Ebenezer Baptist Church
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Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, was founded in 1886, during the Reconstruction Era in the South by a small group of Christians. The first pastor of the church was Reverend John A. Parker; he had been born into slavery. He served as pastor from 1886 until 1894.
The original Georgia church site was in a box-like structure on Airline Street, NE. In March of 1894, Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams succeeded Reverend Parker. One of his first achievements was to bring an additional 65 members to the church the first year. His next large achievement was to build a church on McGruder Street, which was later known as Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.
The congregation moved two more times before the basement of the structure of the building now known as the Heritage Sanctuary was under construction. In 1914, the congregation moved into the basement of that facility and in 1922, the sanctuary was completed.
During his time as pastor, Reverend Williams married Jennie Parks. Their daughter, Alberta Christine Williams, married Martin Luther King Sr. They had 3 children; Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King Jr., and Alfred Daniel Williams King. Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. served as Assistant Pastor to Reverend Williams from 1926 to 1930, and following the death of Reverend Williams he assumed full pastorate, in 1931. Martin Luther King Jr. joined his father as Co-Pastor of Ebenezer, in 1960. Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams King joined his father as the Co-Pastor following the death of his brother, Martin Luther King Jr., in 1968. His tenure came to a close at his untimely death, in 1969.
After 44 years of service to the church and the world, Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. retired, in 1975. Dr. Joseph Lawrence Roberts Jr. became the fourth full-time pastor of the church.
With the lasting fame of Martin Luther King Jr. and the popularity of the King Center, Dr. Roberts realized that the church had a problem seating the visitors every Sunday, which could be as many as 350. So he envisioned the construction of a much larger sanctuary across the street from the Historical Sanctuary.
On Sunday March 7, 1999, the children of Ebenezer helped Dr. Roberts to realize his vision as they led the congregation from the historic 76-year old church to the new Horizon Sanctuary, which is an amazing auditorium which seats 2000 people. It had a cost of $8 million dollars.
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