Brooklyn Tabernacle

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Coordinates: 40°41′27″N 73°59′14.8″W / 40.69083°N 73.987444°W / 40.69083; -73.987444

Fulton Street side of Smith Street building
Smith Street side

Brooklyn Tabernacle is a non-denominational church located at 17 Smith Street at the Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn, New York City. Brooklyn Tabernacle has 16,000 members and is one of the biggest churches in the Greater New York metropolitan area. Jim Cymbala has been the pastor of the church for over 40 years.

The church is noted for its sermons, guests and its six time Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir,[1][2] which is directed by Carol Cymbala, the wife of the main Pastor, Jim Cymbala.[3]


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.[4][5]

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.[6]

Current status[edit]

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.[7][8]

The church holds three two-hour services weekly.[9]

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



  1. ^ Search results for "Carol Cymbala" Grammy Awards website
  2. ^ "The Choir - Discography - The Brooklyn Tabernacle". 
  3. ^ Archibold, Randal C. (2000-02-28). "Brooklyn Choir Wins Praise by Singing the Lord's Praises". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ministry Directory". 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 7, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2011-07-02. 
  7. ^ "Brooklyn Tabernacle" on the Kostow Greenwood website
  8. ^ "Brooklyn Tabernacle Church" on the Robert Silman Associates website
  9. ^ Official FAQ Archived April 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Brooklyn Tabernacle at Obama Inauguration Fox News Insider, Jan 21, 2013

External links[edit]