On January 9,2000 Tabernacle celebrated the installation of its new pastor Dr. Harvey Myers. Participants in the service included Dr. Hugh Litchfield, Dr. Robert Perry, Dr. Robert Dale, and Dr. Elmer West. Once again, Tabernacle Baptist Church was honored to ordain into the ministry Rev. Keith Spangenburg and Rev. Susan Spangenburg on May 28, 2000.mOn July 30, 2000 Rev. Keith Spangenburg resigned to pastor Villa Heights Baptist Church, Martinsville, Virginia. Rev. Spangenburg had a passion for ministry among the senior adults, and he will be greatly missed.
Rev. Cecil Gholston served Tabernacle faithfully as Associate Pastor, supplying the pulpit when needed, teaching the Men’s Sunday School Class, and conducting Bible studies. After Rev. Spangenburg’s departure, Rev. Gholston assumed the responsibility of ministering to the senior adults, making visits to those in the hospital and nursing homes and members who are homebound.
Rev. Bryon LePere took over the responsibility of the Food Pantry Ministry after Rev. Spangenburg resigned. The 110th anniversary of Tabernacle Baptist Church was noted during the morning worship service on January 28, 2001. However, the formal celebration was held on May 20, celebrating both the founding of the Sunday School and Tabernacle Church. In honor of this milestone, historical exhibits were displayed throughout the year tracing the heritage of Tabernacle Church from its beginning to the present. “Remembering the Past, Embracing the Future” was the theme of the 110t’ anniversary. Dr. Phillip Hart and Dr. Jack Noffsinger were guest speakers. A luncheon was held in the fellowship hall following the morning worship.
Two important items were presented at the quarterly business meeting on April 29,2OO1 The first proposal was for Tabernacle Baptist Church to participate in the Acts 17 initiative. This was a recently adopted priority of Virginia Baptists to plant 100 new churches and to work in partnership with 100 churches in a comprehensive revitalization effort. Tabernacle qualified for the revitalization endeavor. The second item was a program designated,The Tabernacle: A Proposal for a New Ministry Opportunity of the Tabernacle Church.” The goal of this new effort was to establish a new ministry utilizing the current staff and one additional staff member. This effort would involve beginning a new worship experience on Sunday evening. The membership of Tabernacle approved these two items on June 10, 2001, and extended an invitation to Rev. Mark Andrist as Associate Minister of Worship. On September 9, 2001Tabernacle officially welcomed Rev. Andrist, and the evening of December 2,2001was the first gathering of ”The Tabernacle.”
On January 7, 2002, Tabernacle’s present pastor, Dr. Harvey Myers, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor; and surgery was performed on January 8 to remove the tumor. The Tabernacle church family rallied in so many ways to support the entire Myers family during the difficult times of therapy and a second surgery after a second tumor was discovered. Unfortunately, Dr. Myers was never able to return to the pulpit.
In February, 2OO2, a survey was taken to reevaluate the Wednesday night program to determine interest and encourage attendance. From this survey, it was determined that a meal would continue to be served, followed by dialogue group discussions. April 10 was the kick-off for this new format and proved to be quite successful. On May l2, 2OO2 Dr. Drexel Rayford joined Tabernacle as the new short- term Interim Pastor through August.
On May 25, 2OO2 Rev. Bryon LePere, Tabernacle’s Associate Pastor of Family Ministries, graduated from The Baptist Theological Seminary.
A service of celebration of life and ministry of Dr. Harvey Myers on his retirement as our pastor and the ministry was held on June 30,2002. A volume of cards and letters, as well as a monetary gift, was presented to him during the reception following the service.
On October 20,2002 Rev. Jim Pardue joined Tabernacle as the new Interim Pastor.
Also in October, a new pastor search committee was formed to begin the process of finding a new senior pastor.
Dr. Harvey Myers passed away on October 30, 2002, and on November 3, a memorial service was held to celebrate his life and ministry. In January, 2003 “The Tabernacle” evening service continued, adding a monthly Coffee House. The “Coming Home to the Fan” gathering included music and stories from Richmond’s historic Fan District and featured the Tabernacle Basement Band. During the summer months, “The Tabernacle” held services on the front portico, serving coffee, lemonade and snacks.
