1931-1940

 

The “Great Depression” was evident throughout the country by 1930, but Tabernacle church attendance was still growing. Membership had increased to 2,240 by January, 1931 and there were 40 deacons, the most Tabernacle had ever had. As the depression worsened, however, the financial program began to suffer and it was necessary to reduce expenses and salaries.

By the mid-thirties, the depression began to weaken, allowing stringent budgetary constraints to be relaxed. In early 1936 an Alterations Committee was formed for a renovation and beautification project since the church had been unable to make any improvements over the previous five or six years. Also, Tabernacle Church had invited the Baptist General Association of Virginia to use the church for its meetings to be held in November, 1936. The committee recommended placing a large stained-glass window in the east wall of the Sanctuary behind the choir loft. The window was installed the first week of November, 1936 and was the largest Baptistry window ever installed in any Baptist church at that time.

The Tabernacle Bible School celebrated its Golden Anniversary May 9, 1937 with Dr. William Ball delivering the morning message. Dr. John Wicker, who had served the little Reservoir Mission School, conducted the evening service.

A reception was held in the church fellowship hall on April 19, 1940 to celebrate Dr. and Mrs. Aubrey Williams’ 20th anniversary at Tabernacle Baptist Church.

The Bible School continued to increase and additional space was needed. The church considered remodeling, which proved to be unfeasible. About the same time, the house adjacent to the church, 1915 Grove Avenue, was available and was purchased for offices and classrooms in late 1940.