Sunday's Bread: "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you."--- John 16:7
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The Beginning 1903
Ebenezer was brought over to the A.M.E. Connection June 6, 1903 from the Presbyterian Board of City Missions after its purchase for the sum of sixteen hundred sixty two dollars and fifty cents ($1,662.50) by the Reverends L.B. Sterrett, L.R. Nichols, J.H. Welch, D.L. Lites and B. H. Williams, trustees of the South Carolina Conference.
Some years later, in the year 1910, the Palmetto Conference was organized under the leadership of Bishop Benjamin Franklin Lee and Ebenezer, its members and pastor were then members of the Palmetto Conference.
Rev. M.H. Hollins was assigned as the first minister to serve as pastor of Ebenezer after its purchase and transferal to the A.M.E. Connection. Under his administration, the church grew from a mission to a church with potentials as members began to join and work.
Rev. H. Frederick followed Rev. Hollins, but served a short term. Rev. T. J. Miles then took up the banner and canvassed the east side for members. He was energetic and friendly and the church prospered. He soon was able to remodel and enlarge the church. Rev. Sandy Simmons followed Rev. Miles and continue to help the church to grow.
Rev. A.F.B. Horry followed Rev. Simmons and it was under Rev. Horrys administration that a great influx of members arrived. A Parsonage was purchased and an annex was added to the church. When Rev. Horry was moved, Rev. Sandy Simmons came to Ebenezer for his second time as pastor, serving from 1922-1926.
Rev. R.S. Lawrence came to us in 1926. Under his administration, the church experienced its greatest growth since its beginning. The church was remodeled again; he presented a challenge to the Senior Choir to raise the first payment on the pipe organ at a cost of thirty five thousand dollars ($35,000.00) which we still use today.
Rev. E. B. Mack followed Rev. Lawrence. Rev. Mack, a great preacher, did not make any change in the structure. Rev. John H. Grant followed Rev. Mack. He was a good preacher and planner, but his tenure was short.
Rev. M. A. Hollins returned for his second time as pastor of Ebenezer, and served one year. His health failed. Rev. J.C. James followed Rev. Hollins. He served 1934-1938.
Rev. D. N. Wilson came to us in 1938. The zeal for a new church inspired him to purchase property on the north side of the church. We began to raise money for the church. Architectural plans were drawn for a new church and twelve thousand two hundred twenty one dollars ($12,221.00) was deposited on the Building Fund. God saw fit to His Almighty was to call Rev. Wilson to his eternal rest in 1946.
Rev. B. J. Hutchinson came to carry out the work started by Rev. Wilson. With the $12,221.00 left by Rev. Wilson, through negotiation, Rev. Hutchinson and the congregation marched over to Shaw Center on Mary Street, where we held services weekly while the old church was completely demolished January 5, 1948.
The officers, members, and friends rallied behind Rev. Hutchinson, and the new Ebenezer, modern in its construction, furnished with the best modern pews of that time by the Usher Boards. It was completed at a cost of ninety seven thousand dollars ($97,000.00).
In 1949 we marched back into our new church singing and glorifying God for a good job and a great accomplishment by Rev. B.J. Hutchinson. Rev. H. B. Butler, Jr. came to us in 1954. He was a great preacher and a sound administrator. Much credit is due to him for rallying the members to set Ebenezer free in 1958 of the mortgage on the church instead of letting the full time run until 1960, the allotted time.
On Ebenezers 55th anniversary, as an A.M.E. Church, the mortgage of twelve thousand twenty seven dollars and twenty three cents ($12, 027.23) was paid off. Rev. Butler was gratified with the loyalty of the members and the Christian spirit exemplified.
Rev. B.J. Finklea came to us in 1959 with a vision to expand. And, during a decade of such rapid growth of our church, with the intake of so many young people ranging from six years to young adults, we the officers and members of Ebenezer began to see more and more the need for an educational building.
With this in mind, an expansion program was enacted under Rev. Finkleas administration. Through his expansion program we began the acquiring of property. The first properties purchased were the buildings at 42 Nassau Street and later we purchased 68 Amherst Street.
Also purchased was the Huber property on the north side of the church. Annual Teas, Annual Mothers Day Rallies, Annual Oyster Roast, and the Stewardship Program were instituted by Rev. Finklea. The proceeds from all of these efforts were placed in the First Federal Bank as Building Fund of Ebenezer A.M.E. Church.
We were on our way toward the beginning of our Educational Building. The Building Committee named and appointed by Rev. Finklea consisted of the following men: Dr. D. Ward Wilson, Chairman; Messrs. R. A. Pyatt, Sr., Secretary; William Bobo, Tobias Gadson and Teddy Nelson. This committee was given the authority through a church conference to begin negotiations for purchasing property adjacent to the church.
At this point, the Annual Conference saw fit to elevate Rev. Finklea from Pastor of Ebenezer to Presiding Elder of the Mt. Pleasant District after the death of Rev. J.C. James.
Rev. J. S. Hunter was sent to us as our pastor October 1976. He found us ready and willing to continue with our expansion program with thirty four thousand three hundred sixty-three dollars ($34,363.00) in the bank from the previous administration.
