120 years and counting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The Selma times-journal

Long before it became the site for mass meetings during the Civil Rights Movement, Tabernacle Baptist Church had already established a prominent and significant place in Selma, according to members of the church’s congregation.

The church was founded 120 years ago as an outgrowth of Selma University and many of the school’s graduates went on to become leaders in the church. Three former pastors in Tabernacle’s history also went on to become presidents of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.

Even the building itself, located in the heart of Broad Street, has an interesting and unique past.

It was designed and built in 1922 by a black architect, according to Dr. Verdell Lett Dawson, a member of the church.

Dawson said plenty more interesting stories about the church and its congregation will be discussed during Tabernacle’s 120th anniversary celebration beginning this Friday.

The celebration begins at 6 p.m. with a homecoming reception at the church.

On Saturday beginning at 7 p.m., the church will host a musical performance.

Dawson said the choir will be singing a variety of anthems, spirituals and hymns throughout the evening.

The Saturday musical will be black tie/semi-formal event for the public.

Both of these events will be free to the public, Dawson said.

On Sunday, the final day of celebration, Dawson said the church will have two worship services led by two &8220;sons of Tabernacle.&8221;

The Rev. Charles L. Lett, pastor of Aimwell Baptist Church, will lead the 11 am. service.

There will be a anniversary dinner following the service.

The Rev. Nathaniel Smith of Springfield, Mass. will lead the 3 p.m. worship service.

The current pastor of Tabernacle is the Rev. Rodney T. Morton.