Dr. Scott Spencer was called for pulpit supply from June 8 - August 31, after Rev. Jim Prdue left on June 1, 2003. After serving over six years, on June 13,2003 Rev. Bryon LePere resigned as Associate Pastor for Family Ministries to become pastor of Big Island Baptist Church, Big Island, Virginia. Meanwhile, the Pastor Search Committee continued the search for a senior pastor for Tabernacle.
Richard (Dick) Denzler assumed responsibility for the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet ministry. With the help of several volunteers, this ministry opened every Thursday from 2:00 - 3:00 pm. The average number of families served was 79 with a monthly average distribution of 101 bags. Dr. Scott Spencer agreed to continue pulpit supply until Tabernacle called a new interim pastor. An interim pastor committee was formed while the Pastor Search Committee continued to seek God’s will for Tabernacle.
However, an interim pastor was not needed. The Pastor Search Committee presented the church with a candidate for the Senior Pastor position during the month of January,2004.
On February 8,2004 Rev. Sterling Severns delivered a sermon to the congregation of Tabernacle, followed by a reception, including a question and answer session for all church members. Tabernacle voted unanimously to call Rev. Sterling Severns as our Senior Pastor. Rev. Severns accepted our call, joined the staff on April 19,2004 and led his first worship service at Tabernacle on April 25, 2004. The Tabernacle Child Care Center celebrated its 20th anniversary on March 27, 2004 with a celebration at the Riverfront Plaza. The annual Easter Egg Hunt with hamburgers, hot dogs, and the Easter Bunny was hosted by Judy and Eric Fiske at their home on April 10,2004. This was the 20th anniversary of this annual event, also. Dr. Scott Spencer’s last Sunday as interim pastor was April 18, 2004. An installation Service for Rev. Sevems was held May 2, 2004 followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall. It was a great day of celebration.The annual Vacation Bible School was held August 9-13, 2004 and $241.98 was collected as a missions offering to send to Bangladesh to help with the building of wells there.
The Church Wide Picnic was held on September 12,2004 at Louise and Harwood Cochrane’s home. Tabernacle welcomed three students from the Baptist Theological Seminary here in Richmond to serve on staff. Bryn Bagby will serve in the area of pastoral care. Erin Spengeman will be working with youth and social ministry programs. And, Jason Williams will focus on the areas of education and music. On September 18,2004 The Basement Band led the last meeting of “The’ Tabernacle,” after three years of ministry on Sunday evenings.
Mrs. Carolyn Snipes, our church secretary gave her resignation and her last day was December 31,2004. Tabernacle is part of the Fan District House Tour each December, bringing numerous visitors into the Sanctuary. Over 500 promotional Christmas cards were given out throughout that day.
A committee was formed to plan a renovation of the Fellowship Hall. New electrical work, fresh paint, new carpet and ceiling tiles, removing walls, and much more were incorporated into the plans. The work began in the fall of 2004 and was completed in early 2005. New bulletin boards lined the wall outside the church office, each containing specific information concerning the life of the church. Photos and brief biographies of members and extended family were featured and rotated every few weeks. Tabernacle’s extended family consisted of people who worked with ministries within its facilities, including the Child Care Center, CARITAS, Richmond Concert Band, Youth Symphony Orchestra, Theater IV, and Firehouse Theater.
A reception for Carolyn Snipes, Tabernacle’s church secretary, was given on March 13,2005 in the newly renovated Fellowship Hall.
In April, 2005 a Special Task Force was formed to begin a feasibility study concerning various options for the use of all Tabernacle buildings and demographic information about the congregation and neighborhood. The purpose of this study was to guide Tabernacle toward the discovery of God’s vision for the future.
Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond (BTSR) students, Bryn Bagby, Erin Spengeman, and Jason Williams ended their internship during May, 2005. The church voted unanimously on May 1 to approve two new Internship positions.
