculous occurrences took place.


As Pastor of The Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church for over 50 years, Reverend Caviness has conquered many obstacles. There has never been a mountain too high for him to climb; neither has there been a river too wide for him to cross. While climbing those mountains, within 20 months after his arrival to Cleveland $63,844.99 in mortgages were paid in full and an additional $5,000 in unpaid bills were completely eradicated. Never ceasing, Rev. Caviness committed himself to numerous additional enhancements to the church.


Rev. Caviness has dined in the company of Presidents, Congressmen, Senators, Governors, and other public officials.  Yet, Rev. is a humble man, a humble man of God who knows no strangers.  Even though many hats of importance have been worn by him, he has always been available to serve, i.e. by being that stalwart giant in this great Community of Glenville   serving his church family and others by being an officiate at weddings; blessing our babies; praying for those of us who have fallen ill, those of us who are troubled, and those of us who are in need of comfort, during our difficult times of bereavement.  And we, the members of Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, are blessed to have Rev. Dr. E. T. Caviness as our Pastor, a great visionary, our teacher, our mentor, our confidante – a man who has been blessed with exceptional administrative capabilities and one who believes “All things are possible with God.”

The Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church

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