is to be a Church where
transformation occurs through worship, discipleship, fellowship,
ministry and evangelism.
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Make a Difference for the Kingdom of God
through the transformation of lives through worship,
discipleship, fellowship, ministry and evangelism.
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Our Priorities (Core Values)
worship. We create a redemptive environment that invites and
challenges individuals to a holistic relationship with Jesus
through praise and worship.
We study. We equip individuals in the faith through
Christian Education and Discipleship courses with the purpose of
growing disciples who understand their purpose as demonstrated
by an understanding of their spiritual gifts.
We serve. We apply our faith beyond the walls of the
church where persons in the local and global community are able
to experience the redemptive presence of God through those that
have had life changing experiences of faith.
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History of Mount Tabor
Founded in 1872
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Before the Civil
War, Negro slaves did not have the freedom, nor a place to
worship God as they desired. They met secretly in their slave
quarters to nourish and fulfill their spiritual needs. If their
masters caught them praying or giving praises to God, they were
punished severely. It was this fear, which caused them to use
all kinds of utensils to muffle the sounds of their prayers and
songs. No wonder the slaves were happy when they heard the good
news that "The War has ended", and the slaves were set free. But
they still did not have a designated place to worship their God.
Therefore, they met from place to place seeking the Lordís
guidance and mercy.
A few years prior
to 1872, Mr. Daniel Porter organized a mission Sunday School in
his home on the corner of Walnut and Selden streets. The Sunday
School later moved to the home of Mr. Hamilton Garnett on
Ragland Street, west of Walnut Street. It was there that Mount
Tabor Baptist Church was organized, with Mr. and Mrs. Daniel
Bates, Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Hailstake, Mr.
and Mrs. Harrison Carter, and a few others.
In 1872, Rev. C.
C. Faggins was elected Pastor and served 14 years. Some years
later, the church was given a parcel of land at Cedar and Selden
Streets. The members pooled their resources, talents ingenuity
and worked together in designing and building their first small
church, which was 30 x 40 feet. Under Rev. Faggins leadership,
the church prospered, and its program expanded. His influence in
the community was highly respected and recognized.
Upon the passing
of Rev. Faggins, the pastorate of the church passed on to the
Rev. H. Mayo, who served five years (1886-1891). His leadership
emphasized physical and spiritual improvements within the
At the turn of
the century, the leadership was transferred to Rev. J. T.
Turner, who served as pastor for ten years. He devoted his time
largely to the tasks of bettering the moral and material
conditions of his flock.
leadership of Rev. Turner, Rev. R. J. Bass became pastor and
served 27 years. During his administration, many members were
added to the church. He was deeply interested in the younger
members and took delight in instructing them in religious
Rev. W. H.
Skipwith, often referred to as "The Singing Evangelist", served
as the pastor of the church for five years. With his direction,
extensive renovation was accomplished, and many members
continued to be added to the church roll.
resignation of Rev. Skipwith, the leadership of the church was
passed to Dr. C. S. McCall, who was nominated by the Pulpit
Committee. Rev. McCall was formally notified of his appointment.
A young man, full of courage, ambition and possessing an
abundance of faith in the goodness of humankind, Rev. McCall
embarked upon his ministry at the church on April 5, 1933.
country was in the midst of the Great Depression, that attacked
every thread of our family fabric, Rev. McCall--in his
characteristic forthright manner--assumed his ministry with
dignity and courage. Lives may have been shattered and
businesses crumbled, it was in the Master's Plan for the Mount
Tabor Baptist Church to persevere under this dynamic Christian
leader, Dr. C. S. McCall.
The scope and
nature of Dr. McCall's activities reflected a kind of newness of
thinking, with reference to the general nature of the entire
church program. His philosophy of Christian living was of the
highest practical order, for he believed that it should extend
beyond the confines of the church, into the ordinary everyday
affairs of men. There was no conflict in his philosophy and his
own practices, for he was self-effacing in his desire to promote
the work of the church, as well as that of the community of
which he and the church were a part.
With the Housing
and Re-Development Program for the City of Richmond in action,
the old Mt. Tabor Church and land on the corner of Cedar and
Selden Streets were purchased in order to make way for a Housing
Project. From June 30 to December 29, 1957, services were held
in the Woodville Elementary School.
moved into its present church building on January 1, 1958. Our
current edifice was comparatively new, constructed between the
years of 1947 and 1948 by Fairmount Memorial Baptist Church. It
has a seating capacity of 550, and Sunday Church School
accommodations for more than 700. In 1967, the mortgage was
burned. Truly, the Lord has smiled upon us.
