1911-1920

 

The mid-week Prayer Service on November 22, 1911, was the last service held in the old wooden building across the street (northeast corner of Grove and Meadow). The following Sunday, November 26, the Bible School and Church gathered at the old building and, led by Rev. Ball, marched across the street into the new brick and stone Bible School House. It was the first building of the proposed new Tabernacle Baptist Church. There were 1,107 present on this historic occasion! Dr. William E. Hatcher, pastor of Grace Street Baptist Church, who had sponsored and guided the Reservoir Mission School, gave the dedicatory sermon. Special services were held every night during the following week with messages from prominent Baptists and educators.

The church continued to grow over the next few years, with Sunday School enrollment exceeding 1,200 in 1915 and church membership at approximately 900.

In commemoration of Tabernacle Baptist Church’s 25th anniversary, a full week of services was held from January 16, 1916 through January 21. Former pastors, as well as some of the most honored religious leaders in the country at that time, participated in this celebration.

The year 1918 ended with more than 1,100 members. The war was over and the Church was without debt. However, the Church was saddened on Sunday, December 29, by Dr. Ball’s announcement of resignation. It was with much regret that his resignation was accepted. Dr. Ball had been a vibrant and dedicated leader, serving Tabernacle Baptist Church for 13 years.

On February 15, 1920 Tabernacle’s Pulpit Committee recommended calling Dr. Aubrey Williams as their new pastor. As a very young man, Dr. Williams had taught in the Reservoir Mission Sunday School. Dr. Williams was installed as the fourth pastor of Tabernacle on April 17, 1920. On that date, Dr. Williams preached the 11:00 am and 8:00 pm worship services and continued services nightly for two weeks. During that short time, 138 new members were added.

Dr. Williams was a popular and respected Christian leader whom the people of Richmond welcomed as pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in 1920. At the time Dr. Williams came to Tabernacle, it was a very active church, including what was known as the largest Men’s Bible Class in Virginia, with well over 500 members.