Rev. Preston E. Thompson, Jr. is the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Englewood, NJ. Rev. Thompson accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior at the age of nine and began serving God at a young age. A native of New Jersey, Rev. Thompson received most of his formal education in the Teaneck Public School System. Upon graduation from high school, Rev. Thompson matriculated to the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Basis of Behavior. In 2005, Rev. Thompson received a Masters of Science in Elementary Education from St. Joseph University as well as a Masters of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary of hiladelphia with honors.
In 1992, Rev. Thompson became one of the founding members of The Baptist Worship Center Church under the leadership of Bishop Millicent Hunter. In 1994, Rev. Thompson yielded to God’s call upon his life and on June 25, 1995, he was licensed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After serving in ministry for almost two decades, Rev. Thompson was ordained to the Gospel ministry on June 6, 2010. Rev. Thompson served faithfully in several ministries including: Instructor of the Bible Institute, Church council, Armor bearer’s Ministry, Worship Arts Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Associate Pastor of the New Members Ministry and Christian Education Ministry.
Recognized for his community service, Rev. Thompson received the 2008 Educational Leadership Award from the Urban Education Fund and the 2008 “Men Making A Difference” Award from the American Cities Foundation. Believing that God calls His people to fight for social justice, Pastor Thompson served as a member of POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild), and the Men’s Ministry Steering Committee of the Philadelphia Baptist Association. God has truly blessed Rev. Thompson during his 20+ years of ministry and has opened the doors for him to minister in various places within and outside of the United States. During the summer of 2004, Rev. Thompson was privileged to travel with Bishop Hunter to minister in Cape Town, South Africa. Having the opportunity to travel to Africa was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
Rev. Thompson is a man who loves the Lord and desires to live a life that is pleasing to God. One of his favorite passages of Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 where it says, “for I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Rev. Thompson endeavors to accomplish every plan that God has for him so that God may be glorified through his life.
In the year of 1912, twenty-five faithful believers were given the vision to extend God's ministry to the community. These faithful souls came together to lay down the foundation of the Ebenezer Baptist fellowship. Through their commitment and diligence, they were incorporated as the Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1913. The church began to thrive under the leadership of Rev. Samuel Lightfoot, the first Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. D Despite some early growing pains, the church experienced steady and blessed growth. With the direction of the Holy Spirit leading Rev. Lightfoot and this new energetic congregation, they focused the efforts of the church on membership organization and the development of church Baptist Conference. Rev. Samuel Lightfoot was cherished and revered as a respected leader and visionary to the people of God and he was well-loved until he was laid to eternal rest in 1931.
Following the pastorate of Rev. Lightfoot, Rev. W. B. Booker was called to serve the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Under the leadership of Rev. Booker, Ebenezer continued to grow spiritually and organizationally. Through Rev. Booker's vision, many of the auxiliaries and clubs were founded and the church building's interior was redesigned and updated. The Educational Baptist Training Union was reactivated, along with the new affiliation with the North Jersey Missionary Baptist Association (NJMBA). Rev. Booker was extremely active in the community and actively involved in the work of the association, including the National and New England Baptist Convention and the New York Baptist Training Union. It was under his leadership that the seeds were planted for the improvements to the old sanctuary. Rev. Booker was called home to be with the Lord in 1955, and he is remembered for his dedication to advancing God's kingdom in Ebenezer's history.
In October 1956, the Rev. Clarence E. Richardson was called and accepted the pastorate of the Ebenezer church. With Rev. Richardson’s vision and insight, the youth of Ebenezer began to flourish. With the help of Mrs. Richardson, the Junior Usher Board, Junior Choir, Intermediate Choir and the Sunbeam/Junior Red Circle Choirs were established. Rev. Richardson led the leadership training institute for participation in church activities. Holy week services were initiated to the yearly calendar and Rev. Richardson led the way to plan and build the current worship center at 216 Fourth Street in Englewood, New Jersey. Under his administration, Rev. Richardson continued to shape the lives of the Ebenezer church family and the community. With his divine direction, Ebenezer was active in issues of the local community, country, and state. He believed in working hard to the service of the Lord and the memories of his time at Ebenezer are fond and warm-hearted. Rev. and Mrs. Richardson shared a wonderful relationship between pastor and people until his retirement in 1972.
After the retirement of Rev. Richardson, the call of the pastorate was extended to Rev. William Holt Hargrave and a relationship between Pastor and people began. Rev. Hargrave was an active and recognized voice in the Englewood community. Upon Rev. Hargrave's arrival, he increased the efficiency of the church's structure. The congregation continued to thrive with its caring and community spirit. Under Rev. Hargrave's pastorate, the mortgage for the new church was burned ahead of schedule and office space was enlarged and updated. The church also purchased a new organ and a baby grand piano. In addition to internal upkeep of the facility, the church began its newest building project and the planning and construction of an elevator with access to the fellowship hall and sanctuary. Rev. Hargrave, along with his wife, Lucille, shared the love and admiration of the Ebenezer family. They were looked upon graciously by the church and were sadden to accept the resignation of Rev. Hargrave in January, 2000.
It was in the fall of 2001 when the Rev. William Marcus Small accepted the call to be the fifth Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the church experienced tremendous growth as a host of young families joined the church. Also, under his leadership the church instituted a Summer Enrichment Program, an additional Sunday Worship Service, the Nehemiah Project and a multitude of other ministries. Truly, Rev. Small was a breath of fresh air for the church and loved by many. Sadly, in 2009, Rev. Small resigned as Pastor of Ebenezer. As part of the transition, the Ebenezer members elected Reverend Granville Seward to serve as their Interim Pastor.
After much consideration, in October of 2011, the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Englewood elected its 6th pastor, the Reverend Jovan T. Davis, M.Div of Passaic, New Jersey. Pastor Davis continues to provide significant leadership to the church. The church as experienced tremendous growth physically, spiritually and financially. Truly, Pastor Davis is a new generation preacher committed to proclaiming truth to multicultural community of believers and non-believers. Sadly, in 2015, Reverend Jovan T. Davis resigned as Pastor of Ebenezer.