Tabernacle Baptist Church, currently located on the corner of Capital and Herr Streets in midtown Harrisburg, is moving to a new location. This move to the former Zion Lutheran Church in the Borough of Penbrook provides a larger space for Tabernacle’s growing membership, and has a much desired ground level sanctuary and elevator.
The Reverend Dr. Arthur L. Brown and his congregation have agreed that it is time for a new chapter in the life of Tabernacle Baptist Church. This new chapter begins on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 2730 Booser Street in the Penbrook area of Harrisburg. On that day at 9:45 am, Pastor Brown, church members and invited local officials will hold a “Grand March and Building Dedication.” Participants will assemble in the parking lot of nearby Penbrook Church of God, 2733 Canby Street, and march to their new home. Upon arrival, a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held. The Mayor of Penbrook, John McDonald, will speak and Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste will also present a proclamation.
Tabernacle Baptist Church has served as a beacon to the community for over 52 years, with successful outreach programs including a food bank, school backpack giveaway, and community health fair. Their current building has been home since 1967, but its second floor sanctuary and small classrooms as well as limited space have long been challenging for accessibility and growth. The new building will facilitate greater community outreach. The congregation is currently seeking potential tenants to lease its midtown building beginning in January 2020. Those interested can contact the church office at (717) 236-1774.
On Sunday, November 17, 2019, Tabernacle Baptist Church will hold its first worship service in their new home at 10:45AM.
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Ironically, the Tabernacle congregation purchased its first building in 1969 from a former Lutheran congregation – also named Zion. That midtown location, formerly the Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church, was completed in 1887. It is an excellent example of 19th-century Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture with a number of its design details, including its high-gabled roof and German language inscriptions in its historic stained-glass windows recall the German ethnic heritage of the original congregation. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975, the building was designed by noted Harrisburg architect David R. Miller (1838-1900), a native of Swatara Township. Miller went on to complete both secular and sacred buildings, including the 1894 building for the Wesley Union AME Zion church, the first African-American congregation in the city.
Notable members of The Tabernacle Baptist Church include:
• Mrs. LeGree S. Daniels, former Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the United States Department of Education appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and Governor of the United States Postal Service appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and reappointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999
• Judge Clarence C. Morrison, the first African American Judge in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, who subsequently rose to President Judge.
Presently the Rev. Dr. Arthur Brown serves as Tabernacle’s fourth Pastor since January 2006. He has earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University Theological School and holds leadership positions in the Central Baptist Association and the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention.