EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH HISTORY
In 1881, a group of members of the Third Baptist Church, Alexandria, Virginia, separated themselves from the church and began meeting in the Odd Fellows Hall of Alexandria as a Sunday School. 1883-1898: Moving towards their vision, projects were begun to raise financial resources for a building and for the purchase of land. In 1882, with the sum of $150.00, members purchased the land on which the present Ebenezer Baptist Church stands. At this time, Rev. Field Cooke was called to serve as the First Pastor. The first church building, affectionately referred to as “The Little Red Church”, built in 1883. Records of the Circuit Court of the City of Alexandria show that on April 24, 1884, a Deed of Land and Building was entered. The records further show Rev. Cooke as the Pastor and following individuals as Trustees: John Coles, Charles Morgan, David Jones, Edward Nobel, and Edward Banks.
1899-1911: After the death of Rev. Cooke, Rev. Lewis Henry Bailey (a member of the church) served as supply pastor until the calling of Rev. W. D. Lovens. 1912-1924: During the illness of Rev. W.D. Lovens, Rev. Brooks served as supply pastor until the calling of Rev. O. H. Woods as pastor in September 1912. Rev. Woods was an able gospel preacher. Under his leadership, many members were added and others returned. The church grew to the extent that in the Spring of 1921, it was agreed by the membership to enlarge the church. A building committee was appointed consisting of Robert H. Butler – Secretary, Ezreal Lyons – Treasurer, Bertie Jackson, Ruth Robinson and Magnolia Johnson. $800 was raised and spent to repair the lecture hall. The administration of Rev. Woods ended on June 23, 1924. In January 1925, Rev. H. H. Thompson was elected. He was not only endowed with the power to preach; but a builder, as well. It was under his leadership that the idea of building a new church was revived. The building was partially completed during his tenure.
1928-1937: On August 8, 1928, Rev. N. Howard Stanton was elected interim pastor. On March 24, 1930, Rev. Stanton was elected pastor. Ebenezer’s first Boy Scout Troop was organized during his administration. Rev. Stanton resigned the Pastorate on September 9, 1937.
During the absence of a pastor, Rev. W. T. Henry served until the calling of Rev. Joseph B. Reid of Augusta, Georgia on March 1, 1939. Under the leadership of Rev. Reid the mortgage of the Church was burned on July 22, 1942, ending 17 years of financial struggles. On November 3, 1943, Rev. Reid tendered his resignation to accept a call to Zion Baptist Church, Newport News, Virginia. Rev. Kelly Miller Smith served as acting pastor.
1944-1959: The first Sunday in October 1944 Rev. Nathaniel S. Hargrave became the pastor. Under the leadership of Rev. Hargrave, the church increased greatly in strength, both numerically and spiritually. During his tenure, a Youth Choir, Male Chorus and an Education Committee were formed. One of the greatest financial achievements under Rev. Hargrave’s leadership was the construction of a two-story building known as the Cook-Lovens Annex. Rev. Hargrave’s health began to fail. He passed on December 6, 1959 after 15 years of successful service to Ebenezer. Rev. A. H. Collins, Assistant to Rev. Hargrave, was elected as interim pastor.
1962-1985: In July 1962 a special meeting was held to elect a pastor. Rev. Austin A. Booker was elected as the eighth pastor. Rev. Booker began his duties as the Pastor in December of 1962. Under Rev. Booker’s dynamic leadership an estimated 1,500 persons joined Ebenezer. The following Board and auxiliaries were formed: Board of Christian Education, Gospeliers, Gospel Specials, Youth Department, Male Chorus (re-organization), Busy Bees, Sunshine Band, A. A. Booker Dramatics Club, New Members Club (re-organization), The Ebenezer Newsletter, basketball and bowling teams, an Annual Scholarship Banquet for high school graduates, Junior Deacons, Junior Deaconesses and a Sewing Circle.
In 1966, the church purchased and remodeled what is now the Hargrave-Collins Education Building. This building was dedicated in 1970.
Four sons of the church were called to the pastorate of other flocks during Rev. Booker’s tenure: Rev. John W. Johnson (St. John Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA); Rev. James A. Price (Macedonia Baptist Church, Flint Hill, VA); Rev. Frederick S. Jones (Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Triangle, VA); and Rev. Warren Hudson (Mississippi). Thirteen sons were called to the preaching ministry under Rev. Booker.
Rev. Booker envisioned a total renovation of the church. The church approved the process in three phases to include a combined choir loft with a seating capacity of 105; extension of the balcony, additional bathrooms, office space for the Pastor, Clerk and Finance Committee, health room and separate choir rooms for male and female members.
