Ebenezer ~ a stone, help, a light on a hill. Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church has stood on one of the highest points in the Midlands of Columbia, SC for 89 years. Birthed out of the Union Camp Meeting Association, which was organized in 1913 with five members, and meeting in such places like brush-arbor churches (located in the area of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church off of Gator Road and also located on Main Street in South Congaree) and a tent (located near the corner of Ramblin Road and Main Street in South Congaree).
While being home from the mission field on furlough and with a tent that belonged to her husband, Mrs. W.H. Turner, along with two of her four sons’ came to the Styx community for a tent revival. Out of this revival and over the years, the membership grew in this newly formed church. Over time, the beliefs of tithing would become a major issue among the membership of this small country church. While some of the members felt strongly that tithing was God’s plan for His people, others disagreed. Feeling that this was an act of obedience according to Malachi 3:10 which reads, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”, in 1921, a small group formed a tithing committee and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, began the process of birthing a new church.
In 1922, Reverend TO Evens along with the 13 charter members (Mrs. Minnie Boone, Mrs. Girlie Crapps, Mrs. Carrie Jeffcoat, Mrs. Lottie Jeffcoat, Mrs. Cora Lewis, Mrs. Viola Rish, Mrs. Nettie Sturkie, Mrs. Ola Tanner, Mr. Houston Shull, Mr. and Mrs. (Minnie) EJ Shumpert, Mrs. Laura Sturkie and Mrs. Olivia Murrah organized the Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church.
Mr. and Mrs. (Minnie) EJ Shumpert donated a piece of property which is now located at the corner of Church Street and Colonial Drive in South Congaree where a crude wood frame church was built with logs that were donated from landowners in the community.
The white wood frame structure faced what is now Church Street and sat where the current parking lot is at the corner of Church and Colonial Streets next to the graveyard. The small cedar tree located on the fence-line of the graveyard was planted near the front corner the old church.
Since its conception, Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church has been a church that has been known for its giving. Records show that in the earliest years of the church, tithe’s given were nickels, dimes and an occasional dollar, but often times eggs and chickens had to do. Even though many of the early church members were materially poor, they were spiritually wealthy.
The growing Ebenezer congregation, stands on the steps of the "old sanctuary".
From 1923 until 1956, the congregation of Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church worshiped in the “Old Sanctuary”. During these years, the wood sided church was bricked and other improvements were made as well. Over the years the congregation grew, and during revivals, people would press into the church, every seat taken. Chairs filled the isles, and people were crowded the windows outside to see and hear what was going on inside. In the early years, many of the earliest pastor’s of Ebenezer were circuit-riding preachers. Because of this, Ebenezer had a church service every other week, but had Sunday School every Sunday morning. Mr. Banks Murrah was the church's first Sunday School Superintendent. During this time the church had a wire stretched across the middle of the sanctuary that a curtain was pulled across to divide the building into two classrooms. The building was heated during the winter by a wood burning pot-bellied stove that sat in the center of the church. In the summer the windows would be raised and hand-held fans given by Thompson Funeral Home were used to keep the air moving. During this time a parsonage was built for the pastor.
The Ebenezer congregation in the "new sancuary" , in 1956.
Although the forefathers of our church had visions and plans for a much bigger sanctuary, an educational plant, a new parsonage, and a full-time pastor, many of them would not live to see this dream fulfilled. But in 1955, work began on a large new sanctuary that was dedicated and opened in 1956. Soon after the sanctuary was completed, construction began on a new parsonage that would replace the old. The new parsonage was dedicated in 1958. The cost to build the new parsonage was $16,000.00 and it was built debt free. In 1964, a spacious, two-story educational building was built and attached to the back of the church. Since 1956, the Sanctuary, Educational Building, Parsonage, and Youth Center as well as the surrounding property have had a number of improvements and upgrades.
A group of "founding fathers", stand in front of the doors to the newly added educational wing, in 1964.
