Ebenezer Gospel Assembly History


The very name Ebenezer (Stone of Help) signifies the hand of God in the establishment of this ministry. The history of Ebenezer Gospel Assembly began in 1964. The ministry has its origin in Stamford Connecticut. Pastor Edgar Lashley had a vision of a church, for a while he and a good friend, Rev. James Ferguson, searched for the church but none fit the vision he saw.

During a time of setbacks and disappointments, a voice spoke to Pastor Lashley saying Bridgeport. He thought it was odd because he had left Bridgeport, but in obedience to the voice the search for the church in the vision began again.

A church was found but it, too, was not quite what he saw in the vision. While contemplating his next move, the late Deacon David Johnson came by and informed Pastor Lashley there was another church down the street for sale. When they arrived Pastor Lashley knew right away this was the church in his vision.

After finding out who the sellers were, Pastor Lashley went to inquire about purchasing the church. As he was going in the church, a potential buyer was coming out of the church. Pastor Lashley was informed that if the first buyer could not get a mortgage in forty days he would be next in line. On the fourth Sunday of January 1965, the Late Bishop Roderick Caesar dedicated Ebenezer Gospel Assembly to God.

From its beginning EGA was under the divine order of God. There were only four members of the church at that time and they had accumulated only a limited amount of funds. But because God is a stone of help to all that trust him, he positioned people to assist the young pastor in financing the purchase.

God even made a way that the funds the few members had in the bank was just the amount to purchase the furnishing for the church. Pastor Lashley could confidently say "hitherto hath the Lord helped us".

EGA was built on the faith of a Mighty God who has proven to be help in the time of need.

Pastor Lashley, with the help of prayer warriors like the late Sister Catlin and the late Sister Smith and the hard work of the Late Elder Herman Jeffries, the late Deacon David Johnson and Deacon Cleveland Hairston, prepared the church for opening.

The names of those who assisted in the building of this work are too numerous to name but the charter members of Ebenezer Gospel Assembly were the late Evang. Hilda Smith, the late Amy Smith and the late Sister Augusta Catlin.

As the church was moving forward, God was raising up men and women who had a heart for souls and a love for his work.

Elder Herman Jeffries, who was the Assistant Pastor, had a love for young people and would go and compel parents to allow their children to come and worship with EGA.

The Youth choir was known for singing under the anointing of God and the power of God would be so awesome that the spirit of God would just take over the service.

As a result, many of those young people are now leaders in the church today. Not only were the children drawn but, some of the parents were so impressed by the love of this church they, too, ended up becoming a part of the EGA family.

The history of EGA is one of love for God and a love for souls. Reverend Lashley's love for the Word of God and desire to share it brought about the establishment of an Extension School of the Bethel Bible Institute now the Foundation Bible Institute.

Through this school many pastors and leaders in Bridgeport were trained in how to rightly divide the word of truth. Ebenezer has always had a heart for missions. Mother Lashley has instilled in the children, starting in Sunday School, to put aside something towards the mission’s projects.

Mother Lashley was very active in the movement of the church; she is a shining example of what God calls a virtuous woman. EGA's involvement with missions extended not only home but into foreign lands as well.

Our mandate is to go to the dying world with a living message that there is hope. As time went on God began raising up future leaders in the church: Deacon Thomas Hayes who is now Reverend Hayes our current pastor, Reverend Larry Norris, Deacon Ruben Lashley, Deacon Ruben Cruz, Deacon Ernest Jackson, the late Deacon James McQuiller, Deacon Ivor Wallace, Sr.

Under Dr. Lashley's direction and with the help of God, EGA has had many renovations. More space has been needed due to growth in numbers and a need for more space for ministry.

One fall evening during a FBI school session in 1991, Rev. Lashley was struck with a headache. He was hospitalized and underwent serious brain surgery at Yale Hospital.

The doctors said he would not be able to function normally again, no more preaching, no more teaching, no more worshipping, but the church prayed and God said something different.

Doctor Lashley is known as the miracle man. Dr. Lashley retired to his native land of Barbados where the Lord has given him new strength and zeal to assist with establishing another Bible School and to be a help to a local pastor there.

In 1995 Reverend Thomas W. Hayes was installed as pastor, the transition was slow but steady. Pastor Hayes had followed Dr. Lashley close enough to know and see the ability of God to move.

So with confidence in a Mighty GOD, he has continued the mandate of Ebenezer Gospel Assembly to be a Stone of Help. Many of the older saints have gone on to Glory; some have left due to relocation to other parts of the country. However, God who is faithful has raised and is raising up helpers for the ministry.

Many faithful saints stand with the man of God to move the work forward as he did under Dr. Lashley. Some of the children are fourth generation families whose roots remain at Ebenezer.

God is moving Pastor Hayes to take the church to another level that was established by our Founder, Dr. Lashley.

Outreach Ministries are springing up to take the good news to those who cannot come to the church: Nursing Home Evangelism, Prison Ministry, and Street Evangelism.

In House Ministries that build up the body of Christ are rising up as well: Scholarship, Singles Ministry, Internet Ministry, Book Club, Drama Ministry Inspirational Arts, and Communications Ministry.

The Sunday School continues to bring Missions to the heart of the children with shoe-box Evangelism, Samaritan Purse, and Vacation Bible School. Pastor Hayes is moving the church to taking an even greater role in ministry, to the forgotten, rejected and abandoned. Those affected by child abuse and the epidemic of Aids.

Pastor Hayes is the Chairman of the Board for the Refocus Ministry, a ministry for women bound by drugs and alcohol. His heart is for those who Jesus called the "least of these my brethren". He is the President for the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God Eastern District.

Everyone who meets Pastor Hayes immediately notices his humility and love for God. Those who meet First Lady Hayes always remember her love for people evident by her genuine, loving, big hug.

The church is adding ministries and growing more toward the operation of the five fold Ministry: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher (Eph 4:11). There is an air of excitement in the church, the Spirit of God is moving in a greater anointing.

Many ministries have come forth from that little green church that sits at the four corners of Bunnell and Deacon Streets. God has called us to be a lighthouse and a lifeline to those that are lost and distressed.

Our future is to build a multi-purpose deliverance center where all who need help can come and find grace and help in a time of need under one door.

We are a Stone of Help and Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone.