Tabernacle celebrates a past and a future

A glorious 125 years

A few Sundays back, members of Tabernacle Baptist Church showed up in bell bottoms and tie-dye.


"They had the Afros going and the picket signs out," said Classie West, a trustee and longtime member of the church.

A few Sundays before that, members donned clothes from the '30s and '40s. Earlier in the summer, they wore turn-of-the-century dresses and suits.

"The entire congregation gets into it," said West, co-chairwoman of the anniversary planning committee. "We all want to show our thanks to God for having brought us this far."

The church celebrates its 125th anniversary this month.

"There's such a rich history in this church, and we said the best thing you can do is break it up into segments, and honor those generations that have come before us," she said.

This morning, a golf outing kicks off two weekends of events, which culminate with the renaming of Harrison Street, which runs along the east side of the church. It'll be unveiled as C.S. Hamilton Way, in honor of the church's longtime pastor and former Augusta city councilman.

"He was pastor here for 40 years and a real community leader in the push against segregation and the move toward peace," said Zebra Jefferson, a member of the anniversary celebration's planning committee.

Hamilton served as pastor from 1956 to 1996. He died in 1997.

The celebration's events also include a banquet and cookouts.

"We want it to be a big community event," Jefferson said.

The church, West said, has always been a beacon in the community.

"This is a hallmark year, and we want to invite people to celebrate with us," she said. "The history of our church needs to be taught, remembered. People came here to vote for the first time. Dr. Martin Luther King stood in that pulpit. President Taft stood in that pulpit. (John D.) Rockefeller stood in that pulpit. This event is for all of us to remember because many of us have forgotten."

The theme of the anniversary celebration is "pursuing greater glory."

That's the aim as the church looks to the future, said the Rev. Charles E. Goodman Jr., the pastor of the church.

"Tabernacle Baptist has a rich history and flourishing ministry that has touched so many in the last 125 years," he said.

"I am proud and blessed to lead such a wonderful congregation. Our mission and mandate will be to continue to enrich the community with God's Word and love as we pursue greater glory through Jesus Christ."

Anniversary celebration

Events celebrating Tabernacle Baptist Church's 125th anniversary have been held throughout the year, and more are planned. To find out more, call (706) 724-1230 or go to

GOLF OUTING: 9 a.m. today, Forest Hills Golf Club, $65 per person, playing on teams of four

BACK TO SCHOOL JAM: Noon to 3 p.m. today, Family Life Center across the street from the church, 1223 Laney-Walker Blvd., with games, food, school supplies and music for youth

MINISTER WIN THOMPKINS & The Stompers Concert: 4 p.m. Sunday at the church, $10 for adults, $5 for children

BANQUET: 7-11 p.m. Aug. 13, Augusta Marriott, $50. Featuring Carroll Baltimore, the president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention and music from Playback "The Band."

UNVEILING CEREMONY: 10 a.m. Aug. 14 outside the church along the new C.S. Hamilton Way. A cookout from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will follow at the church's Family Life Center.

WORSHIP SERVICES: 8 and 11 a.m. Aug. 15 with the Rev. Nathan E. Scovens, of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.


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