The ChurchA 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. Click to book your New York Gospel Music walking tour.
The ChoirThe over 200 members of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir have no vocal training but have recorded numerous albums and DVDs and won multiple Grammy awards under the direction of Carol Cymbala (wife of the church's Senior Pastor Jim Cymbala and daughter of the church's founder, the late Rev. Clair Hutchins). Carol started the choir in the early 1980's with only nine people. She has written hundreds of songs that have been translated into many languages and has won several awards. This popular choir has sold out Madison Square Garden Theater and performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall. The members of the choir are made up of a broad range of vocalists from different ethnic and economic backgrounds all drawn together by their strong faith and love of singing. Since it is difficult for this large choir to travel extensively internationally, a core group of vocalists from the choir called the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers travel across the U.S. and around the world singing all the music the choir regularly performs. In addition to the celebrated performances by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, this church is also popular for its busy schedule of free concerts by renowned international artists.
Visiting Brooklyn TabernacleThis church is located at 17 Smith Street (between Livingston and Fulton Streets) in downtown Brooklyn. There is a cafe onsite which is open before and after services which are held Tuesdays and Sundays.
Address: 17 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11201 (between Livingston and Fulton Streets)
Click here to visit Brooklyn Tabernacle website.
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