Tabernacle extended a call to The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Hamlin and he became pastor of Tabernacle January 2004. Since coming to Tabernacle, these ministries were initiated, including: Deacon Ward Ministry; Sister-to-Sister Teen Ministry; Boys-to-Men/Men’s Ministry; Firehouse Shelter Outreach Mission; and Project Ghana, a mission project based in Winneba and Accra, Ghana, West Africa. Also, the congregation, in partnership with five other churches from Smithfield and College Hills, is partnering with Jefferson County Meals-on-Wheels to distribute food to persons in need in these two communities. These congregations (First Congregational UCC, Greater Temple Baptist Church, Our Lady Queen of the Universe Catholic Church, St. Paul AME Church, and Thirgood Memorial CME Church) continue to be involved in this ongoing project and was recently documented and their partnership was published via the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health.
The church, in partnership with the New Baptist Covenant of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, developed an initiative with two additional congregations that focus on community-based service opportunities. Inaugurated by President Jimmy Carter, Tabernacle is providing food for students and families at a local elementary school. The Weekend Backpack Project is supplying food for twenty-five students/families on weekends that may not have nutrition when students are not in school. Tabernacle’s partnership also involves volunteering at the Community Food Bank to pack food for this project. We are collaborating Baptist Church of the Covenant and Vestavia Hills Baptist Church.
The Music Ministry participated in key community events, including: City Stages on the Oasis Stage and singing for the premiere of the Broadway hit, The Lion King at the BJCC. The choir has provided music for visiting groups to the City of Birmingham on behalf of the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Since Pastor Hamlin’s tenure, the congregation replaced HVAC system that serves the Sanctuary and educational wing of the facility and a new bus was added to the transportation ministry. In addition, the church purchased two properties on Abraham Lincoln Woods Blvd. The church computers are now networked, church management programs have been added to ensure better record keeping and management, and a computer lab is housed in the Sommerville Library. A website has been developed: www.tabernaclebirmingham.org. We are using social media, Facebook and Youtube, as a means of sharing our ministry to a wider audience.
In 2015, the congregation affirmed moving forward in a Capital Campaign to renovate our facilities. A Strategic Facility Study was done by a committee of members and a construction company has been selected that will lead and manage the congregation in the process of making strategic modifications. This work will commence in 2016.
In recent years, the Rev. Gregory Powell was ordained to the Gospel Ministry; eight Deacons (Larry Cooper; Jermaine Fuller; Ledell Kimbrough; Ronald Lee, Sr.; Reginald Reeves; Paul Simmons, II; Tommie Whetstone; and Joseph Williams) were ordained to ministry; Bro. Hollis Johnson became Director of Music Ministry; Angela Smith-Martin became the Church Secretary/Office Manager. Dea. Carl Harper was affirmed by the congregation to become the Church Clerk.
Legally, the congregation took the step of separating the church from Tabernacle Christian School. Articles of Incorporation were developed for both entities.
In 2016, Pastor Hamlin and the congregation were awarded the prestigious Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Grant. The grant will afford the pastor a three-month sabbatical to explore the theme of family heritage. The congregation will benefit by being able programmatically to incorporate the same theme in expanding ministry opportunities. This grant was awarded to 147 congregations throughout the United States.
The church continues to experience moderate, consistent growth and ongoing ministries and mission work are making a difference in the community.
Our Mission Statement is: Tabernacle Baptist Church is a group of committed Christians seeking to grow the kingdom of God by worshiping, teaching, witnessing, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and caring for all God’s people.