Total Praise By Richard Smallwood

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“Total Praise” sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

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.[1] 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.

In 1966, the church is renamed “Brooklyn Gospel Tabernacle” by the pastor Clair D. Hutchins. By the time Pastor Jim and Carol Cymbala took over the leadership in the autumn of 1971, the congregation had dwindled to 40 people who met in a rundown building on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

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. In 1984, the church takes its current name “Brooklyn Tabernacle”. The church remained in this location until 2002 when they moved in the former Loew’s Metropolitan Theatre at 17 Smith Street. The sanctuary seats 3,300 people.

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the 2013 second inauguration of Barack Obama. The church is noted for its sermons, guests and its six time Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which is directed by Carol Cymbala, the wife of the main Pastor, Jim Cymbala. The church holds three two-hour services weekly. In 2017, the church currently had 10,000 people.

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