Reverend Merritt B. Graves is the son of Presiding Elder (Retired) and Mrs. Charles J. Graves. He is married to Mrs. Lizzie Capers Graves and they ar the parents of one son, Merritt B. Graves II. He was educated in the public schools of Dillon and Darlington counties and received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of South Carolina. He has done further studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga. and is currently enrolled at Payne Theological Center in Wilberforce, Ohio pursuing a Master's of Divinity.
Rev. Graves has worked for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Lee County Disabilities and Special Needs, and is retired from the S. C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services where his last position held was Parole Examiner. In 1989, he accepted the Call to Ministry and received his first pastoral assignment in 1991. He has served as pastor of the Mount Pleasant A.M.E. Church in Lynchburg, S.C., Mill Branch A.M.E. Church in Pamplico, S.C., and currently serves as pastor of Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in Florence, S.C. He is very active in the A.M.E. Church and serves on the Northeast Conference Financial Committee, and 7th Episcopal District Coordinator for the Sons of Allen Men's Ministry. He has been elected to serve as a delegate to the A.M.E. Church General Conference Quadrennial Sessions of 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and has been elected as a delegate for the upcoming General Conference in 2016. He is a member of the Florence Branch of the NAACP, City of Florence Faith-Based Partnership, the S.C. law Enforecement Offiecers Association, Florence Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Delta Kappa Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. He served as a Community Adviser to the Florence School District 1 Board of Trustees in their search for a Superintendent from 2013-2014. He serves as a Mentor for Florence School District 1 and is a frequent guest speaker at the Alfred Rush Academy Alternative School.
Rev. Graves is keenly interested in the youth of the community and takes advantage of every opportunity to encourage young people to be the best that they can be.