A fixture in the Brooklyn community for over 40 years, the Brooklyn Tabernacle grew from just a few members in a tired building to a massive congregation of over 10,000 weekly attendees. It is located in a beautifully renovated 1918 building that seats almost 4,000.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle was founded in 1847 in downtown Brooklyn as the Central Presbyterian Church. It was housed within the First Presbyterian Church. In 1853, the church acquired its first edifice, a frame tabernacle at State and Nevins Streets. It was destroyed by fire in 1869. A second tabernacle was devastated by a storm, and a third was devastated by another fire in 1894 and rebuilt in the same location.
The congregation had shrunk significantly by the time Pastor Jim Cymbala and his wife Carol took over the Brooklyn Tabernacle in 1971. By then there were less than 30 people who met in a run-down building on Atlantic Avenue. By the 1980s, the congregation had grown considerably and the Brooklyn Tabernacle moved to the former Carlton Theatre which was converted into a church.
By 2002, the church’s congregation had grown even more and required a building with even more seating and better facilities. The Brooklyn Tabernacle bought and renovated another old vaudeville theatre, the Loew's Metropolitan Theatre at 17 Smith Street where the church presently resides. It was completely refurbished and features state-of-the-art acoustics, perfect to showcase the now world-famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.