top of page

(Matthew 28:19-20)

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (KJV)

To bring people to our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, and membership in his family develop them in Christ-like(Christian) maturity and equip them for ministry in the Church and life mission in the world in order to magnify God’s name.

The Great Commission

Our Mission

Vision:

Ebenezer is a caring and welcoming community that is centered on the preaching and teaching of God’s word and Christocentric ministries that meet the needs of every age and season of life.

342071942_1584451641980549_5710762035672562612_n_edited.jpg
ebc-1888-min-495x400.png
ebc1947-min-e1552597130149.png
ebc-present-min-e1552597240214.png
DSCN4069-min-1030x773_edited.jpg

Our History

Founded in 1884, Ebenezer Baptist Church is a warm, hospitable church in the West End of Providence, Rhode Island. The current house of worship was purchased from the former Cranston Street Roger Williams Baptist Church in 1969. Three former locations have previously served as houses of worship. Known as one of the largest and most active of American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island (ABCORI) congregations, Ebenezer continues to grow and become more diverse.

In late November 1884, a meeting was held in Providence’s East Side at 22 Fremont Street, the home of Moses and Mary Jane Hampton. Here a small group of devoted Christians gathered to pledge themselves to the creation of a new church on the West Side of Providence. Some other founding members were: Mr. and Mrs. Moses J. Ford, Matilda Johnson, Christopher, and Jeanette Ridley. This meeting was the result of differences of opinion of a group who left the Congdon Street Baptist Church to form a church of their own. The scripture of the evening was found in I Samuel 7: 12, which spoke of a battle between a small band of Israelites and the renowned mighty Philistine army. The Israelites had unceasingly prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord hearing their prayers delivered them from the hands of the enemy. In humble gratitude, the Israelites erected a stone on the battlefield, marking the place of their deliverance.

On the stone was inscribed “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us“, and they called this place “Ebenezer”.  This passage is inscribed across the front arch of the sanctuary.

A few weeks following the November 1884 meeting, the original group of about forty organized and was granted a charter known as the Ebenezer Baptist Church. For the next three years, they worshipped at Slater Hall located on Weybosset Street in downtown Providence. In the winter of 1887, a lot on “A” Street was purchased. Under the leadership of Ebenezer Pastor, Reverend B.S. Jones, a two-story wooden structure was erected on “A” Street.  By the end of the century, Ebenezer had become a strong center for the Black community on the
Providence West Side. In 1888 The Ebenezer Baptist Church was officially incorporated.

Our History (Continued)

Before, during, and after World War I, a massive migratory movement took place. Like other Northern
cities, Providence received many people who settled here, and Ebenezer became a haven for many of the growing Black population. Some of the other known names of people in the
growing years of Ebenezer included Ella Carroll, Thomas and Emma K. Diggs, Mary Barker Johnson,
Bertha M. Lewis, George and Josephine Long, Louis W. Marshall, William and Abelle Mercer, Margaret Diggs, Samuel G. and Felisco Paige, AdelIa Parker, Virginia Reid, Robert Rollins Sr., Mary Thomas, Silas Skipworth, Joseph Tolliver and Sally Watson.

In January 1942 while the nation was in the middle of World War II, a crisis was realized on the
home front. Due to the migration of thousands from rural to urban areas, many cities were experiencing
severe housing shortages. Providence suffered from this crisis. In the same year, under the leadership of Reverend J. Isaiah Goodman, Ebenezer was forced to sell the land on which it stood to make room for the construction of the Codding Court Housing Project. After purchasing the property for nine thousand dollars, the Federal Housing Authority agreed to give the building to Ebenezer, provided it was moved to another location.  Fortunately, the church was able to locate only a few blocks away from the property at 135 Dodge Street, making the move feasible and keeping the church under one roof and in the same vicinity.

Tragedy struck on Valentine’s Day in 1946 when Ebenezer’s wooden structure was lost by fire. The church vestments were totally destroyed along with all of the personal papers of the pastor and all the church records. Sixty-five years of hard work and sacrifice were lost within minutes. Nevertheless, God’s plan still prevailed.  Despite the ruins, plans for the church’s future began. We are grateful and fortunate in that some of the destroyed factual information was gleaned from some of the older members of the congregation.

