Brooklyn Tabernacle is a non-denominational church located at 17 Smith Street at the Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn. It has 16,000 members and is one of the biggest churches in the Greater New York Area. Jim Cymbala has been the pastor of the church for over 40 years.
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. 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.
By the time Pastor Jim and Carol Cymbala took over the leadership in the autumn of 1971, the congregation had dwindled to just 30 people who met in a rundown building on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
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. The church remained in this location until 2002 when they purchased and renovated the former Loew's Metropolitan Theatre at 17 Smith Street.
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. The sanctuary seats 3,200 people. Two adjacent buildings were converted into offices, classrooms, community service areas, and dining facilities.
The church holds three two-hour services weekly.
- Archibold, Randal C. (2000-02-28). "Brooklyn Choir Wins Praise by Singing the Lord's Praises". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "Brooklyn Tabernacle" on the Kostow Greenwood website
- http://www.silman.com/projects/religious/brooklyn-tabernacle-church/ "Brooklyn Tabernacle Church" on the Robert Silman Associates website
- Official FAQ
- Brooklyn Tabernacle at Obama Inauguration Fox News Insider, Jan 21, 2013
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