Ebenezer United Methodist Church 225th Anniversary Celebration Held

AUBURN — On Sunday Sept. 13, Ebenezer United Methodist Church, Auburn, celebrated its 225th anniversary with a service of praise, worship and fellowship.

Salem County Freeholder Deputy Director Ben Laury, Pastor Bret Walker, Mayor George Bradford and Committeeman Cordy Taylor of Oldmans Township
Salem County Freeholder Deputy Director Ben Laury, Pastor Bret Walker, Mayor George Bradford and Committeeman Cordy Taylor of Oldmans Township

In the year 1790, a very enthusiastic group of people formed what became the Ebenezer United Methodist Church. It was on a very hot August afternoon in this year that Francis Asbury stopped at the Seven Stars Tavern for refreshment. After preaching a soul-searching sermon, he appointed one of his preachers to look after the new field. A church was built in September 1790, near Sculltown (later became Auburn) in Gloucester County.

The Church’s present site is at 59 Main St. in Auburn, Salem County, where it has stood since 1890. The name Ebenezer was chosen because of its meaning, “Stone of Help”.

God has continued to be the strength for the congregation over the years as it has continued to minister to the village of Auburn and the surrounding community.

Ebenezer is part of the Delaware Bay District and over the years has been assigned over 70 pastors as part of both dual and single charges. Currently, Pastor R. Bret Walker serves the Ebenezer church and Hudson UMC in Pedricktown.

Among those in attendance for the Sept. 13 celebration was Rev. Charles Green, retired Elder of the Greater NJ Conference. Rev. Green served as Pastor of the dual charge of Ebenezer in Auburn and Hudson in Pedricktown from June 1968 to June 1971.

Rev. Green offered the benediction in addition to sharing fond memories of his time as Pastor at Ebenezer. Soloist Blythe MacDonald, great-granddaughter of former pastor Aaron J. Smith (1926-1930), provided a beautiful rendition of ‘Be Still My Soul’ for the congregation.

Also attending were Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro, NJ 3rd Legislative District, Salem County Deputy Freeholder Ben Laury, George Bradford, Mayor Oldmans Township, and Oldmans Township Committeemen Cordy Taylor and Dean Sparks, each of whom recognized Ebenezer’s anniversary on behalf of their respective government entities.

In addition to the presentations from state and local officials, the service included special music provided by Beverly Steward Wordsworth of Massachusetts, daughter of Ebenezer’s former long-time organist Ida Steward, along with many hymns and musical selections written by Charles Wesley, an English poet and brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

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