CertMags stops by Ebenezer Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Posted on
January 16, 2023
On Martin Luther King Jr., we honor the church where he served as co-pastor with his father.

Today is a holiday in the United States that honors Martin Luther King Jr., the pastor and civil rights leader who dedicated his adult life to ending racial inequality. Dr. King focused his work on the racial divide in the United States, but his wise words have universal application. You don’t have to be an American to appreciate the profound wisdom of a statement like, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Martin Luther King Jr. died April 4, 1968 at the tragically young age of 39, shot by an assassin at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. The federal holiday that commemorates his life and legacy was created during President Ronald Reagan’s first term in office and formally assigned to the third Monday in January in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush.

As we do on most holidays, we’ve prepared a thematically appropriate quiz. Past Martin Luther King Jr. Day quizzes have focused on Dr. King himself, as well as one such key associates a his wife, Coretta Scott King, and 17-term congressman John Lewis. Today, we're exploring the history and cultural significance of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the landmark edifice and congregation in Atlanta where King served as co-pastor with his father, Martin Luther King Sr., from 1960 until his death.

NOTE: To view last year’s quiz, click here.

1) What year was Ebenezer Baptist Church organized?

2) Who was the first pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church?

3) Who was the second pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church?

4) Who designed the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church sanctuary on Auburn Avenue?

5) To date, who is the longest-serving pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church?

6) What famous sermon given by Martin Luther King Jr. from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church almost literally presaged his death?

7) Who was the first U.S. president to deliver a Sunday sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church?

8) Ebenezer Baptist Church is on the grounds of what U.S. national park?

9) Where is the newest Ebenezer Baptist Church sanctuary?

10) Who is the current pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church?


On Martin Luther King Jr., we honor the church where he served as co-pastor with his father.

1) 1886. The church was founded by thirteen individuals. The name of the church comes from the Biblical account of a war between the Israelites and Philistines. The prophet Samuel raised a monument called "eben-ezer," or "stone of help," at the site of a key victory.

2) John Andrew Parker. Parker, a former slave, organized the tiny congregation and led it until his death in 1894, at which time there were just 13 members.

3) Adam Daniel Williams. An energetic leader and powerful preacher, Williams steadily increased the size of the Ebenezer congregation, reaching 750 members by the time of his death in 1913. Leadership of the church passed to the husband of Williams' daughter, Alberta, a young man named Martin Luther King Sr.

4) Wallace Rayfield. A pioneering architect and associate of Booker T. Washington, Rayfield, who was black, created the design for the Auburn church sanctuary in 1914. The building was completed in 1922.

5) Martin Luther King Sr. The church's third pastor, King Sr. led the Ebenezer congregation for 44 years, from 1931 to 1975. Beginning in 1960, he was assisted by a succession of three co-pastors, the first of which was his son, Martin Luther King Jr., from 1960 to 1968.

6) "The Drum Major Instinct." In a a sermon about irrelevancy of desiring to be foremost among the followers of Christ — as exemplified in the New Testament by James and John, who asked Jesus if they could sit at his right hand in heaven — King Jr. envisioned his own funeral. The sermon, delivered Feb. 4, 1968, preceded his assassination by exactly two months.

7) President Joseph R. Biden. A number of Biden's presidential predecessors have spoken at Ebenezer — including still living past presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter — but Biden became the first to deliver a Sunday sermon on Jan. 15, 2023. (That's right, it was yesterday.)

8) Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park. The park, established in 2018, includes several sites in Atlanta, Ga., connected to King's life and ministry.

9) The Horizon Sanctuary, completed in 1999 during the pastoral tenure of Joseph L. Roberts Jr., is located directly across the street from the historic Auburn Avenue location.

10) Raphael Warnock, who is also the incumbent junior United States Senator from Georgia, has served as pastor of the Ebenezer congregation since 2005.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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