First Tabernacle Beth El, Chicago

First Tabernacle Beth El, Chicago

Church of God and Saints of Christ

Elder James Holley, Local Pastor
515 E. 41st Street, Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 268-4933 or 268-4934 |Email Us |Facebook

History of the Tabernacle

The city of Chicago has a rich history. It is the Midway to the West, known for its airports, labor unions, immigration and gangster history. It is the home of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and the place where Soul Train and Earth Wind and Fire began. Chicago is a city with great museums, delicious dining, amazing music, popular teams in every major sport, and many sites to enjoy like Navy Pier.

The greatest history of Chicago that the world should know is the time Prophet William S. Crowdy spent here in the 1890s. After coming up to Chicago from Texas, Prophet Crowdy sacrificed to establish God’s work in this city. Sometimes he went days without food, and was arrested more than once. Each time, he would go right back to the street and preach, often on the corner of State and Polk Street. It was in Chicago that, while Prophet Crowdy was being arrested, a drunk Irishman told him to organize himself and have his members ordain him and he would have less trouble. This contributed to him establishing the official organization Church of God and Saints of Christ in 1896. After his time in Chicago, Prophet Crowdy headed East to preach The Whole Plan of Salvation.

Prophet Crowdy set up Elder Xavier Schnider to minister in Chicago from 1899-1901. Next was Elder Edward Kennedy, followed by Elder Roswell Roles, Sr. who ministered from 1908-1925. Elder Roles was one of the first blacks to graduate from Harvard University. As many as 700 persons joined the congregation in Chicago during his time. Property was purchased on Dearborn Street in May 1913, and was operated as a Home and Place of Refuge for scores of children. This goodwill was successful for 10 years.

In 1926 Evangelist Charles Edward Taylor was sent to Chicago by Bishop William H. Plummer. He was Elder Taylor at the time. Bishop Plummer said “Taylor is worth six men and I wish I had twelve more like him.” Evangelist Taylor was loving to the Chicago members and a firm supporter of Headquarters. He enjoyed spending time throughout the week with members and his house hosted prayer services, weddings, and had a room that was Rabbi Howard Z. Plummer’s room. From the teaching and love that Evangelist Taylor showed and left on record, Chicago members affectionately use the term Taylor Made.

The house was willed to the church by Evangelist Taylor; and signed over to the Chicago Tabernacle by GMS, St. L. Bernice Plummer. Now his home is the house of worship in Chicago, at 515 East 41st Street. In the 1980s Elder David Merritt and Elder Joseph Palmer were instrumental in starting the renovation and securing the necessary papers needed from headquarters (GTT’s) and downtown officials with the assistance of Elder Nathaniel Byrd. It was successful thanks to the hard construction work of Deacons George Johnson, Emerson Cunningham, Lloyd Cheatham and Brother Donald Moore.

After the passing of Evangelist Taylor in 1971, Rabbi Howard Z. Plummer took charge and Elder Robert Marshall (who was appointed Assistant Pastor by Evangelist Taylor) continued to support the work. After Elder Marshall, the ministers that pastored in Chicago leading up to the present day are as follows:

  • Rabbi William E. Stewart
  • Elder David Merritt
  • Elder Joseph Palmer (later became Rabbi Palmer)
  • Elder Jhames Holley Jr. (present)

The members of Chicago, through the years, are known for their singing and prancing. Some great singers come out of this congregation, including members of the Flamingos and The Dells. Most notably, the late John E. Carter, grew up in this congregation. Members of the group said they always had prayer before performing. Elder Josiah Wilson, Saint Rhoda Jackson, Brother J.C. Carey, and the late Saints Sheba Griffin, Druscilla Wilson, and Stephen Carter are just a few of many more who bless the world with their voices, rooted in their Chicago spiritual upbringing.

The mission of the Chicago Tabernacle going forward is to build on the great legacy of devoted service to mankind, distinguished praising to God, and diligent support of Headquarters.

Submitted by,

Elder Jhames Holley Jr., Local Pastor

Sister Elder Diana Byrd, Tabernacle Secretary