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Apostle Preston Graves Jr.

Apostle Graves was a Mighty Man of God! He was a Counselor, Teacher, Leader, Prayer Warrior, Builder, Organizer, Visionary, Preacher, Pastor, Founder, Father, and a Husband. Apostle Graves is the founder of Smryna Church of Christ, which he headed for 42 years. Born Preston Graves, Jr. on March 30, 1962, in Caswell County, NC where he attended public schools. He was the fifth child of Sendie Jane and Preston William Graves, Sr. On June 1, 1946 Apostle Graves and his then sweetheart, Ivadell Cotton, from Rockingham County, NC (where they met) were married and made Alexandria, VA, their home. Apostle Graves worked as a presser in the drycleaning business, but he was gifted to play the guitar, which he had a love for and had played from an early age. Through which The Silver Star Quartet was formed, they traveled up and down the east coast singing God's gospel. Apostle Graves' work for the Lord began in earnest in 1958, after he heard and received the Word during a street corner service, conducted by Elder Roberts of the Bible Way Church. He made a commitment to change his life, was baptized in Jesus name, received the Holy Ghost and never looked back. His wife Ivadell also committed her life to Christ, and they began a partnership of work and worship. Soon after he was called into the Ministry, and He and Sister Graves labored tirelessly in the church, ministering God's word and working closely with his pastor, and she in various organizations such as the Willing Workers, and etc...They were a team and made tremendous impact on those who came in contact with them. Apostle Graves had a great thirst for knowledge, and studied the bible unceasingly, gave himself whole-heartedly to God's word and to whatever work he could do in the church. He attended Washington D.C. Bible College and also took advantage of many courses offering biblical teaching. His reputation grew as a firm and unrelenting Man for Christ and was soon elevated and made Elder in the church. Being obedient to God's call, in June 1963 Apostle Graves moved his family to NC to fulfill the ultimate plan for his ministry. Smyrna was born, located in Caswell with a few loyal members believing great things were to come under Apostle Graves leadership. The Church moved into their first newly built sanctuary in 1972 and in 1975 Elder Graves was Ordained to Bishop. Over the next few years, the ministry flourished through outreach programs such has bible teaching, radio, prison, van, TV broadcast ministries, amongst others. Bishop and Mother Graves traveled extensively across the U.S. for church conventions, conferences, revivals, fellowships. Bishop also traveled to Africa to help further God's Work. The family had now grown to ten children, and each child was blessed with a gift that was used to help grow and build the ministry. In 1995 Bishop Graves revceived an Honorary Doctorate degree and the Smyrna Church marched to, and dedicated, their second newly built sanctuary. In 2000, Bishop was elevated to Apostle, because of his great shepherdship, several churches were birthed under his leadership. Bishop Graves counseled many, including pastors, city officials, and by doing so crossed many denominational boundaries. As Apostle Graves traveled his spiritual journey he grew higher and higher, however, he became more humble. In recent years, plagued by various illnesses, Apostle Graves weakened physically, but his commitment to God never wavered and he did not complain. Apostle Graves passed away on April 11, 2004, at the Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, NC. He was 78 years of age and was a great man who left his mark and a powerful legacy.













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