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The Ebenezer Baptist Church was founded in 1866 after the Mount Olivet Baptist Church adopted a resolution resulting in the black members being dismissed from the church. Rev. Walker Quarles, Rev. Slow, and Rev. E. J. Smith, conducted worship services until Rev. John Clarke was appointed as the first permanent pastor.
Rev. Clarke appointed the first church officers and was succeeded by interim Pastors, Reverends Abraham Smith, William Butler and Ezekiel Coleman.
In 1955, Rev. D. J. Ragland was installed. Rev. Ragland served for 21 years. Under his guidance a new organ was purchased, two more choirs were formed, various clubs were organized, a building fund program was established, five deacons and one trustee were ordained, an Easter Cantata Record was cut, the church celebrated its Centennial, a souvenir book was published and, the current edifice was built. Rev. Ragland resigned in 1976.
In 1977, the current pastor, the Rev., Dr. John W. Kinney was called. Pastor Kinney left in 1979 and during that time, Rev. Bobby Gattison was elected as Pastor Supply. In 1981, Rev. Kinney again agreed to become Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The church’s accomplishments under the leadership of Rev. Kinney over the last thirty-nine plus years are too numerous to list.
It is Pastor Kinney’s philosophy that “Children are not our church of tomorrow, but our church of today”, and given this philosophy the church has developed several programs geared to our young people.
Rev. Dr. John W. Kinney
Rev. Dr. John Kinney has devoted himself to the pursuit of excellence in theological training and ministerial preparation and has distinguished himself as a systematic theologian, academician and administrator in a career that spans more than 40 years. This includes 27 years of service to Virginia Union University as Dean of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology and Senior Vice President of the university.
He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Marshall University (Huntington, West Virginia) and Virginia Union University (Richmond, Virginia) respectively. He was awarded the Ph.D. from Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary (New York). He has also shared in instruction at Chicago Theology Seminary (Chicago, Illinois); Randolph Macon College (Ashland, Virginia); Union Theological Seminary (Richmond, Virginia); and the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia).
Dr. Kinney has lectured extensively across the breadth of this nation and in Africa. He has been a featured lecturer at numerous universities and colleges, including Yale University, Duke University, Michigan State University, Howard University, Southern Methodist University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Richmond. He has also presented at numerous theological schools, including Iliff School of Theology, Bangor Theological Seminary, Shaw Divinity School, Hood Theological Seminary, The Baptist Theological Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, and many others. He is recognized for his theological constructions addressing the designed harmony in creation and the subsequent fragmentation and separation with particular attention to racism, sexism, and materialism. His thoughts are included in several publications and crystallized in an article entitled The Theology of Fallenness: The Roots of Racism.
Dr. Kinney’s commitment to the needs of the community at large is apparent by his avid participation in several professional societies and organizations. Dr. Kinney has served as a consultant to the American Baptist Convention, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the Baptist General Convention of Virginia and the United States Air Force, Army and Navy Chaplain Corps. He has been a member of the American Society of Church History, the American Academy of Religion, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. He has served the larger community of theological educators through multiple leadership roles in the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Dr. Kinney chaired the committee on Race and Ethnicity from 1998 to 2000. He served as a member on the Commission on Accrediting from 2000 to 2006 and actively continued as Commission Chair (2004–2006), Vice President (2006-2008), President (2008-2010) and Personnel Committee Chair (2010–2012). His service to academia is complimented by his service to the parish. Dr. Kinney has served as the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Beaverdam, Virginia, for more than 41 years where his vision and spiritual guidance have resulted in a growing ministry within the church and community.
Dr. Kinney and his wife, Quentina, have three birth children, Earl (Sonja), Erika, Erron (Julie), 19 grandchildren, one god son Marquis Derricott, four God-sent sons (Nathan Jarvis, Daninelle Derricott, Ricky Wilkerson, and Press Rhodes) and one daughter ( Traci Winston) along with their families.
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