|Ebenezer Presbyterian Church - Jessamine Co., Kentucky|
The name Ebenezer is found in words of the traditional hymn penned by Robert Robinson, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (1758):
Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I'm come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.
But a historic church in Jessamine County, Kentucky, also shares the name Ebenezer. Older than Dickens, but more recent than the words of the hymnist is the Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. True to its name, Ebenezer Church was once abandoned and in great disrepair, but a group of individuals in the mid-1900s brought restoration to this old house of God.
|Ebenezer Church & Cemetery|
When Rankin formed Ebenezer, he had already begun a number of other Presbyterian congregations in central Kentucky, including Pisgah and Glenn's Creek in Woodford County and Mount Zion (now First Presbyterian) in Fayette County. His earlier affiliations, however, were with the proper Presbyterian Church. And you will note above that Ebenezer was of the "Associate Reformed Presbyterian" variety.
The distinction is noted for Rankin had been removed from his posts within the Presbyterian church's Transylvania Presbytery in 1792. The following year, Rankin began his ministry with the Associated Reformed church and soon thereafter founded Ebenezer. He would serve at Ebenezer until 1803. Rankin was a disagreeable fellow (in 1789, he rode by horseback from Kentucky to Philadelphia to plead against the use of Isaac Watts' hymns like 'Joy to the World' in services) which undoubtedly led to his rift with the denomination.
|Ebenezer Church, ca. 1898 (15 years after abandonment)|
Photo: History of Jess. Co., by B.H. Young.
|Ebenezer Church, ca. 1910 (27 years after abandonment)|
Photo: Published Sept. 2008 in H-L
|Ebenezer Church, ca. 1940 (57 years after abandonment)|
Photo: Ebenezer Cemetery Assoc.
According to the National Register of Historic Places application (listed in 1983), the Ebenezer Church is the "only surviving stone church in co[unty]; oldest religious structure in co[unty] dating from settlement period." Today, the property is owned by the Ebenezer Cemetery Association. Once a year, the organization meets for its annual meeting in the historic church.
Additional photos of the Ebenezer Church and Cemetery can be found on flickr.
Sources: Bishop Biography; Ebenezer Cemetery Assoc.; NRHP (Ebenezer); NRHP (First Presbyterian);