Our History


In 1898, before the church was given its current name, a Company of Believers travelled door to door studying the Three Angels’ Messages. From their evangelistic efforts, Sis. Gracie Hunter-Reno and her mother, Sis. Mamie Hicks, Sis. Miller, Sis. Mary Butler and eight others were baptized by Pastor Leroy Christler. Sister Butler, a public school teacher in Palatka and a volunteer Bible Worker in Jacksonville continued the outreach program, and in 1904, through her efforts, Brother and Sister T.J Mitchell, Sister Haslem and several others joined the Company. Later on, Elders Ivory, Whetsel and Manns, residents of Hawthorne, Florida traveled to Jacksonville and joined the soul winning efforts. As the efforts increased, ministers were later dispatched to nurture the new believers.

The new believers met in homes and tents until they relocated to the Old Odd Fellowship Hall on State Street. Later on, Elder M.C. Strachan was placed in charge of the evangelistic efforts in Florida. During his tenure, many souls were added to the church, these included Joseph and Annie Singleton, the parents of Mercedes Harris and Elder Harold D. Singleton.

The name Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church was chosen in 1907 by the late Isaac Robinson Palmer, a local layman of the church, in a rented Secret Service Lodge hall on Union Street where meetings were held on Sabbath mornings. In the same year, the conference sent Elder Floyd Stevens to serve as the first pastor and the first structure was erected on Fifth and Johnson Streets.

In 1917, a revival was held. Later in the year, a tent effort was also held on the corner of Jesse and Van Buren Streets. At the close of the meetings more members were baptized and added to the church. The church grew rapidly. Brothers Jevan E. Anderson, J. P. Pegues and Isaac R. Palmer with help and contribution from others, constructed a brick structure where members worshipped until the membership outgrew the structure in 1966.

In August 1965, Elder R. B. Hairston, Sr. came to Jacksonville. In July of the following year, he conducted a very successful series of tent meetings on Sixth and Grunthal Streets during which approximately seventy precious souls were baptized. The increase in membership brought with it the problem of seating the congregation. To solve this problem, services were conducted in the auditorium of the church school on West Edgewood Avenue. Realizing the need for a larger church, a building fund campaign was started.

In July 1967, another series of evangelistic meetings were held on Davis Street near Kings Road. At the close of the meetings nearly forty believers were baptized. With yet another increase in membership, the seating problem became more severe. To alleviate the capacity concerns the church faced, additional property was purchased on Edgewood Avenue adjoining the present church location. Groundbreaking ceremonies w ere held May 11, 1969 and by Sabbath, April 18, 1970, members were able to move into a new church. This marked the beginning of activity at the new Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church.