After a special meeting, Ebenezer made a unanimous decision to rebuild the church. The church set out to relocate to a temporary shelter in order to continue worshipping the Lord as one family. After hearing about the devastating Ebenezer fire, Reverend H. Victor Kane and congregation, of the predominantly white Cranston Street Roger Williams Baptist Church offered Ebenezer the use of their fellowship hall for as long as the Ebenezer congregation needed it, a period of twenty-two months.

On Sunday, December 21, 1947, bells rang at 3 p.m. calling Ebenezer to its new home. On this very special
day, the congregation was filled with joy as the congregation entered the brick structure on Dodge
Street. 

Through the 1950s Ebenezer’s great concern was to pay off the creditors for their new building. Under the
capable leadership of Reverend Jesse L. Connor, the church came together on March 10, 1957, to make the final payment of the mortgage. God had blessed the Ebenezer family with another great victory in Christ. 

In 1964 Reverend Wallace J. Cook became pastor of Ebenezer, and the church began a process of urbanization. His goal was to teach Christians the skills to cope with the environmental and social changes which affected their daily lives. Several new programs and auxiliaries were added in order to address specific needs. By the mid-1960s, Ebenezer had grown tremendously; thus, came a time for Ebenezer to begin anew after twenty years in the building on Dodge Street. 

Since the Cranston Street, Roger Williams Baptist Church was suffering from a steadily declining membership, it sold its facility to Ebenezer for ten thousand dollars. In a moving ceremony on June 8, 1969, under the pastorate of Reverend of Wallace J. Cook, the Cranston Street Roger Williams Baptist Church became the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Erected in 1869 this massive and imposing granite ashlars and brownstone, Richardson Romanesque church is a magnificent example of the late Victorian period and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Buildings.

On November 13, 1977, Reverend C. Dexter Wise was installed as the new pastor of Ebenezer. Twelve months after his installation, he founded “The Grapevine”, a monthly newspaper. The Grapevine became an important link for many Black businesses, churches, and fraternities that coexisted in Providence. Reverend Wise also began a radio ministry that gave Ebenezer added recognition throughout Rhode Island.

The church doors were opened to many stranded commuters during the blizzard of 1978. The site of the old church for twenty-two years became a wonderful nursing home for the elderly and was named the        Bannister House. The stained glass windows in the chapel of the nursing home were the original windows from Ebenezer’s Dodge Street building. The church cornerstone is also located there.  A centennial parade was held in September 1984 in order to commemorate the church’s spiritual witness and presence in the community.

After being without a pastor for six years, Reverend James S. Wellington came to Ebenezer in October 1989. On March 25, 1990, he was installed as pastor. His theme for the installation was “A New Era of Excellence”. For a brief period, he intensified close harmony throughout the church family. Unfortunately, Reverend Wellington passed away on Good Friday in April 1990.

Reverend Carl H. Balark, Jr., the current pastor is a dynamic, powerful preacher, teacher, and an outstanding administrator.  He came to Ebenezer in 1992 and led the church into the twenty-first century. Under his leadership, the church continues to progress spiritually and numerically. Under his administration, the church has installed a ramp making the sanctuary and fellowship hall handicap-accessible, expansion of food distribution, repairing of the framework of the sanctuary stained glass windows, central air system, replacement of the pew padding, new carpeting, renovation of Isom Hall, installation of a fire alarm system, addition of an 8:00 AM service, implementation of additional ministries to ensure the needs of all members from the very young to seniors.  Several deacons ordained, deaconess consecrated and ministers licensed to preach and assist the pastor in the overall ministry of the church. He has also ordained and installed four of his Ministers as Reverend who now pastor other Baptist churches.  Rev. Balark is also mission oriented; he has established a sister church relationship with the St. Simon Baptist Church, Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa and led in assisting Ricks Institute, a Baptist school also in Liberia. 

Ebenezer has weathered many storms, but through it all and by the grace of God, we continue to pray and strive to build on the rich legacy of our forefathers for “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12).

bottom of page