From the earliest years of the Ebenezer Church, missions have always been an important part of its ministry. Missionaries knew the giving heart of the people of Ebenezer even in the early years. A visitation of a missionary was a highlight for the church. The people loved to hear and see what God was doing around the world. Many times, when the offerings were recieved for the missionaries, watches and other valuables would be given because the people had no money to give, but they wanted to give something. Over the years, the Ebenezer Church has given over $1,000,000.00 to World Missions. From the early days of the church, Ebenezer has supported individual missionaries. Base salaries were paid for Reverend and Mrs. Philip List and Reverend Dora (McNeill) Sandhu for a number of years. Money was given to build churches in Africa, Mexico and other areas around the world. Ebenezer has supported the Mae Wall Memorial Church in Mexico, and the Saam Moon Tsai Church and Kindergarten in Hong Kong. They have also given to the Hawaiian Evangelism Project, participated in the “Penny March” and “Dollar-a-Month”, given in the Global Outreach Offerings, and supported People-to-People Ministries.
Ebenezer has also supported the church related schools of Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA and Holmes College and Seminary in Greenville, SC. Along with financial support, Ebenezer has seen many of its members attend these schools with the highest enrollment at Emmanuel coming in 1969 with eight students from Ebenezer and in 1974 when eight students from Ebenezer attended Holmes.
- Julian Boles – Nazareth Pentecostal Holiness Church / Lexington, SC
- Bill and Marvalene Branch – Bath Pentecostal Holiness Church / Bath, SC
- Eric and Kim Branch - New Image Christian Outreach Church / Easley, SC
- Sharon Gamble – Resident Minister / SC Conference / EPHC
- Clyde Glover – Georgetown Pentecostal Holiness Church / Georgetown, SC
- Ivy Glover
- Cindy Sturkie Green – King Grove Baptist, Pelion, SC
- Venson Gunter – Portsmith Pentecostal Holiness Church, Portsmith, VA
- Gene Henderson – Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church / West Columbia, SC
- Danny Jones – Resident Minister / Florida Conference / EPHC
- Jimmy Jones – Christ Central Ministries / Church of God / Columbia, SC
- Dolton Norman
- David and Cyndi Rish – Independent / Lexington, SC
- Ronnie Rish – Apostolic Church / Van Buren, AR
- David Spires – Cayce Church of the Nazarene / Cayce, SC
- Ronnie Street – Resident Minister / SC Conference / EPHC
- Beulah Sturkie – Georgia Conference / EPHC
- David Williamson
- Robert Dunn - Resident Minister / SC Conference / EPHC
- Justin and Gillian Brickey - Peru
- Johnny Glover - Native Americans / Arizona, USA
- Carl Sturkie - Africa
- Dora (McNeil) Sandhu - Hong Kong
- Jerry Henderson - US Army
Over the 90-year history of Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church, 23 pastors have filled the pulpit.
Over the 90-year history of Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church, 10 associates have served in the church.
1) Reverend JE Bouknight
2) Reverend TO Evens
3) Reverend Sam Kennedy
4) Reverend CH Culclasure
5) Reverend RJ Hodge
6) Reverend WC Player
7) Reverend AB Howard
8) Reverend DT Kirby
9) Reverend HK Lemmon
10) Reverend HG Gladden
11) Reverend LM Goude
12) Reverend TO McGee
13) Reverend and Mrs. JL Wall
14) Reverend JT Lastinger
15) Reverend Willard Cox
16) Reverend Wylie Evens
17) Reverend JD Simmons
18) Reverend Bernard Cox
19) Reverend EW Ingram
20) Reverend Chesley Floyd
21) Reverend Randy Guerry
22) Reverend Lloyd Ackerman
23) Reverend Gene Henderson
1) Reverend Arnold McQueen – Minister of Music/Administrative Assistant
2) Reverend James Myers – Minister of Music/Associate Pastor
3) Reverend Brad Gaines – Youth Pastor/Associate Pastor
4) Reverend Mark Hopkins – Youth Pastor/Associate Pastor
5) Reverend Welby Fowler – Youth Pastor/Associate Pastor
6) Reverend Gene Henderson – Youth Pastor/Associate Pastor/Discipleship Ministries Director
7) Reverend Brandon Goff – Youth Pastor/Associate Pastor/Discipleship Ministries Director
8) Bryan Lucas – Minister of Music/Discipleship Ministries Director
9) Zachary Henderson – Youth Director
10) Chaplain (LTC) Jerry O. Henderson (Ret) - Director of Counseling Services
Over the 90-year history of Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church, 3 administrative assistants have served in the church.
1) Winifred Caines
2) Wanda Floyd
3) Tina Heyward