Ebenezer United Methodist Church
1898 - 2019
The founding period for churches was not without serious problems, especially for the Methodists. Richard Allen (1760-1830), an emancipated slave and Methodist preacher who had been mistreated because of his race, left the Church and in 1816 organized The African Methodist Church. For similar reasons, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was begun in 1821. In 1830, another rupture occurred in the Methodist Episcopal Church. About 5,000 preachers and lay people left the denomination because it would not grant representation to the laity or permit the election of presiding elders (district superintendents). The new body was called the Methodist Protestant Church. It remained a strong church until 1939 when it united with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to become "The Methodist Church".
It was August, 1898. Miami was but a village when four pioneer families met and formed the Ebenezer Methodist Church. The organizers were: Rev. Davis (first name not known), John Page, his wife Sara, and daughter Janie; J. M. Dingle, his wife Sallie, daughter Lenora and six other small children; Charlie Taylor, his wife Georgia and daughter Rubie. Ebenezer was first located at the southwest corner of northwest 9th Street and 3rd Avenue; and remained there until a larger facility was constructed on N.W. 11th Street and 3rd Avenue.
On April 23, 1968, the United Methodist Church was created when Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, representing the Evangelical United Brethren Church and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of the Methodist Church, joined hands at the Constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas, affirming, "Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in the United Methodist Church". That same year, the racially segregated structure for black Methodists, the Central Jurisdiction (1939-1968), was dissolved.
In June 1973, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Aaron D. Hall, Sr., the membership moved to 2001 N. W. 35th Street. This move enabled three separate congregations to hold their services under one roof: The Allapattah Congregation, The Allapattah Hispanic Congregation and The Ebenezer Congregation. Rev. Hall remained the pastor for 33 years before retiring.
Ebenezer United Methodist Church was organized by families and still remains a "Family Church". These early long standing families included: Harold & Isabella Francis, James Martin, Ms. E. S. Norris, Edwin & Firstina Farrington Lloyd, William Fuller, Philbrick & Ann Smith, Melvina Davis, Alberta Carey, Jessie and Nellie Martin, Lee and Nancy Ross, Lucille Johnson, Nellie S. Powers, Benjamin Strachan, Sam Ferguson, Aileen V. Taylor, Eloise Rolle Johnson, Catherine Smith, The Forbes Family, W.O. Perry, James Butterfield, The Kemps, Willie & Claudia Moorman, and many other families. However, there are other members, now 70 years of age and over who were baptized as infants (3rd and 4th generations) and are still actively worshipping regularly. The Thomas Family, one of the largest families, continues to worship at Ebenezer.
In July 2005, we celebrated the arrival of Rev. Dr. Joreatha McCall Capers, as the first female pastor of Ebenezer. Upon her arrival, the motto: "Stone of Help" was adopted. Ebenezer is, literally, a "stone of help" and serves to remind us of God's Holy Presence and Divine Love. Spiritually and theologically speaking, God continues to help us, especially in times of need. His past work assures us of future help to come. Ebenezer's stones remind us of the faithfulness of God in our tumults as we strive for balance between "in reach" and outreach. Ebenezer lives out the meaning of the name, "Stone of Help," with our many partners.
The Church mission has expanded through outreach ministries with COPE Centers, Youth Explosion, Celebrate Jesus, The Food Bank, Bill Glass Weekend of Champions, Men's Fellowship, Youth Fellowship, Community Development Corporation (CDC), Tae-Kwon Do, SBC21 and Spanish Outreach Ministry. Continued partnerships include People Acting in the Community Together (PACT), Exodus - Twelve Step Program, Community Action Agency (CAA), Collective Banking Group (CBG), and Self Help and Resource Exchange (SHARE).
In 2010, our Church was blessed with an Assistant Pastor, the Rev. Purnell A. Moody and his wife, Caroline Moody. The Moody Family has moved to Cooper City. In 2011, the Florida Annual Conference, in accordance with EUMC's Hispanic cultural vision, appointed the Rev. Rodolfo Casasayas as Associate Pastor and his wife, Isabel Corona, to our Church to start a Hispanic Ministry. In February 2012, the South East District of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church granted the ministry funds to refurbish the EUMC Chapel to accommodate the Hispanic Ministry's worship. This Hispanic Ministry has grown to 55-plus regular members. In June 2015, Ebenezer was blessed with Sr. Pastor Carrill S. Munnings, Sr. and his wife Annjeanette Munnings. We will continue "Celebrating Our Heritage" by sharing our faith and fulfilling our mission as we celebrate 120 years of praising God!
Known Pastors: 1899- J. S. Smith; 1900 - J. A. Grimsby; 1901 - Lawrence J. Little; 1905 - Henry W. Bartley; 1906 - N. A. Grimes; 1908 - W. Pericles Perkins; 1909 - Niger Armstrong; 1914 - Albert Emanuel; 1919 - L. Calvin Foster; 1923 - William P. Holmes; 1927 - John A. Simpson; 1934 - William O. Bartley; 1949 - Otis Burns; 1950 - George F. Ponder; 1956 - Aaron D. Hall, Sr.; 1988 - Oliver Gordon, Sr.; 1990 - James F. Jennings; 1992 - Alfonso T. Delaney; 1999 - Jimmie L. Brown; 2005 to 2015 - Joreatha M. Caper; 2015 - Carrill S. Munnings, Sr., and 2018 - Sherlain Stevens to the present.