A BRIEF HISTORY OF EBENEZER LUTHERAN
Ebenezer Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession was started on September 29, 1907 on St. Michael's Day. A Lutheran Church was needed on the West side of Greensboro and Ebenezer was started by a group of lay people and professors from Immanuel Lutheran College, a training school for black church leaders. The congregation met at the old First Presbyterian Church and then in several other locations in old Greensboro until the first church building was built in 1912. Years later, after a serious leak, which harmed the structure of the building, and after realizing that Ebenezer was in a poor location, a beautiful chapel was built on Walker and Tremont in 1929. The main sanctuary was built in 1959 after several members had a strong desire for Ebenezer to show forth the uniqueness of its heritage of Confessional theology.
Ebenezer went through interesting struggles as it sought to define itself in the modern world. It was part of racial change. It became a socially active church as it was involved in Lutheran World Relief, Urban Ministry, social organizations, programs for children, community service, public education, CROP Walk, scouts, sports, music for children and outreach and dialogue with many people, both wealthy and poor.
In 1998 Ebenezer built a fellowship hall or gymnasium, a kitchen, two nurseries, restrooms, and a large narthex. Parking was also expanded. This led to a wave of activity among young adults and children. Ebenezer had six vicars who worked with young adults, youth, seniors and shut-ins. Ebenezer also expanded its worship and educational activities throughout the 90ies and into the twenty-first century. Bible studies, quilting, seniors, youth, a group for children, mid-week Matins, young adult gatherings, yoga, basketball, volleyball, Oktoberfest, May Festival, Thanksgiving dinner, art classes and expression, crafts, Shrove Tuesday dinner, Advent and Lenten services, scout activity, boards, evangelism outreach, and many other activities made for a very activist congregation with many people involved. Art became very important as many expressions of imagination and of the Christian faith were expressed in order to increase in the displays and decorations in our complex.
Ebenezer has also become known for its music. We have had outstanding musicians, choir, hand bell choir, and children's choirs. Many instrumentalists have embellished out worship. We have also hosted many concerts and recitals. We have maintained a high standard of music with great diversity in an age of secularism. Ebenezer has been a service to the community as we have been of help to families and individuals in time of grief and in times of celebration
Today Ebenezer is known for being a unique church with many people active in the community dealing with the needs of people; for its uniquely Lutheran identity with great liturgies, music, Bible study, church history, arts and crafts; and its work to suffering people in hospitals and nursing homes. Ebenezer also has a strong ministry to children and youth, seniors, singles and young couples. Our members represent people from many walks of life and who have many different vocations. Ebenezer has also had many leaders in industry and politics. Our connection to the colleges and universities in the area has been very positive. Many UNCG music recitals have taken place in our building. We have hosted many choirs and recitals.
Ebenezer centers our beliefs on the Sacred Scriptures as the only rule and norm of faith. Life is the church is centered on Word and Sacrament. We believe that the historical structure of the liturgy best gives everything that God wants in worship. We believe that the house of God is sacred and that children can learn the best things in life, including respect for God, and, thereby, assume the great identity God gave them at Baptism. Important words in our theology are: justification, forgiveness, the sovereignty of God, love, grace, cross, covenant community, Body of Christ, true presence, hope, love, faith, grace, salvation, new life, fellowship, and the Holy Trinity. We prefer to be faithful more than successful, truly Lutheran rather than undefined, and people centered rather than numbers centered. We are grateful for all of the pastors who have served our church and for the hundreds of lay people who have partly carried out their faith and trust in God through our congregation. We are most grateful for God, our heavenly Father, sending his son to be our Lord and Savior from sin, death and the power of evil. We rejoice at the Easter life God brings to his community of believers as we show forth his love, grace and truth to our world.
The word "Ebenezer" comes from I Samuel 7:12 which says: THUS FAR GOD HAS HELPED US, an inscription on a rock after a great victory in the Old Testament. Jesus, himself, is the Rock of our salvation, and to that we give thanks.