Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist Church History
It all started when...
The first pioneer was Angie Pryor Whitaker. She was baptized in Washington, DC in 1935, and moved to Gastonia in the 1900’s. She shared the truth with Vera Johnson Edwards, who also received the truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. She was baptized in May, 1959 at Berean SDA church in Charlotte, North Carolina. These faithful Literature Evangelists held a branch Sunday School weekly on Pryor street in Gastonia.
Local Elder Robert Bennett and Varnard Mendinghall both members of Berean SDA church in Charlotte, held the first evangelistic meeting for the small group on Windy Hill Drive in Myrtle Hoffman Kindergarten, in the summer of 1972 in Gastonia. Hershel and Doris Crumbly began having weekly Bible Studies and prayer meetings in the homes of all the Adventist in Gastonia.
Janet Floyd Woods was impressed to purchase a house on 2140 West Fifth Street. The house was named the Golden Temple Mission. The Woods’ family and members of the Charlotte Berean church came every Sunday to develop the work. Pastor R.C. Connor dedicated the mission in 1977.
Elder Robert Johnson and family came to the mission in 1979. Willet Johnson and Claudette Thompson then started a school, grades 1-5. There was an enrollment of eight students. Later Elder Johnson and Richard Jones, a local elder from Charlotte Berean, held weekly prayer meetings and Sabbath services. The group also held weekly Sabbath services at Eastridge Mall. The Johnson family served from 1979-1982.
The group increased in number and moved to the Jaycee Building at Clay Street. In 1982, the group was organized into a company during the tenure of President R.B Harriston. The company was named the Ephesus SDA church in Gastonia and Herbert Anderson was assigned as its first pastor.
On May 12, 1983, the Ephesus SDA church sanctuary was dedicated at 2282 Davis Park Rd. Pastor Anderson and his family served the church from 1982-1984.
Al Freeman pastored from 1984- 1989. During his years of service and evangelism another company of believers was organized. The Voice of Hope SDA church was established in Shelby, North Carolina.
Conklin Gentry served as pastor from 1989-1990. An evangelistic effort added new members to the church; among them were Willie and Dorothy Jefferies. Melvin Preston served as pastor from 1991-1994. Elder Robert Bennett, a local elder from Charlotte Berean, served the church from 1992-1993. Stephen Davis served as pastor from 1993-1999.
In 1997 Ephesus Child Development Center opened its doors to the community for service. Many families, vendors and county officials came through those doors and were enlightened with the truth and blessed. An outreach ministry was actively providing after hour car for children when needed, families were supported in medical crisis, and families in financial or domestic distress were referred to other agencies for assistance. Prayer sessions were held. The center accepted troubled children that other centers would not take. These families and children were blessed by God through the care of the center staff. The center also hosted the Revelation Seminar conducted by Pastor Stephen Davis. This experience left a fertile field to be harvested by the Lord.
Kenneth Boswell pastored form 1999-2003. The church was nurtured during his years of service.
On October 2003 Ezra J. Mendinghall Sr. became pastor. Under his leadership on November 22, 2003 the church voted to put the property at 2282 Davis Park Rd. up for sale. January 23, 2004 the SDA conference committee approved the sale of the property.
March 27, 2004 the church voted to purchase land on Titman Rd for a new church sanctuary. April 7, 2004, the church accepted a bid for the sale of the church property with a request for free rental of the building after the sale until December 31, 2005.
June 23, 2004, the church voted to hire the ARC Company as consultant for the church building project. June 27, 2004, Our Mission statement was adopted “Our Vision is to share the gospel with all humanity. We seek to build a loving and nurturing family of saints that will hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ”. On August 3, 2004 a deed for the purchase of the property on Titman Road was received by the church. August 11, 2004 the church voted to accept the sanctuary floor plans.
On November 14, 2004, President Varnard Mendinghall, South Atlantic Conference Officers, Gastonia city officials and Ephesus church members held a ground breaking ceremony on Titman Rd.
Ephesus celebrates their grand opening on November 12, 2005.