The number nine (9) symbolizes Divine Completeness. it represents the fruits of the Spirit that include Faithfulness, Gentleness, Goodness, Joy, Kindness, Long suffering, Love, Peace and self control. All of which are fitting descriptions of the Rev. Dr. E.T Caviness who celebrated his 90th birthday with Greater Abyssinia in full celebration array. Members of the Church transformed their multi-purpose room into a party center to be remembered. Organized by his daughter Jackie Caviness-Tucker with a contributing staff of the loving members of the Church who celebrated his life and his incalculable efforts as Pastor, preacher and teacher on a mission from God.
Reflections started with Rev. Caviness remarkably taught Bible Study and prayer meeting that also featured a powerful sermon by Rev. Aaron Phillips, Pastor of the Sure House Baptist Church who exhorted Rev. Caviness as a ‘fighter’ in the mode of Moses, who at the age of 85 was ‘Still Strong.’
Civil Rights Lawyer Avery Friedman underscored the birthday tracing the dim racially torn climate of Rev. Caviness’ hometown Marshall, TX. where lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan were sorrowfully imminent. Out of this came this warrior, exclaimed Atty. Friedman, who recanted Rev. Caviness’ recent National Fair House Conference Faith Award before presenting him photos from the ceremony and a special autographed photo of CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield whom Rev. Caviness had previously met.
Other tributes included a gift from the American Heart Association, laminated 1930 census tracks identifying Rev. Caviness’ and his brothers’ boyhood home their father, Will Spon, paid $10 a month to live in, as well as a spiral bound book of photos and text by member Sophronia Hairston; a proclamation from State Sen. Sandra Williams; framed endearing words from Rev. Stephen Rowan, pastor, Bethany Baptist Church; a surprise visit from Rev. Gerald D. Kisner, Tabernacle Baptist Church, a mentee of Rev. Caviness who flew up from West Palm Beach, Fla, and a restored photo of Rev. Caviness’ grandfather presented by his daughter. As Rev. Caviness variously played with his great grandchildren in between absorbing the tributes, Pastor Phillips put this cap on the night: “We keep talking about Rev. Caviness’ past, but we need to look to the Rev. Caviness of the future who is still thinking and planning.
On a personal note, I know Rev. Caviness as a faithful Friend, Father, Pastor, Preacher, Teacher and a man among men. All of the aforementioned he has been to me. We love him and we appreciate his life and the anointing God has bestowed upon him. To God be the glory for the man and the message of a life well lived with many more years to come.