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Tabernacle Baptist Church History


The history of the Tabernacle Baptist Church enables us to keep alive the yesteryears, to open the gates to its rapidly expanding present and to pave the broad highway leading in Tabernacle’s unlimited future. The 129th Anniversary Celebration is the continuation of a dream born in 1886. Tabernacle, at its inception, began meeting as a Christian family in a small white wooden church on 25th Place, North.

Tabernacle Baptist Timeline

1886 - 1956
1886 – 1912 –The Reverends Sims, Grover and Kenny nurtured the dream with evangelistic zest and sound Baptist Doctrines.

1912-1926 - The Rev. N.H. Washington inspired the construction of a $65,000 sanctuary at 1013 North 25th Street. By 1922, the membership of 400 completed the building and burned the mortgage.

1927-1932 -The Rev. James H.L. Smith extended the building program to construct a parsonage on the church site. 1932 – 1940 - The Reverend E.W. Walton focused on the spiritual revival and unity of the membership.

1940 – 1949 -The Rev. W.L. Varnado burned the mortgage on the parsonage, renovated the basement, restrooms and kitchen; added a rear upstairs wing to the church.

1949 – 1954 -The Rev. William Prince Vaughn purchased an organ with chimes, organized the William Prince Vaughn Chorus, and purchased a mural for the sanctuary.

1955 – 1956 -The Rev. W.B. Coats encouraged growth by affiliating with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. on the national, state, and local levels.

1956 - 2002
1956 – 1963 -The Rev. J.H. Calloway became pastor and the congregation purchased property on Center Street at a cost of $50,000, the location of our current edifice. The Altar Circle was organized for the purpose of beautifying the sanctuary with live flowers 1963 – The Rev. Samuel Kyles was called. Ill health prevented him from assuming duties as pastor.

1964 – 1971 -The Rev. Moses Javis provided leadership of fruition: A parsonage was purchased at 813 Bolin Street, Southwest at a cost of $22,500. In 1968, the present sanctuary was constructed at a cost of $325,000.

1971 – 1975 –The Rev. Henry Wise Jones sustained the spiritual development, initiated the building fund and added a new organ.

1976 – 2002 – The Rev. Edsel M. Davis, Sr., was called as pastor. Under his leadership: Parsonage was enlarged, fellowship hall and kitchen were constructed and the mortgage was liquidated on the sanctuary (renovated seating and carpeting) and on the fellowship hall/family life center Additional property was purchased on First Street West Missionary Ministry was enlarged to include Outreach programs known as the Helping Hand Center that included a food pantry and clothes bank The Golden Agers and Nurses Guild programs were organized Youth Church was organized, updated the kitchen, purchased drums, organ, and piano Mini-van purchased and Bus Ministry was expanded Louis S. Sommerville, Sr. Library was constructed and organized Parking lot was resurfaced and lawn furniture was purchased Tabernacle Christian School was organized Licensed five persons into the Gospel Ministry

2003 – PresentThe Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Hamlin served as Interim Pastor.