“The Quest”

“Negotiations to Contract

Late at night while others slept the move of God in the heart of Bishop Dickerson caused him to ride the streets of the city becoming familiar with land and location. Even while God had Bishop Dickerson searching different locations he heard the voice of God saying - “renew”!

The “Vision” through prayer and faith, caused him to seek the services of a realtor and make onsite visits to churches located on the streets of Columbus and its greater Metropolitan area including: Napoleon Avenue Church of Christ, Grace United Church of Christ, Karl Road Disciples of Christ, Eastview United Methodist Church, Brookwood Presbyterian Church, Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Whitehall Church of Nazarene, Ascension Lutheran Church, Karl Road United Church of Christ, Karl Road Baptist Church, Grove City Baptist Church, Faith Lutheran Church along with many others.

While none of these Churches were even listed for sale at that time, Bishop Dickerson continued to follow the move of God and realized that he must get the approval and release of the Ebenezer family to continue. Consequently following God’s plan Bishop Dickerson petitioned the Ebenezer saints for release in securing a worship facility that would be to their pleasure. With acclamation, consent was granted and the Ebenezer family under the guiding hand of our Bishop moved forward. Those Elders serving this monumental effort were Reverend Mister Clinnard Gammon, Deacon Duane Ebron, Deacon Eugene Seward, Deacon John Watkins, Deacon Dale Gwynn, Deacon Charles Evans, Deacon John Combs, and Chairman Otis Thomas now deceased.

After the leadership toured several locations with Bishop Dickerson during late summer and early fall of 2004 a realtor was formally engaged. Shortly thereafter a letter was penned to the Pastor of Grace United Church of Christ authorizing our realtor to submit an offer for consideration of purchase. After a brief round of negotiations and offers Bishop Dickerson and the Pastor of Grace United Church ultimately ended their relationship friendly but without an agreement.

Continuing to comb the streets and visiting various facilities Bishop Dickerson one day noticed a Church he had passed many times but he had somehow overlooked, Grace Evangelical Lutheran located at 4500 Refugee Road. On that day God spoke to Bishop Dickerson and told him to walk over the territory and again being an obedient servant he walked the more than six-acre grounds. Later he approached the Pastor, Carl Rayburn, and on three different occasions asked if he was interested in selling. The Pastor replied that he would explore the possibility; but Bishop Dickerson undaunted by any hesitation moved forward and scheduled a full walk through for the Ebenezer Eldership.

Pastor Rayburn then advised Bishop that his congregation had agreed to list the Church for sale - not to “Ebenezer” - but to the general public. With congregational consensus Bishop Dickerson entered into negotiation conversation with Pastor Rayburn and his team including other congregants.

Soon the first of many contractual offers were jockeyed back and forth between “Grace”, “Ebenezer” and each of their realtors. Conversations, mailings, faxes, emails as simple as setting dates and as detailed as counting pews were shifted back and forth with short-term deadlines. Each day Bishop Dickerson was involved with another step. When it appeared as though an agreement might be close the devil got busy and others began to look at the building and negotiations and offers between “Grace” and “Ebenezer” were suspended again and again and ultimately there was a screeching halt when Bishop Dickerson was advised that “Grace” had entered into a signed contract with another congregation. This congregation in serious pursuit had even gone into 4500 Refugee Road and held a worship experience and at that time it appeared to “Ebenezer” that all was lost.

Bishop Dickerson in his journey of faith did not become discouraged but in fact initiated the compilation of a formal business plan for submission to local banks who might consider financing a purchase. Realizing that he must not only reach a contractual understanding regarding the purchase of 4500 Refugee Road he also recognized the necessity to sell 920 E. Fulton Street.

With the vision in sight he moved forward and submitted the business plan to four different banks and three of them declining financing. Only one bank indicated any interest in our purchase.

After marshaling the pioneer financial contribution efforts of Deacon John Combs, Sister Dorothy Wilson, Mother Ella Harris, Sister Elizabeth Ferguson, Brother Lamon Booker, Sister Kathy Carter, Sister Cheryl Jackson, Sister Deborah P. Lyons, Sister Elaine Mack and last but not least Mr. Roscoe Hubbard, now deceased, Bishop Dickerson rounded out the treasury of “Ebenezer Baptist Church”. It goes without saying Mother Louise Dickerson’s contribution was a sizeable proportion to ensure credit worthiness with our remaining bank.