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Cornelia Walker Publisher

Current Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Moving Forward

by Clarence Thomas, Jr.

"Jacob Parker, Sr.". In the ministerial community of Middle Georgia this name is known in the households of most. Imagine if you would, being chosen by Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church executives to fill the very big shoes of the late, great leader of the south-central Macon church. On March 18 Reverend Henry Dwight Kennedy got the call to follow Parker. A race he says he was tailor-made by God to carry the baton passed on by Parker and run.

To lead Ebenezer, Parker’s replacement had to be well qualified. After all, the former statesman stewarded the church for 49 years. Along the way Parker became a pastoral pillar engaging in everything from politics to the pulpit. The street the 107 -year-old edifice sits on was even re-named in honor of Parker. But Kennedy is forging his own way as he walks in the footsteps of the man he met with two days after being selected; during an in-person conversation with Parker as he lay in a hospital bed. "I told him that with God's help I would do everything I can do to build on his legacy and continue making Ebenezer a positive footprint in the Middle Georgia community," said Kennedy.

To get there, the Oak Grove, Louisiana native has had some hurtles to jump, that he has successfully cleared since marrying Venita his wife of 28 years in 1989. They share three children and a grandchild. Shortly after, Kennedy accepted his call to preach the gospel in 1993. He served as Associate Pastor for Word of Life Center in Warner Robins for four years. In 2004, he joined Beulahland Bible Church where he served under Pastors Maurice Watson and Carlos Kelly for twelve years. It was there that Kennedy mastered ministering as the Pastor of Congregational Care. His job entailed visiting the sick, presiding over weddings and funerals and overseeing seven ministries to name a few. He decided to apply much of what he was doing at Beulahland to his new position with Ebenezer and so far, it has proven to be a good choice. "I inherited a hurting church that was also a bit divided. But I committed to giving Ebenezer a systematic Bible study that will produce spiritual growth and strong believers that increase attendance and bring about faithful givers," Kennedy said.

Kennedy started the process by creating a motto for the mission. Strong, united and moving forward was adopted to get the job done and he is grateful for the opportunity to be Ebenezer’s 12th leader. Kennedy recognized that focusing on youth and implementing ways to engage and retain them was needed. So he revamped the youth department because he believes to ensure a bright future for Ebenezer, it must invest in its young. "We can't have church for only seniors and the middle class but for the entire family," Kennedy stated. "We want our young people to be engaged in church in every aspect. It is important that the church empowers our youth to be the next generation of leaders."

Kennedy insist that members must be able to make an impact beyond the four walls of Ebenezer daily as well. Initiatives like onsite resume writing and community outreach to the neighboring Rescue Mission are designed to connect Ebenezer members with others outside of the church. Ronald J. Taylor of Macon is the Vice Chairman of Ebenezer’s Board of Trustees and has been a member since 1985. He considers Kennedy the right man, at the right time for the job. "He can move this church forward because he has a vision. We needed someone with Reverend Parker's drive and ingenuity. We are doing well under his guidance," Taylor said. "Mother" Luvenia Saddler of Macon has attended Ebenezer for over thirty years. She is very pleased with Kennedy. "I believe he is a man of God that possesses the Holy Spirit," she stated. "He has been an inspiration to us."

In order to stay the course, Kennedy has Ebenezer scheduled to host three summertime events. July 10-12 a youth revival will take place followed by Vacation Bible School June 17-19. Auxiliary Training will take place in August. "We have to train our people. But it must be done in a systematic way that is attainable and measurable," Kennedy says. "We must be the church that bridges the gap between pulpit and pew. Our message must be relevant and inspired to reach all generations."

Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church is located at 777 Elm Street in Macon. To learn more about it and its pastor call 478-742-0575 or visit its web site www.ebenezerbaptistchurch-macon.com.

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P.O. Box 446, Macon, • GA 31202 * Ofc:  478-745-7265 * Email: gainformer@yahoo.com

 

Rev. Henry Dwight Kennedy