Preserving & Celebrating African American Religious Roots at Ebenezer A.M.E


Throwback Thursday: Encore’s Architecture News Archive

News coverage today can be extremely sensational, and well, less than uplifting. Encore Sustainable Architects takes a peek at journalism past that covered interesting projects and happenings related to their work and architecture in the Mid-Atlantic.

This Thursday we look back to share:

Ebenezer A.M.E. celebrates 180th anniversary by Ursula V. Battle from The Baltimore Times

In 1836, a group of worshipers met in a small paint shop in South Baltimore for the purpose of singing and praying. The group was the first membership of what is now known as Ebenezer African American Methodist (A.M.E.) Church. Since its inception, Ebenezer A.M.E. has gone through many adversities and challenges, including the threat of having to shut its doors to make way for a highway project. But the church has withstood the challenges, and the test of time, and will celebrate its 180th Church Anniversary on Sunday, April 24, 2016.

Milky discolored protective glass (at the time of this article) and the new replacement (today)

Ebenezer is located at 20 West Montgomery Street in South Baltimore. The church will celebrate its historic birthday with several festivities, including a special worship service and a banquet.

The Rt. Reverend William Phillips DeVeaux is the presiding bishop, the Reverend Ernest L. Montague, Sr. is presiding elder, and The Reverend Dr. Ruth Travis, is the church’s senior pastor.

“Over the years, so many great people have graced that pulpit and brought forth God’s Word,” said Pastor Travis. “Through our church school, and related ministries, we have continued our tradition and charge to teach, train, nurture, prepare and recruit adults and children in God’s Word to serve and witness for Christ.”

According to church officials, Ebenezer A.M.E. boasts the third oldest A.M.E. congregation in the United States, with Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia, PA and Bethel A.M.E. Church in Baltimore City, respectively, having been founded before it in 1816.

Encore Sustainable Architects worked to repair the 180 year old church roof at Ebenezer A.M.E which exhibited tiles washing away and water damage threatening the interior.

“This church represents freedom,” said Matilda Barkley who is the coordinator of the church’s 180th church anniversary, and serves as president of the Matilda Monroe Women’s Missionary Society at Ebenezer. “This church started with four freed black members of the congregation. They purchased this property on Montgomery Street because they had a vision to build. They were part of the congregation deed that was titled in the name of members and their heirs.”

In 1846, Ebenezer with 25 members was officially organized as a Mission Church by Bishop Daniel A. Payne and Reverend William H. Jones was appointed to serve as Ebenezer’s first minister. The congregation was incorporated in 1848, and that year, Reverend Jones had the original frame building demolished and a forty-seven by fifty-foot brick structure erected on the lot.

Ebenezer A.M.E. remains on the same land 180 years later. The english gothic design, stained glass windows with geometric victorian patterns, pews and ceiling beams of Georgia pine, a marble pulpit and bronze bell have retained their beauty.

Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church Interior
Ebenezer A.M.E interior

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Read more about this Encore Sustainable Architects’ project.