Brooklyn Tabernacle

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Brooklyn Tabernacle
Brooklyn Tabernacle Smith St evening jeh.jpg
40°41′27″N 73°59′14.8″W / 40.69083°N 73.987444°W / 40.69083; -73.987444Coordinates: 40°41′27″N 73°59′14.8″W / 40.69083°N 73.987444°W / 40.69083; -73.987444
LocationNew York City
DenominationNon-denominational Christian
Senior pastor(s)Jim Cymbala

Brooklyn Tabernacle is an evangelical non-denominational megachurch located at 17 Smith Street at the Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn, New York City. The senior pastor is Jim Cymbala.


The Brooklyn Tabernacle was established in 1847 as the Central Presbyterian Church, using the facilities of the First Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Willoughby Street and Pearl.[1] Their first building was a frame tabernacle on the corner of State and Nevins Streets, beginning April 3, 1853. The first tabernacle was destroyed by fire in 1869. The second Brooklyn Tabernacle was built in 1873 at the corner of Marcy and Jefferson. This tabernacle was destroyed during a thunderstorm in 1889. The third tabernacle, built at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Greene Street seated 6,000 persons and was destroyed by fire in 1894, but was then rebuilt at the same location.

Fulton Street side of Smith Street building

In 1966, the church is renamed "Brooklyn Gospel Tabernacle" by the pastor Clair D. Hutchins.[2]

By the time Pastor Jim and Carol Cymbala took over the leadership in the autumn of 1971, the congregation had dwindled to 40 people who met in a rundown building on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.[3][4][5][6]

In the 1980s, the Brooklyn Tabernacle purchased the former Carlton Theatre at 292 Flatbush Avenue at 7th Avenue, converting the 1383-seat theatre into a church. After many years of decline, the church was revitalized as a non-denominational congregation, and became well known as the home of the award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

In 1984, the church took its current name "Brooklyn Tabernacle".[7]

The church remained in this location until 2002 when they moved in the former Loew's Metropolitan Theatre at 17 Smith Street.[8][9] The sanctuary seats 3,300 people.

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the 2013 second inauguration of Barack Obama.[10]

The church has been noted for its sermons, guests and its six time Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir,[11][12] which is directed by Carol Cymbala, the wife of the main Pastor, Jim Cymbala.[13]

The church has held three two-hour services weekly.[14]

In 2017, the church had 10,000 people.[15]


The current building was completely redone by Kostow Greenwood Architects and Robert Silman Associates by gutting and renovating the old vaudeville theater for modern worship, and with state-of-the-art acoustics and recording equipment. Two adjacent buildings were converted into offices, classrooms, community service areas, and dining facilities.[16][17]



  1. ^ Industry Magazine A Perfect Union,, USA, April 20, 2016
  2. ^ W. K. McNeil, Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, Routledge, USA, 2013, p. 52
  3. ^ Francesca Norsen Tate, Brooklyn Milestones In Faith for May 29,, USA, May 29, 2013
  4. ^ Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey, United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race, Oxford University Press USA, USA, 2004, p. 71
  5. ^ "Ministry Directory".
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 7, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ W. K. McNeil, Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, Routledge, USA, 2013, p. 52
  8. ^ DAVID W. DUNLAP, For Churches, Births and Rebirths,, USA, DECEMBER 22, 2002
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2011-07-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Brooklyn Tabernacle at Obama Inauguration Fox News Insider, Jan 21, 2013
  11. ^ Search results for "Carol Cymbala" Grammy Awards website
  12. ^ "The Choir - Discography - The Brooklyn Tabernacle".
  13. ^ Archibold, Randal C. (2000-02-28). "Brooklyn Choir Wins Praise by Singing the Lord's Praises". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  14. ^ Official FAQ Archived April 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Warren Bird, World megachurches, Leadership Network, USA, Retrieved November 21, 2017
  16. ^ "Brooklyn Tabernacle" on the Kostow Greenwood website
  17. ^ "Brooklyn Tabernacle Church" on the Robert Silman Associates website

External links[edit]