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Ebenezer United Church 239

Community Milliken Mills
Year Constructed:  1878
Address: 5000 Steeles Avenue East
In the 1840's, Primitive Methodist circuit-riding Ministers preached to settlers located in Milliken's Corners (named after three of the earliest farmers John, James, and Norman Milliken). The first Primitive Methodists met in private homes and later in Brookes' Wagon Shoppe, in Scarborough. These settlers were the founders of the present Ebenezer congregation. Within a few years, the congregation had raised the $300 needed to build a church. In 1852, a frame church was erected on the Thomas Harding farm, on what is now the southeast corner of Brimley and Steeles. The original sign from that structure is on display in our narthex. The congregation flourished and in 1876 a new church was needed. Thomas Harding purchased the present site of Ebenezer United Church for two hundred dollars, and gave it to the trustees in exchange for the return of the lot of the old church. The new church was opened and dedicated on Sunday February 17, 1878. It is recorded that Reverend Boyle's sermon was one hour and forty-five minutes long.

Ebenezer's Board met quarterly at first, and instituted an envelope system and a finance committee by 1910. A temperance and moral reform committee was created during the First World War. In 1925, Ebenezer became part of the newly formed United Church of Canada. During these years, Ebenezer's congregation flourished, to the point of having 70 students in Sunday School. Even though the minister's salary was only $1,800, board minutes of 1931 record that it was five months in arrears.

Services have been held at l0 a.m. since May 1950. The sixties saw booming growth from Metropolitan Toronto, and some Ebenezer families moved away. It was suggested that the church be closed temporarily, but for 10 years only thirty families supported Ebenezer spiritually and financially.

In July 1977, Ebenezer became the base of a new pastoral charge, and because of the planned development nearby a large extension (the present sanctuary) was added in the 1980's.

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