We are a group of people across different age groups who love to get together to learn more about God, to worship Him and to live out the reality of our faith in our day-to-day occupations.
We are part of the Presbyterian Church of Australia
Ebenezer St Johns … an historical snapshot
The Ebenezer Presbyterian Church was born out of the early missionary work of the Presbyterian Church in the gold rush that followed the first “Gold Find” in 1851.
On Sunday 16th February 1857, Rev James Ballantyne of the United Presbyterian Church conducted a temperance mission in Ballarat East. When this mission finished Ralph Gray approached him, with a few friends, who expressed a sincere interest in having a minister settle over them.
In early March, at Mr. Gray’s home, a congregation was constituted and a committee formed to prosecute the purchase of suitable land for a church building and manse. A request was sent to the Board of Foreign Missions of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland for an appropriate minister. Land was purchased in Armstrong Street South and a wooden church built at a cost of £600. This building was officially opened on 7th December 1857. The congregation quickly outgrew this structure and the present bluestone church building was built in 1862. The Sunday School Hall and Classrooms were added in 1892.
From this early start in a rough mining township, the vision, faith and conviction of those few people still resonates through our present congregation.
In 1978 the congregation from St Johns Presbyterian Church merged with the Ebenezer congregation. The subsequent sale of the St Johns building provided funds that allowed for the completion of the “Link Building” that now joins the existing facilities and helps to provide much needed resources for the active congregation.
In almost 160 years of Christian witness the successive congregations at Ebenezer St Johns have seen a great many changes to the City of Ballarat and its surrounds. Ballarat has a population just shy of 100,000 people. Shopping centres, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, successful light industry and other tertiary services have taken the place of tents, shanties and sly-grog shops. While wealth is still being extracted from deeper underground the 21st century Ballarat is now a place of safety and hope for refugees and of prosperity and comfort for its residents wherever they are employed.
Into this cityscape Ebenezer is continuing to provide a witness to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Through acts of service like our EAL ministry to discipleship through Prayer groups and Bible study and to worship that seeks to glorify Christ while encouraging his followers, Ebenezer intends to continue godly ministry – by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
K. Harris, church historian, revised 2014.