TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH
Born on August 15, 1907 in a tent on First Street with 28 charter members and T.W. Callaway as pastor, many exciting changes have taken place over the years, both in locations and in ministries.
From the tent, Tabernacle relocated to City Hall Auditorium for several months. In 1908 the church moved into a wooden structure in the 600 block of Second Street. In early 1917, the church moved to Second and Arch Streets where a Sunday School building and temporary sanctuary were added.
Dr. A.C. Baker oversaw the construction of the auditorium in 1927. On May 3, 1953, ground breaking was held for construction of a new educational building.
Construction of the Activities Building began September 18, 1977. These facilities were renovated several times. In 2002, Tabernacle sensed God calling us to leave downtown. Services were held at the AmStar theatre for 18 months while the new building at 6611 Zebulon Road was being built. Tabernacle moved into the present location in 2004.
Ministries at Tabernacle have also changed with the times. In November 1937, Tabernacle opened a soup kitchen in which 386,000 free meals were served. A day camp program began at Tabernacle Lake in 1964 and continued ministering to children for nearly 50 years. The Montpelier Station Arts and Crafts Festival was held for 18 years and was a much-loved event to many in our community. A “Special Children’s Day” was held each year for handicapped children with the last event being held in 2019. The church lake was finally sold in 2020, and the church celebrated being debt-free that fall!
Missions is a strong emphasis at Tabernacle. Miss Pearl Bigler was sent by our church as a missionary to Brazil and served for 43 years. In 1964, James and Frances Hawkins joined Miss Bigler in Brazil as missionaries. Today, the Hawkins’ daughter, Heather Rehn, and her family serve as missionaries in West Africa.
As you can see, Tabernacle Baptist Church is rich in its history of growth–both physical and spiritual–changing with the times to minister to the needs of the community around her.