Rev. Booker served this Branch of Zion twenty-two and half years and was called home from labor to reward on April 15, 1985. Much was accomplished during his tenure, for he was a humble builder. Although he did not live to see the completion of the third phase of the renovation project, his spirit was with the members as they marched into a renovated sanctuary on March 19, 1986. Sister Phenoris Copes chaired the Committee for re-entry into the church.
From April 15, 1985 through September 6, 1986 the chair of the Diaconate Ministry, Deacon Maurice Adams, Sr., along with the Joint Board and sons of the church kept the flock together throughout the search for another of God’s chosen.
1986-2000: After Ebenezer accepted the recommendation of the Pulpit Committee, the Rev. Dr. Lloyd O. Roberts began his pastorate on September 6, 1986. Rev. Roberts came to the Ebenezer family with great zeal, enthusiasm and commitment. Eight ministers were added to the pulpit during Rev. Roberts’ tenure. In July 1988 one of the largest building fund efforts in Ebenezer’s history came to a close after raising more than $180,000 in two years to pay off the mortgage loan on the church’s renovation. This mortgage was burned in September 1988 during a Trustee Annual Service. In October 1988 due to the foresight of Pastor Roberts and the Board of Trustees the membership purchased the Lewis Funeral Home, located at 311 N. Patrick St., Alexandria, VA. On December 2, 1993, the note on the funeral home was paid in full. Thus, culminating over a half-million dollars paid in just seven years. The church adopted its first Constitution and By-laws on November 10, 1988. Many positive changes and restructuring of organizations occurred during the pastorate of Rev. Roberts. This wonderful man of GOD served Ebenezer Baptist Church for fourteen years.
2001-2002: Deacon Carl Young and Deacon Marion Timberlake capably led the flock after Rev. Dr. Roberts’ retirement.
2003-2004: Rev. W. Pierce Smith was called to serve as the Interim Pastor of Ebenezer. Rev. Smith served the church for thirteen months from January 2003 through January 31, 2004. We thank GOD for Rev. Smith and his dedicated service. He was indeed a positive and unifying force in the church body.
2004-2010: Rev. Duane T. Kay became the 10th pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA. Ebenezer adopted the pastoral vision of “Vision 20/20: Making Ministry Meaningful”. The church witnessed a tremendous growth in new disciples, bible study attendees, ministries, and in property holdings (inclusive of a residential building as an investment and a 32 passenger bus). In May 2004, the church purchased the Ebenezer Baptist Church Administration and Activities Center at 1002-1006 Queen Street. An elevator was installed in this three-story building. Rev. Kay ordained one minister and licensed two disciples to preach the Gospel under his pastorate.
November 2010-2012: The church continued to function during the absence of a permanent pastor. During this period, we thank God for the leadership of Deacon Peter Short, Chair of the Diaconate Joint Board, and sons of the Church. Some major events were the 70th Anniversary Reunion celebration of the Youth Choir (January 2013) under the direction of Deaconess Carrie G. Price; purchase of a new van; and, the tri-hosting of the Northern Virginia Baptist Church Association in Gainesville, VA during an entire week in August, 2012.
2012- 2013: Although the Pastoral Search Committee was doing a herculean job in its search for a permanent pastor, the church soon became aware that God had a special plan for the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Rev. Joseph A.C. Smith, an associate of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, became the Interim Pastor of this church in order to maintain consistency in the preaching of the Word on Sunday mornings. We were blessed to have the Chair of the Diaconate, Deacon Raymond Anderson and the Joint Board to serve as church leaders.
September 1, 2013 to Present: The Lord blessed the church to have Pastor-elect, Rev. Albert P. Jackson to take charge of the pulpit. He would be the 11th Pastor of this great church. Without question, the task was formidable. The journey had already been determined by our Heavenly Father, and Pastor Jackson knew that King Jesus was the Captain of the Ship, all he needed to do was to press towards the mark. With prayer, patience and perseverance, our Heavenly Father brought us out of the darkness into a marvelous light. Pastor Jackson was installed on Sunday, December 15, 2013 as the church set its mind on a new vision, “Moving Faith-Forward”.
Pastor Jackson quickly implemented his vision of “Moving Faith-Forward”; increased membership by 35%; increased worship attendance of first-time guests by 55%; introduced monthly Leadership Empowerment Summits to promote unity; implemented Small Groupings (Ministry, Discipleship, Evangelism, Community Worship); Worship and Fine Arts Ministry enhancement with the addition of a Music Director; Audio/Video Ministry greatly enhanced with visual aids of 3 new flat screens, videography of services and PowerPoint commercial advertisements (all seeded by membership at no additional cost to the church). Also, restructuring of the Trustee Ministry with an increase of capable membership by 30%; training every Tuesday and the formulation of a new relationship with neighboring churches and places of business in the DMV; revitalization of the Children, Youth & Young Adult Ministries; a new logo for Ebenezer Baptist Church; and two new visitor centers.
Look what GOD has done!