Our History

greeneco1904Ebenezer was a thriving community until the railroad by-passed it and went through Springfield, leaving Ebenezer somewhat on the outskirts.

The Church has the distinction of being the oldest Methodist Church this side of the Mississippi in continuous service—since 1832. It began as a large campground was established here and meetings were held here for many years.

In August 1842, the Springfield District, meeting at the campground, resolved that it was necessary and time to establish a high school somewhere in the neighborhood.  James Slavens, a practicing physician, was appointed as agent. A two-story frame building was built in 1847 and the second session of the St. Louis conference was held that year. Then in March 1848, Scarritt College was founded in Ebenezer.  A.H. Mathis was president and was assisted by John McNeil and Marcia Mathis.  Additional buildings were added as needed until the Civil War.  It was in these buildings that worship services were held.  Classes for the Northern Methodist met in the schoolhouse and the Southern Methodist met in the old college.  These two groups finally consolidated and services were held in the college until the church building was built.

ChurchFrontThe present building was built in about 1894.  The members doing the work. After the building was complete, Sunday School was held every week, but preaching services were usually held once a month. Two worship services were held each Sunday and the congregation provided lunch for the minister and welcomed them into their homes for the afternoon.

In the 1930s a donation given by Belle James and the Knighton family made it possible for a basement to be dug.  Since this was during the Depression many people were looking for work.  Norman Dillard and Dick Tillery dug the ground for the forms by hand.  Much of the other digging was done be hand too because the machines were too big for the project.  Various church members donated building materials and labor.

20141214_174459Now, each Sunday, worshipers still sit in the original dark stained pews from the 1890s.  The original bell still rings out to announce the union of newly married couples and for other special occasions.

Ebenezer has always existed to connect people to Jesus Christ and is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. It is our prayer that Ebenezer will continue to serve as a lighthouse and refuge to our community and to the world.