On June 18, 2005 Jason and Joanie Williams were ordained in a special worship service at Tabernacle.
The Church Wide Picnic was held on July 10, 2005 for the last time at Louise and Harwood Cochrane’s home. In August ,2005 work began to expand and refurbish the area where the Food Pantry/Clothes Closet ministry was located. This ministry served 500 families in2004 and distributed 20 tons of food. Therefore, the area was enlarged in order to better stock food and better serve the growing number of clients.
Also, in August the church began a Monthly Mission Project aimed at collecting items that would benefit the clients of the Food Pantry/Clothes Closet. Large containers were placed around the church, each month different items were suggested for donations by the congregation; such as, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, bathroom tissue, etc.
Vacation Bible School was held August 15-19, 2005 and $398.92was collected as a missions offering to purchase much needed school supplies for friends in Africa. Fifty-five school supply kits were created and shipped to Africa. Doug, Lea, and Karen Coppage joined Tabernacle’s church family in2004 after serving as missionaries to the deaf in Hungary. In September,2005 they returned to the mission field in Hungary.
On September 5,2005 Lindsay Comstock and Renee Kenley joined the church staff. Lindsay served as Missions Mobilization Intern and Renee served as Family Ministries intern.
On September 15, 2005 CHIME (Children in Missions Education) began. This program featured hands-on-missions, creative art and music. During September,2005 Tabernacle partnered with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in their efforts to help communities rebuild along the Gulf Coast after the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. Tabernacle was the CBF drop- offsite for the Capital Region. Also, the Tabernacle Basement Band performed a special hurricane relief concert on September 11 and raised $1,100.
On October 2,2005 Tabernacle celebrated Judy Fiske’s 25 year anniversary. A special worship service in her honor was filled with music from the choir, women’s ensemble, flute choir, and the Richmond Concert Band Brass Ensemble. David Schwoebel wrote a special arrangement of Servant Song in honor of Judy’s 25th anniversary of dedicated service to the music and youth ministry of Tabernacle Baptist Church. A reception followed and over 200 people attended.
On October 9, 2005 a service of worship celebrating the ordination of Nathan Taylor was held at Tabernacle. In October , 2005 a renovation of the “Yellow Room” began. After the renovation, it was renamed the Community Room. The entire area was painted. Cabinets and bookshelves from the row houses were brought in to help define the children’s play area, a beautiful three-dimensional wall painting of the row houses was contributed by Kara Edmonds. The area was stocked with various toys for the children’s enjoyment. In addition, the brick wall area was decorated and furnished for informal meetings.
On November 20, 2005 the Special Task Force gave a presentation that focused around six months of research about Tabernacle and its neighbors. The annual Fan Feast was held on November 19,2005. This was the 12th anniversary of this event with Tabernacle sharing a Thanksgiving meal with neighbors and friends. December 7 ,2005 was the annual lighting of the Chrismon Tree and decorating of Tabernacle’s beautiful sanctuary with garlands and wreaths. Many lovely poinsettias were added two weeks before Christmas honoring and memorializing family and church members. The annual Richmond Concert Band Christmas in the Fan program was held on December 18. And, the Tabernacle Sanctuary Choir’s concert at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg took place on December 20. This annual event began in the 1980′s and has become a favorite Christmas tradition.
Another annual tradition at Tabernacle was the distribution of Christmas Baskets to the needy by the deacons. With the help of monetary contributions and canned goods, the deacons were able to deliver 66 Christmas Baskets on December 22, 2005.
The Food Pantry/Clothes Closet Ministry ended the year 2005 with a total of 2,717 bags of groceries distributed to 569 needy families (over 1,500 people were served). Over 28 tons of food was given out and this ministry continued to grow, serving 293 families who came for the first time in 2005. Funding for this ministry came from contributions to the Fellowship and Food Pantry Funds. Members of Tabernacle and friends of Tabernacle volunteered each Thursday during the year to provide this vital ministry to its neighbors.