The rich history of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church first began on the second Sunday of May 1969 with the Rev. Clarence Knox at its helm. What began as a Mission with eight dedicated members who held their first meeting in the United Methodist Church on the corner of Lippincott and Center Roads would decades later expand to more than 1,000 members who worship in a church more than three times the size of the original building.
A few months after its inception, on Sunday, September 21, 1969, the Mission met at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church for the purpose of organizing a church, which was later established with 37 members. One of the charter members, Sister Betty Petty, suggested the church be named after the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Consequently, services for the church were held every Sunday at 1 p.m. at the United Methodist Church. Approximately 14 months later, the membership had increased to 65, who, along with the Rev. C. Knox, raised a total of $11,000 to purchase six lots on Eckley and Kent Streets for the purpose of building their own house of worship. Unfortunately, they met with much opposition from the neighbors in the area and were unable to use the lots.
As a result, the Rev. C. Knox and the church went into prayer and asked God to lead them to a church site. And as is His usual practice, God answered and lead the congregation to 2140 South Center Road. The church however, did not have enough money to purchase the land so the Pastor and his wife Mary stood in the gap and loaned the church what was needed.
Unfortunately there were still roadblocks that had to be overcome. Shortly after the church began to hold services in the basement of the house that was purchased with the land at 2140 South Center Road, neighbors began to complain, which led to a legal battle with the officials of Burton Township. Shortly thereafter the church returned to the United Methodist Church for its services.
But all was not lost. Upon their return to United Methodist, the Lord saw fit to bless Ebenezer with more members and more money. The church’s first two acting deacons were the late Brother John Abell and the late Brother Ira Crawley.
Through hard work, prayer and sacrifice, a tabernacle was soon erected to worship God at 2130 South Center Road in Burton. And on Sunday, December 10, 1972, the Reverend Clarence Knox, along with 110 members, marched into the tabernacle.
In 1973 the Lord blessed the church with another 180 members, giving the church roll a total of 290, including the Reverend Jay Watkins from Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church and the Reverend Walter A. Holbrook.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Reverend C. Knox was a passionate and positive leader for Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. Under his leadership, six members received their calling into the ministry, eight deacons were ordained, and the following church organizations were formed: a Deaconess Board, five choirs, four Mission Circles, a Nurses Guild, a Floral Club, a Pastor’s Aid Society, and a very strong…….