FIRST BAPTIST TABERNACLE CHURCH HISTORY
THE HISTORY of the First Baptist Tabernacle Church began in the year of our Lord, March 16, 1952. A few faithful Christian believers guided by the Great Head of the Church, Christ Jesus, bonded together after the pattern of the New Testament Church for the worship of God, under the leadership of the Rev. Cornelius Benjamin Holmes. The First Baptist Tabernacle Church was organized at 1903 3rd Street.
The organizing officers and members were: Deacon T. Matthews, Brother Farmer, Brother Lanier, Sister Luella Hubbard, Sister Helen Turk and Sister Katherine Edinburgh.
On March 17, 1952, the dedication and consecration service was held on behalf of said church, First Baptist Tabernacle. Among those officiating in this service were Councilman Willard Nelson, representing the City Council, Colonel White of Mather Air Force Base, delivering the dedication sermon, and Rev. A.T. White, offering the dedication prayer.
After residing a few months at 1903 3rd Street, the membership moved to 3rd street and Capitol Avenue. Under the leadership of Rev. C.B. Holmes, many members were added to the church, and a lot was purchased at 5th street between "O" and "R" Streets. Much progress was made in a short time under Rev. Holmes' leadership.
Rev. Solomon Nelson succeeded Rev. Holmes on April 12, 1953. The membership increased, ministries were established and the present location was purchased for $21,000 on August 5, 1955. Rev. Nelson's administration ended in 1958, after which Rev. Dave Brown and Rev. A.W. Turney, Associate Ministers under Rev. Nelson, carried on from 1958-1960.
In 1960, Rev. Holt was called to pastor at the First Baptist Tabernacle Church and the Lord blessed under his leadership until December 1961. Rev. Holt resigned due to illness. Again, the church was without a pastor; however, Rev. A.W. Turney, Associate Minister, and other clergymen carried on until November 1962 when the church called Rev. Tillman Wade, Sr., as pastor.
Under Rev. Wade's leadership, the church grew spiritually and financially. The Lord added daily to the membership and we added an extension to the church in 1972, as you see it today. The membership purchased property, vans and other materials in order to keep up with the growth of the membership. Under Rev. Wade's leadership, the Jubilee Choir was organized, the Gospel Pearls, the Male Chorus and the Laymen Department. We had a very large Sunday School Department and you would often see many members sharing the Word of God at our Wednesday night Bible Study and Prayer Meeting. First Baptist Tabernacle Church was incorporated on August 5, 1965.
Rev. Wade's administration came to an end in 1983. The assistant pastor, Rev. Willie B. Feltus, carried on until the church called Rev. Harry R. Fort as pastor. Under Rev. Fort's leadership, the church implemented many ministries such as Gospel Explosion, which was an extension of Sunday School held on Wednesday night. Hundreds of people from around the city would visit us for mid-week Prayer Meeting and Bible Study. He also implemented PTL, Praying Together in Love, what is now our altar call. This unique way of praying gave everyone a chance to pray in his or her own way. The church grew tremendously under his leadership. Rev. Fort's leadership came to an end in 1986.
Rev. Troy Diggs, Assistant Pastor, carried on until the church called Rev. Michael Youngblood in 1987, as pastor. Rev. Youngblood's administration came to an end in 1989. Again, our faithful Assistant Pastor, Rev. Troy Diggs, carried on until June 1990, when the Lord sent Rev. Harry Fort back to pastor First Baptist Tabernacle Church for a second time. During this second term, over 200 members joined under his leadership. The Church had one of the most active youth departments in the city as well as several choirs. Our Wednesday night Bible Study grew and grew. We also had a single and married couple ministry where you could find members sharing the Word of God at our weekly meetings on Saturday mornings.
Rev. Fort's administration ended in December 1995. Again, our faithful Assistant Pastor, Rev. Troy Diggs, carried on until September 1997 when the Lord sent our pastor, Rev. Essex Hubbard. Many families joined under Pastor Hubbard's leadership and the Lord blessed us spiritually and financially. We baptized children and adults on a monthly basis. We had an active Men, Women and Children Department as well as a drama ministry. We were blessed to have a General Mission Department where we not only ministered to our own sick and shut-ins but also reached out to the community. We were blessed to have an Angels Choir, Young Peoples Choir, Male Chorus, Mass Choir and a Mission Choir. Our Sunday School had six classes that ranged from ages two to wisdom age. We were very active in the Northern District Baptist Association as well as the California State Baptist Convention. Rev. Hubbard resigned from the First Baptist Tabernacle Church on February 28, 2007.
Once again, we were without an under-shepherd. It looked as though we were defeated but God was working things out. Over eighty-five members joined since March 2007.The church had weekly prayer meetings and the Pulpit Committee started fasting and praying. After many gifted preachers graced us with their presence during a ten-month period, the Lord heard our prayers and sent us our pastor, Rev. Arthur C. Jones, Jr., on January 27, 2008. Pastor Jones is a leader and leads by example for us to follow. Under his leadership since January 2008, over forty-five people have joined our family either by Christian Experience or baptism. We have completed major makeover work to the fellowship hall so that we can incorporate more ministries. With the leading of the Holy Spirit, we have reestablished a number of ministries “and God has added to His Church, such would be saved”. Pastor Jones has been preaching the unadulterated Word of God and we give all the praise and glory to God!
Because of Christ, we are 68 years strong due to the trials and tribulations we have had and will have. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!