Native Africans Find Community In Local Columbus Church

November 3, 2000

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On November 3, 2000, The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Ebenezer United Methodist Fellowship, a church that caters to native Africans in central Ohio, is known for its sense of community. Members say they can rely on each other for support during trying times. The congregation, which formed in March, is "trying to meet both the spiritual and secular needs of African immigrants," according to David Orgen, board chairman. Last summer, the congregation moved from Orgen's home to the basement of Linden United Methodist Church. Rev. Rebecca Gifford-Mitchell of Linden said that "her church considers it a privilege to foster the African congregation and hopes eventually to work with it on community projects." Most of Ebenezer's members are from Ghana but doors are open to all native Africans. Currently Rev. Richard A. Dunbar, senior pastor at Centenary United Methodist Church, serves as Ebenezer's pastor. Orgen said that the church is "trying to serve people who might have been separated by class and economics in their homeland." Maintaining a Methodist identity is important to many congregation members, but cultural differences made it difficult for them to fit into American Methodist churches. The congregation hopes to eventually have a native African pastor, and Dunbar hopes that Centenary will maintain ties with the Ebenezer congregation after that point.