In 1922, Reverend Love Tolbert and two or three other persons began prayer meetings in the Frank Mason Hall, formerly a dance hall, on Philpot Avenue. Reverend Jerry McGinnis, one of the early group, served as assistant pastor. The founders felt the need of replacing Satan with the Savior of mankind. With determination, persistence and the perseverance of the faithful few, the church began and continued despite obstacles. Choosing the name EBENEZER, the church raised the banner of the LORD and began to make a difference in the community. They were believers in the word of GOD.
The Early Years
In 1924, Reverend Abraham B. White became the pastor for the very small membership. During his spiritual leadership, GOD blessed the fellowship tremendously. The church grew in all areas. A new church building was erected at 1939 Philpot Avenue. Reverend White was an exemplary Christian model and mentor in the community. He ministered to the membership traveling by foot. He is fondly remembered as a rotund figure, wearing his characteristic skull cap and carrying a cane. Under his guidance, many converts were led from damnation to salvation. Additional members were added to the church roll from their Christian experience. Fervent religious and evangelistic programs and services led many youths and other unconverted ones to accept JESUS CHRIST as their personal SAVIOR.
"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeth and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
I Samuel 7:12
The Formative Years
After having been searched and selected by the membership, Reverend Frederick Douglas Reese became the third pastor in the glorified history of EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH and delivered his initial sermon as pastor on the third Sunday in March, 1965. Under his dynamic and Christian leadership, the church experienced tremendous growth in membership as well as spiritually and financially.
A landmark in his leadership was the construction of the present edifice at 1548 Dr. F. D. Reese Street (formerly LeGrande Street) which was dedicated to GOD and the commemorative cornerstone laid in 1974. Realizing the need for continued growth and to facilitate larger and more diverse membership, the Educational Wing was envisioned and dedicated to GOD on November 12, 1989 to educate the youth, in particular; and to serve the membership, at large.
The Present Age
Between January 2014 through December 2016, fifty-nine (59) new members joined Ebenezer’s baptized body of believers and the half million-dollar church renovation debt was retired 8 years early. (Note: Sister Althelstein M. Johnson, Sister Angernette M. Carter, and Rev. James Perkins, Jr., affectionately referred to as “Push, Pull, and Drag” implemented a series of strategies resulting in the retirement of the renovation debt of $500,000 and on Sunday, November 16, 2014, the church burned the mortgage.)
During the 2015 annual conference, December 3, 2015, with wife, First Lady Alline Cross Reese and daughter, Minister Christa Reese by his side, Rev. “Dr.” F. D. Reese announced his decision to retire as pastor, after 50 years, 8 months, 12 days of service. His retirement statement consisted of the following three points: 1) acknowledged his ￼
immediate retirement, 2) requested Pastor Emeritus status, and 3) recommended Assistant Pastor, Rev. James Perkins, Jr., to serve as next pastor. Members present ceremonially accepted Dr. Reese’s retirement and voted to approve his Pastor Emeritus status request. Additionally, the members voted to elect Rev. Perkins as Interim Pastor and selected a Pulpit Committee, chaired by Deacon Daryl Thomas, to consider Dr. Reese’s recommendation for pastor. The Pulpit Committee met and decided to interview Rev. Perkins; and after the interview decided to recommend to the church body to accept Dr. Reese’s recommendation to elect Rev. Perkins as pastor of EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH. On Sunday, December 20, 2015, immediately following church service, the church met and overwhelmingly voted, with a standing vote, to elect Rev. James Perkins, Jr. to serve as the fourth pastor in the blessed history of EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH. With wife, Sister Cynthia P. Perkins by his side and all their children present, Rev. Perkins accepted the call to serve as church pastor.
On December 27, 2015, Dr. Reese preached his retirement sermon entitled, “Assessing and Understanding the Value of Life of True Worship at the End of Year 2015”, with the text drawn from John 4:10, 4:13-14, 4:23, 4:28-29; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Kings 20:1- 3; and Matthew 4:10b.
On January 3, 2016, Rev. Perkins preached his initial sermon as senior pastor entitled, “SWOT Yourself”, with text drawn from 1 Peter 2:1-3 and Hebrews 6:1.
As the Word of God continues going forth and continues drawing soul into the Kingdom of Heaven, the Triune God whom we serve continues blessing Ebenezer with His Grace and His Mercy. And for His Grace and Mercy shown towards us, we declare, “To God Be The Glory.”