1921-1930

 

As the membership continued to grow, it became increasingly essential that the new sanctuary be completed. The original design for the Main Sanctuary was a Gothic Revival structure. On January 14, 1921, the Building Committee recommended and the congregation agreed to a more austere Greek Revival design at a somewhat lesser cost. Construction began the latter part of 1921.

During construction of the new sanctuary, the church continued to prosper. When the Main Sanctuary was completed and dedicated on March 18, 1923, the membership had grown to 1,600 active members. Three services were held that day with Dr. Aubrey Williams speaking at 11:00 a.m.; Dr. Len Broughton, pastor of Grove Avenue Baptist Church, spoke at 3:00 p.m.; and Dr. William Ball, former pastor, conducted the 8:00 p.m. service.

In May 1925, the Tabernacle Sunday School celebrated its 38th anniversary. For many years on the anniversary Sundays, all would gather on the Grove Avenue portico for a photo and then parade down Grove Avenue to Lombardy.

In January 1928, the sum of $8,000 remained on the Tabernacle Baptist Church’s mortgage; and on April 8, 1928, a free-will offering was taken at the morning worship service for the purpose of making the church debt free. The full amount was collected, plus an additional $1,500; and on April 10, 1928, the last note on the church was paid. The following Sunday, April 15, a Program of Burning of Bonds and a celebration of the eighth anniversary of Dr. Williams’ pastorate was held. All notes of indebtedness of the church were burned. Tabernacle Baptist Church had the largest membership of any Baptist church in the city with an enrollment of more than 2,000.