Many great events
took place under the leadership of Dr. McCall. Some highlights
of the achievements for the church during Dr. McCallís ministry
are: remodeling of the church; installation of a new heating
system and electronic Wurlitzer organ; increased membership;
contributions to significant church and missionary groups;
becoming the first Black congregation in the Richmond Baptist
Association; organization of the Boy and Girl Scout troops; a
new system of financing; the initiation of a tithing program,
and the purchasing of a church parking lot.
the church could not move forward without adequate finance, Dr.
McCall worked diligently to raise the sights of the membership
with reference to their responsibility for sharing in the
financial support of the church.
One of the
greatest qualities of leadership which Dr. McCall showed was his
ability to recognize and encourage those who helped make the
achievements of his administration possible. Dr. McCall was high
in his praise, and warm in his regard for the cooperation, which
he received from the Official Board, church organizations and
individuals serving in key positions, as well as the general
Dr. McCall was a
Richmond institution. He was called "The Dean", "The
Bridgebuilder", and "friend". In June 1987, Rev. Dr Cary S.
McCall retired and became our Pastor Emeritus. Dr. McCall had
served his congregation unselfishly and humbly for 54 years. He
became the first minister to remain at one church for that
length of time in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. and Mrs.
McCall will always be cherished at Mount Tabor for their devoted
pulpit was temporarily declared vacant upon Dr. McCallís
retirement, the congregation firmly believed that our Almighty
Father would send a shepherd to lead His flock.
The leadership of
Mount Tabor Baptist was passed to Rev. Dr. Charles E. Jones in
December of 1988. Under his leadership, the membership, and the
overall attendance in worship services and evangelistic efforts
in the Church Hill community increased. He established the
Future Fund for church renovations and additions; established
the Childrenís Ministry, and organized the Summer Day Camp
Academy. He was instrumental in bringing the Church Hill
Cooperative Baptist Ministry to Mount Tabor, also.
In a concerted
effort to meet the needs of the congregation and the surrounding
community, Dr. Jones paved the way for the organization of the
Mount Tabor Senior Center. To meet the needs of our
Transportation Ministry, the church purchased a new 15 passenger
Dr. C. E. Jonesí
emphasis was to uplift the church, and not the office of Pastor.
He constantly praised the church and church officers for the
progress made. His concern for the upkeep of our church building
led to the renovation of our roof, the restoration of our
Hammond organ, and the Restoration-Renovation Project to update
church facilities in preparation for future ministries.
Dr. Jones penned
our present motto, also: "Spiritually Redemptive, Educationally
Respectable and Socially Responsible". After a brief illness,
the five-year pastorate of Dr. Charles Jones ended on June 3,
1993 with his untimely demise.
From June 3, 1993
to May 13, 1994, our church was under the leadership of our
Assistant Pastor, Reverend Herbert L. Ponder. Rev. Ponder
carried the church forward, continuing the emphasis of Mount
Taborís role in the community, the youth, and the family needs
of our neighborhood. We ventured into a program with Whitcomb
Elementary School called "Walk to Win". Weekly, members of Mount
Tabor would walk in a school to show the children how good God
is, and how, through Him, we all can be better citizens.
On May 14, 1994,
Reverend Herbert L. Ponder was elected Pastor of Mount Tabor
Baptist Church. Under Rev. Ponderís leadership, the church has
continued its spiritual and physical growth. We have purchased
land, property, and a new church van. In 1995, we acquired a new
computer and printer, which has allowed us to automate our
church office, and helps us maintain more accurate member rolls
and financial records. Recently, we renovated two of our
restrooms, and anticipate more renovation in the near future.
pastorate has emphasized the importance of Christian education
and discipleship in the spiritual and physical growth of our
membership. As a result, Mount Tabor has become a seven-day
church, with various Bible study and fellowship opportunities.
In striving to be
spiritually redemptive, educationally respectable and socially
responsible we have reached outside the walls in order to reach
our community for the Lord. We have held several community
oriented evangelistic events such as our evangelistic block
parties, community prayer walks, and worship services at
Fairmount House, a residential facility.
With the Word of
God as our guide, it is our desire to continue to Make A
Difference in the Community for the Kingdom of God.
The history of
Mount Tabor Baptist Church reveals interesting facts about the
physical growth of the church, while depicting a colorful trail
over which the brave and determined forbearers of our present
church generation traveled many years ago.
for the past, faith in the present and hope for the future,
Mount Tabor Baptist Church is moving toward new ministry
challenges, building upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. We
will continue to dedicate our lives to service, perpetuating
Christian principles of love, peace and truth in God. We thank
God for this great church, and we pray that the future will
become even greater in spiritual uplift and outreach with Pastor
Ponder as our shepherd.
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