Rev. Hunter said to us, If an educational building is what you want, and need, that is what you will get. He started out by calling a church conference which voted to use the same building committee and continue with the same efforts used before as a means of financing our project. The building committee was authorized to purchase more property to have land enough for the building and parking space. The building committee succeeded in securing two more tracts of land here on Nassau Street.
After consulting three contractors, D.S.A. of Clayborne, Texas was chosen and in 1977, a church conference gave the Trustees of Ebenezer authority to proceed with whatever steps found necessary to build an educational building. The loan was negotiated in the amount of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00) for the building.
Ground breaking ceremonies were held Sunday, January 15, 1978 with Bishop Frank Madison Reid, Jr. officiating. Ceremonies for the cornerstone laying were held in February 1979, with Elder B. J. Finklea as speaker for the occasion. Rev. Joseph Graham, District Deputy Grand Master, and a local minister of Ebenezer, officiated in the cornerstone laying, as our pastor, the happiest minister at that time in the state, looked on with pride and humility.
The dedication of the Hunter-Finklea Building was held May 21-26, 1979. As we look back over the years and count the spiritual, financial, and material accomplishments under each minister during Ebenezers existence as an A.M.E. Church since 1903, we can only say, surely God has been, and still is, with us. For in November 1981, our current pastor, Rev. L.M. Seward, was sent to us. And he has become a model for the fashioning of relevant ministries in the churches of our area.
In the 21 months hes been with us, the realization of the fulfillment of several dreams has us in high spirits, praises and thanksgiving: the establishment of a Kindergarten and Day Care Center; tutoring service on weekends for students of Middle and High School classes.
The liquidating of the balance of a $50,000 debt; cutting the indebtedness on our parsonage to a minimum, along with extensive repairs and refurbishing; and now, the revitalization of our property at 68 Amherst Street.
Members are being added to the roll, and the church is moving forward with pride as we approach our 80th Anniversary.
Rev. Charles C. McLamore was sent to Ebenezer AME Church in 1985. Rev. McLamore had an energetic and powerful style of preaching. Rev. McLamore not only preached Gods Word to the people of Ebenezer but he also went out in the highways and byways to proclaim the Word of God. The church grew during his appointment. Rev. McLamore had a love of children and supported all of the youth ministries. One of the childrens choir was named in his honor The C.C. McLamore Golden Bell Choir. Rev. McLamore was reassigned in 1994.
In December 1994, Dr. Charles E. Young was presented to the congregation by the Board of Stewards as the newly appointed pastor of Ebenezer AME Church. Dr. Young was a great administrator who led by his no nonsense style. He reorganized some of the boards and rejuvenated others. Under Dr. Youngs administration, the Ebenezer Senior Day Care Center was established. The Senior Day Care Center was established to restore, maintain and promote the health status of all clients. These clients include persons who are socially isolated, mentally confused, those with limited ability to function independently in the community and elderly persons suffering from senility. Clients are fed, taken on field trips, exercised and have activities during the day. The Day Care Center currently serves approximately forty clients. The Ebenezer Social Action and Community Development, Enterprise, a non profit 301©, organization, was organized under the laws of South Carolina on October 29, 1997. The Ebenezer Social Action & Community Development with the assistance of HUD, the City of Charleston and the lending institutions, birth the America Street Project. This project consisted of six homes that were renovated as affordable housing for the specific purpose to house persons with low to moderate income. Dr. Young taught, empowered, and encouraged the officers and members through training and awareness.
Dr. William Swinton, Jr. was appointed to Ebenezer AME Church in December 2002. Dr. Swinton is a man of God who leads by example. We thank God that Dr. Swinton allows the spirit to lead and guide him. Our pastor is compassionate and has a great love for the people of God. He is a wonderful preacher and orator. Persons are surrendering their lives to God and the church is growing. In March of 2003, the Charleston County School District approved the application for the Charleston Development Academy to function. The Charleston Development Academy is an innovative inner-city Primary School, providing a diverse group of students in kindergarten through third-grade with a rigorous curriculum primarily focusing on Back to Basics and earlier intervention in areas of reading, writing, math and language development. Teachers and staff strive to enhance total family literacy through the inclusion of planned Parental Involvement Programs before, during and after-school. Dr. Swinton completed the renovations to the America Street Project. In an effort to provide more affordable housing for persons in the community, the dilapidated houses owned by the church were renovated into six affordable units under Dr. Swintons leadership. The church has taken under an awesome task of expanding. The expertise and leadership of Dr. Swinton have moved this project through major obstacles. Dr. Swinton works tirelessly with the Building Committee, Trustee Board and the architects to ensure that the project is forthcoming. Dr. Swinton believes in empowerment and growth and has offered the opportunity for both by providing training to the Stewards, Stewardesses, Trustees and Class Leaders. The churchs media ministry is currently being updated with state-of-the-art equipment, which will allow the church to worship in comfort and convenience and the ability to do wonderful things through technology. God has blessed us with our present pastor and we will continue to work with him to accomplish all that God desires for Ebenezer AME Church.
Please remember, Ebenezer in Biblical Language means, The Stone of Help.
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