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Our Story

The history of Ebenezer United Methodist Church is inseparable from that of Crittenden, Eclipse, and Hobson. Our church traces its beginnings to “Evangelistic Services” held in Nansemond County in 1866. A tangible result of these services, Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church was built about a quarter of a mile south from what is now Hobson. The church was named Ebenezer meaning “a stone of help” (1 Samuel 7:12). The church building was used as a schoolhouse during the week and as a house of divine Worship on Sundays, as were many other churches in that day. Sometime during the following decade, this church building was destroyed by fire.
Immediately after the destruction of the first church, a new church was planned. Until its completion, the congregation worshiped first in a brush arbor tent. Under this tent, a “Protracted Meeting” was conducted, continuing for five weeks. People came from all over Nansemond and Isle of Wight counties to attend these Evangelistic Services. During these meetings, three hundred people were converted to the Christian faith and received into the Church. At this time, the congregation raised enough money to build a new church.
The new Ebenezer church building was located on the site of the Hobson Christian Church building. This church served the congregation until 1888. By this time Crittenden, with its location on the Chuckatuck Creek, was thought to be a more suitable place for Ebenezer Church. A building lot was purchased and the cornerstone of a new church was laid in November 1888. In 1902, Ebenezer had another series of great Evangelistic Services, at which time about one hundred people accepted Christ and came into the fellowship of the church.
During World War II (1941-1945), Ebenezer assumed many extra duties and activities related to the war effort. Being located in an area of important shipbuilding and munitions manufacturing, “blackouts” became a necessity in the area. In the Crittenden community, the ringing of the bell in the Ebenezer Methodist church tower was the signal for the beginning and end of “blackouts” in the community.
By the late 1950s, the growth of the community resulted in the need for a larger and more modern church building. The old church was seventy-five years old and served its people well, but now it was time to expand its facilities to provide for tomorrow. The church acquired land across the street and the actual construction of our current building began about May 1, 1963.
Our church continues to grow in other directions as well, with several exciting opportunities for all ages including the Ebenezer Arts and Sports League (E.A.S.L.) with enrichment programs in music, arts and sports. Our Family Life Center (FLC), which opened in the summer of 2005, continues to have a profound impact on how we do ministry. Already, we have touched the lives of hundreds of children with our programming. Like the Ebenezer saints that preceded us, we want to see many people in our community come to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Like them, we can also say, in the words of 1 Samuel 7:12 “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”