Tabernacle Baptist Church originated in a storefront on Houston Street on May 10, 1917 under the pastorate of Dr. C.H. Young. Within six months, the church relocated to a building on the corner of Bell and Gilmer Streets. The church was blessed with Rev. Latimore of Southwest Georgia; Rev. Franklin of Washington, GA; Rev. S. T. Johnson, and Rev. T. W. Smith who are all since deceased.
Tabernacle grew at a steady pace, and in May 1933, Dr. J.J. Minor was installed as pastor. In 1937, the church was destroyed by fire. Although Tabernacle was shaken, the members were not defeated. Dr. Minor opened the doors of his home for regular church services. Through Dr. Minor’s undying faith and dedication, the church learned the meaning of Christian commitment – to rejoice in despair, be patient in tribulation and hope with constant prayer. In 1939, the first unit of the church was rebuilt. Later that same year Tabernacle acquired a corner lot at Ellis and Hilliard Streets. Rev. J.T. Dorsey, the Pastor of the Second Mount Zion Baptist Church, and father of Dr. E. H. Dorsey, was the presiding minister for the Ground Breaking Ceremony. In 1940, the new church was completed and on the fifth Sunday in March 1940, the first worship service was held. On July 27, 1954, the Rev. Minor transitioned.
On the third Sunday of July, 1955, Tabernacle called Dr. E. H. Dorsey of Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Dorsey’s leadership made a great impact on the church and the community. To this day, the harvest of his labor is still present. In 1960, the present edifice at 475 Boulevard was purchased. Also at this time The Happy Time Day Care Center was organized. The church purchased a house on Rankin Street, a parking lot, and an apartment complex at Parkway Drive. Operation Bread Basket (a program to feed the hungry) was also born. After service 22 years, on June 20, 1977, a serious illness prompted Dr. Dorsey’s retirement. He has since transitioned.
On October 6, 1977, Dr. Quincy Lavell Carswell was called as pastor. Under his leadership, numerous physical renovations, as well as structural reorganization took place. Modern musical percussions, the advanced public address system, the media ministry (broadcast and telecasts) as well as the community outreach, educational and recreational programs, and the purchase of additional properties on Rankin Place, represent only a few of his accomplishments while at Tabernacle. His leadership end on December 30, 1992.
On April 3, 1994 God’s gift, in the person of Rev. Dennis A. Meredith of Toledo, Ohio, was presented to Tabernacle. Pastor Meredith is an accomplished, well-respected, community-focused minister and leader. He has ministered for over 30 years using his many gifts to give glory to God—preaching and singing across America and abroad to win souls for Jesus Christ. Under his leadership, the church experienced unprecedented growth and development.
He plans and implements programs and ministries specifically created and tailored to meet the needs of an urban community and congregation. He is also well on his way to laying the groundwork for one of his primary goals for the Old Fourth Ward, which is to foster African-American, male leadership in the family, church, and community. In addition his outreach ministry, which focuses on healing and empowering unhealthy communities, led to the founding the Beacon of Hope in 1996. He currently embarks upon building the City of Tabernacle, purposed to provide economic development and safe haven for the Old Fourth Ward and Greater Atlanta Community. Pastor Meredith is the devoted father to Dennis II (Taylor), Micah, and Eddie Meredith.