The Ebenezer Baptist Church of Wardtown, VA was established in 1871. The name Ebenezer is a Hebrew name meaning “a stone of help.” Those who were credited with the establishment of our first church were: The Rev. Jasper Savage and others including, Mrs. Ada James and Mrs. Bethany Sample. Some of the deacons of this early church were Spencer Savage, Richard Milby, and John Gunter. Rev Savage was a former slave who had been freed by Arthur R. Savage. Rev. Jasper Savage and chartered members were originally members of the Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Occohannock Neck. The cause of their withdrawal from that congregation is not really known to this day but it has been suggested that Rev. Savage after visiting several Baptist Churches and joining in worship with them found their spirituality more to his liking. So in 1871, a large body of members withdrew and was baptized by the Rev. Caleb Burrows of African Baptist Church as a separate congregation.
The congregation first met under an oak tree. In 1871 a church building was erected but the land on which the present building itself stands was erected in 1910. The location and fate of any previous building is not known.
Rev. Savage, founder and pastor, served the church in its early years until his death in June 1909.
After Rev. Savage, the Rev. Leonard Treherne of Birdsnest, VA was called in 1909 and served until his health forced him to retire. During these years, the church was strengthened by an influx of members from the area of Shiloh Baptist Church in Boston, VA. Rev. Treherne also served as a moderator of the Eastern Shore Baptist Association.
Rev. Isaiah S. Arnold of Portsmouth, VA succeeded Rev. Treherne. Rev. Arnold served until 1930 when his health no longer permitted him to serve.
After the retirement of Rev. Arnold, the Rev. Isaac J. Goodman of Northampton County, VA served as pastor from 1930 until he resigned in 1935.
Rev. Frank Wise came from Union Baptist Church of Eastville, VA and succeeded Rev. Goodman. Rev. Wise served us only for a few months and resigned in 1935.
Rev. W. J. Miller of Horntown, VA then became our pastor. Rev. Miller was a great leader and a forceful preacher. Many souls were saved and the membership increased. He was truly a man of God and under his leadership Ebenezer took on a new life. During the pastorate of Rev. Miller, improvements were made to the sanctuary, many deacons were added to the official board, new construction took place which included widening the building to add a choir room and a deacons’ room. Rev. Miller was called from labor to reward in 1951.
Ebenezer was without a pastor for a period of about two years. The officers concluded that it was not good for the flock to be without an earthly shepherd for too long. In March of 1953, Rev. Richard W. Wilson came to us from the Aenon Baptist Church, Craigsville, VA and Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Christian, VA and served until his death in 2002. Under the leadership of Rev. Wilson, many souls were won to do the work of the Lord and the long standing tradition of service on one or two Sundays a month was changed in January 1968 to having services every Sunday of the month. During Rev. Wilson’s time as pastor, many physical changes were also made to the church as follows: purchase of new burying ground, new pews and pulpit furniture were purchased, bathrooms were installed, air conditions were installed as well as a heating system, and an annex was constructed at the rear of the church and furnished bydonations from members and friends. Other improvements included: the installation of stained glass windows, new carpet was installed, a handicapped ramp was constructed, copy machine was purchased, new parking spaces were added, bricking of the exterior of the church, the church purchased a parsonage, which was long overdue.
Our current pastor, Rev. Milton P. Bunting has been our earthly shepherd since 2002 and continues to feed us spiritually and serve us faithfully. Rev. Bunting implemented and teaches Tuesday night Bible Study each week. The church restrooms and sanctuary have been renovated and there has been the installation of modern technology (wall screen TV, livestream, website, etc.). Under Pastor Bunting’s leadership the Church is exhibiting an atmosphere of welcome to brothers and sisters who visit us. Most importantly Pastor Bunting, through his messages, has won many new souls for Christ which has increased our membership.
Pastor Bunting has instituted a spirit of giving back to the community within his congregation, by supporting the following: food donations to the Food Bank each month, provide Thanksgiving dinners/food to the community, and various other community activities.
Pastor Bunting also has a special place in his heart for the senior citizens and the veterans of our community; therefore, Ebenezer sponsors a Veterans Day program each year and sponsors an “Honoring Our Seasoned Senior’s Concert” each year in April and a Seasoned Seniors Health and General Information Conference in the fall of the year.
Ebenezer Baptist Church has come this far by faith leaning and depending on the Lord. Let us not turn around now. Let us run on and see what the end will be so that when we stand before Him, we pray that He will say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”