Tabernacle Church

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  • Tabernacle Church, which split from the First Church of Salem in 1735, has been located on the corner of Washington and Federal streets since 1777. The current church is the third building at that location.
  • Tabernacle is of the trinitarian branch of the oldest Protestant church in the United States, which was organized Congregational in 1629.
  • Tabernacle has the honor of having been the place where the first U.S. American missionaries were commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions on February 6, 1812. The five men to go on that first journey were Reverends Newell, Judson, Nott, Hall and Rice. They were trained to do the work of the "Gospel Ministry" and traveled to Burma, Bombay, India and Ceylon.
  • Two missionaries brought their wives with them on the trip. Rev. Adoniram Judson brought his wife Ann Judson, and Rev. Samuel Newell brought his wife Harriet Newell.
  • South Church, (also Congregational) established in 1775, merged with Tabernacle Church in 1924.
  • DeWitt S. Clark, D.D. was pastor for 37 years at Tabernacle Church.
  • In 1961 Tabernacle Church voted to become a member of the United Church of Christ.
  • The steeple of Tabernacle Church his been lit up at night since 1995, harkening back to the days when sea captains used to use church steeples to navigate coastal waters.
  • Member and local historian Kay Piemonte wrote a history of Tabernacle Church, called "Salem Church with the lighted steeple." She also created a church archive and set up a permanent exhibition of historical materials related to the church.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection -Churches
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Missionaries (Salem)
  • "A little church with a large history: volunteer tells the tale of Tabernacle Church" Salem News, Oct. 14, 2008, p. 2.
  • "Salem Church lights steeple" Salem Evening News, Sept. 30, 1995, p.A7
  • "Campaign lifts spirits at Tabernacle Church" Salem Evening News, Feb. 4, 2002, p.A2
  • Architecture in Salem by Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., p. 118
  • "Remembering those who helped preserve region's history" (Essex County Chronicles) Salem News, July 29, 2013, p. 7