Tabernacle Baptist Church cherishes her past, is working hard in the present, and is dreaming new dreams for the future. The congregation and staff are working together to make a difference in the neighborhood and city where God has placed us. Denominational and local ecumenical leaders have described us as a re-emerging downtown church brimming with creative energy and a heart for those in need. We tend to view ourselves as, “the little church that could.”
Tabernacle has a rich history that spans three centuries. Its history includes large numerical growth in the early part of the twentieth century, followed by a period of decline as people left the city for the suburbs. Nearly thirty-five years ago, Tabernacle made a conscious decision to remain in the city. It was a decision that some questioned, particularly since the Fan District, where the church is located, was in a period of decline. However, the church stayed and remained actively engaged in ministry in the heart of the city.
Today, we are experiencing a renaissance. There is a feeling of optimism in the community and among our church family as many people are moving back into our neighborhood. God has blessed us immeasurably through each chapter of our existence and the revival we are experiencing is nothing short of miraculous. A vital component of our recent history dates back to October of 2007 when two Burmese Refugee families came in through our doors. Today, almost one third of us are Chin, Karen, Kachin, Lasu, and Karenni Refugees. Words cannot begin to express the transformation that has taken place in the last two and a half years of life and ministry at Tabernacle.
We are a diverse lot. Almost half of us have walked with the church through decades of ministry in Richmond. Others have only been here for a few years while almost a quarter of us have only come in the last year and a half. As a teaching and equipping congregation, we are conscious in our efforts to embrace those that come into the doors of the church and every bit as conscious to send them out, affirming God’s call to share Christ’s love in the world. We celebrate in having multiple family members serving in ministerial positions in churches and non-profits all over the United States and around the world. The common thread that binds us is one of calling.
We would welcome you to join us in ministry and mission in our neighborhood, city, and world.Come, join us at Tabernacle Baptist Church. See what a difference committed Christians can make.
Paying Attention: What is God doing at Tabernacle Baptist Church
Refugee Resettlement Ministry
We have received $25,000 from CBF (It’s Time Grant) primarily to support this ministry.
We are providing tutoring and choir at Colonial apartments on Thursday afternoons.
We are providing tutoring at Tabernacle on Wednesday afternoons.
We are providing tutoring and other activities at Colonial apartments on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during the summer.
The New Ko Tha Byu/Judson Sunday school class uses scripture study to help adults learn English.
The Micah Initiative has offered to mentor TBC in tutoring and mentoring. The Micah Initiative is a partnership program between churches, synagogues, mosques and other communities of faith in metropolitan Richmond and the Richmond Public Schools for the purpose of supporting the education and the nurture of the children of Richmond.
The Stable Roots team is clarifying its purpose and focus.
We are having conversations with Chamberlayne Baptist Church about ways in which we can partner in this ministry.
Richmond is a refugee resettlement location. The number of refugees will continue to increase.
Through our various tutoring efforts we are interacting with Bhutinese, Iraqi, Somali, Tanzanian, Karen, Burmese, Chin people groups.
Several of our new members have ESL and other language skills.
Kids, particularly high school age, are hungry for tutoring and English skills. Adults are eager to learn English.
Transportation is a critical need – to doctors’ appointments, dentist, and other destinations.
Some of the women are getting jobs and need child care.
Several looms have been provided as part of a micro-finance ministry.
Youth Development Ministry
TBC has a long tradition of mentoring youth.
We have received a $35,000 grant from CBF to support Eric Hasha’s two year residency as Minister of Youth and Young Adults.
We have received an offer of training and one year of coaching in a new model of youth ministry with a focus on mentoring from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Search Institute.
The youth group has grown substantially in the last year.
Food Pantry/Food Co-op
The Food Pantry is recognized throughout the community as a ministry of relationship in addition to being a source of food.
The Food Pantry enables those living on a limited budget to allocate more of their resources to housing, utilities, medical, etc.
We have received $6,000 from VBMB Courageous Churches Grant for an intern to research creating a food co-op. The grant is renewable for one year to develop a plan for the co-op, and one additional year for implementation. The Food Co-op would provide opportunities for food recipients to give back and invest themselves in the ministry.
Tabernacle Child Care Center
We have 25-year history of providing excellent child care in the FAN. We are now looking toward the next 25 years and re-envisioning how we go about child care ministry. The Child Care Committee and TCCC staff are exploring how the concept of “It takes a village to raise a child,” can help shape the TCCC ministry in which TCCC parents and staff, church staff, and church members share their abilities and gifts to raise the children together.
Part of the It’s Time Grant from CBF is designated for research on child care centers that are economically diverse to see how the TCCC might serve children from low-income families.
The Center for Family Community Ministries at Baylor University will be a valuable resource as we work to be more deliberate about blending children and families from various socio-economic backgrounds.
TCCC parents bring diverse skills and resources.
TCCC has employed at least 10 Tabernacle members over the past 25 years. There are currently two (soon to be three) TBC babies in the child care center.