Rev. Ernest Sylvester Martin, Sr. went peacefully to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, January 8, 2018, at his son’s home. Ernest, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia passed away to glory at the age of 84 surrounded by his beautiful wife and loving family. Ernest blessed his parents, Joseph C. Martin, Sr. and Ronia Ernestine Riddick with his birth on February 17, 1933, in Pantego, North Carolina. He had two siblings, Beulah Martin (Deceased) and Joseph C. Martin, Jr. of New Jersey. Ernest spent the majority of his life in Norfolk, Virginia, where he relocated from North Carolina about the age of 15.
He married the love of his life, whom he calls, “His Prime Rib”, Orla Mae Martin on February 23, 1957. He and his beautiful bride celebrated 60 years of marriage. They were not only joined together as husband and wife, but also by the calling of God to serve in ministry together. He loved his family dearly. He was blessed to have 12 children; Ronald Martin (Audrey), Vanessa Featherston, Ernest Martin, Jr. (Deceased), Ronia “Tina” Martin, Keenan Martin (Deceased), Timothy Martin (Ernestine), Paul Martin, Verlina Edmonds-Martin (Maurice), Michael Martin (Patricia), Reginald Martin, Delano Martin (Joanna), and David Martin (Shelby). His family blessed him with 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
Rev. Ernest Martin was a remarkable man. He was the hardest working, most generous, and most God-fearing person. He was a bi-vocational pastor. He was employed with South Gate Terminal as a fork lift operator for 25 years. One astonishing fact about Ernest is in his 25 years of working with South Gate Terminal, he never missed a day of work. At one point in his career at South Gate Terminal, he was going to quit his job, but God spoke to Ernest and instructed him to stay right where he was at his job. God also said to him, “I am going to meet your needs where you are at.” His family is able to share how God did exactly what He promised and their family was never in need or want.
Ernest was a kind and generous man a loving and supportive father, a powerful preacher, a prayer warrior and a humble and devout child of God. He freely gave of what he had to his family, friends, children, and even complete strangers. His faith in God was so strong and unshakable. His daily prayers were truly praying without ceasing. The power that flowed from his prayers was so evident that one could not even watch him pray without feeling surrounded by the Spirit of God. He often stressed not only the importance of prayer, but also the value of prayer. Ernest showed how to lay all things out before Jesus Christ and allow Him to work them out according to His perfect will. Ernest commitment and faith to God in prayer is an amazing gift that will be cherished.
Rev. Ernest Sylvester Martin accepted his call to the ministry, became an ordained minister and continued to serve the Lord for the rest of his life. He was the founding pastor of Full Gospel Church of Deliverance in Norfolk, Virginia. The church continues to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over 54 years. His commitment to his flock was matched only by his dedication to ministerial leadership. Ernest’s son, Timothy Martin, has acknowledged his call by God to carry on the Martin ministerial calling and has transitioned into the role and position of Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Deliverance.
Ernest’s ministry outreach extended to prison ministries in Richmond and Goochland and preaching ministries in Bermuda. God used him until the very end and is still using him and his ministry through people. His example is one that will live on through many lives that have been impacted as a result of his faithful ministry.
He was a Faith Walking Servant of God. He was a humble man and his passion was loving the Lord. He truly believed without God’s help, he could do nothing. The most valued legacy, 1 Chronicles 28:7-10 “7Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day. 8Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you forever. 9And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever. 10Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.”
He always put God first and set an example for everyone. He trusted God so much that he never went or took his family to the doctor or the hospital. Ernest would pray over any alignment or injury and he would always pray “In the name of Jesus”. So mighty and fervent were his prayers that you could feel the presence of God just by being near him. His intercession before God truly wrought many blessings and healings for his family, his congregation, and people all over the world.
He was a walking living Bible. He did not place much value on material things, his most prized possession was his Bible. He could recite and he lived out the Word of God daily. His knowledge of God’s word was immeasurable and his ability to pray and communicate with the Lord was profound.
Rev. Martin had four favorite gospel songs that he loved to sing. It’s Another Day’s Journey, He Was There All The Time, I’ve Got the Love of Jesus, Deep Down in My Heart, and I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.
Rev. Martin also had an opportunity to travel to Israel baptizing people in the Jordan River in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pat Robertson asked him to be a co-host for a short period of time at Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). Pat Robertson also had CBN make a life history story documentary of the Martin family. He was granted a Lifetime Achievement Award for Preachers of the Gospel in July of 2015 for his labor in love in the gospel. He was prestigiously awarded the Hometown Hero from Kirk Franklin, a contemporary gospel singer.
Rev. Ernest Sylvester Martin will be lovingly remembered forever by his wife, “His PRIME RIB”, Orla Martin and his children, Ronald Martin (Audrey), Vanessa Featherston, Ronia “Tina” Martin, Timothy Martin (Ernestine), Paul Martin, Verlina Edmonds-Martin (Maurice), Michael Martin (Patricia), Reginald Martin, Delano Martin (Joanna), and David Martin (Shelby). Ernest will be sadly missed by his 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents Joseph C. Martin, Sr. and Ronia Ernestine Riddick and two sons, Ernest Martin, Jr. and Keenan Martin.