“Where even the walls wave a welcome!”
Clinton Baptist Association
The Clinton Baptist Association appointed a “Committee of Three” in 1889 to visit Chillicothe and “report at the next meeting.” When they came, they found a young man by the name of Bartley holding services in the City Hall. A Recognition Council was called and the Peoples Baptist Church was organized with 14 members on July 20, 1890. The church reported 29 members in 1891 and “a meeting place fitted up in good style, a baptistery and robing room and a rented hall.” Rev. Bartley resigned in 1892.
Rev. W. S. Bayne came to Chillicothe in 1895 and found a discouraged flock that had been without a pastor for two years. He began with 30 names on the roll, but 30 more had been added by the end of the year. The records show that 30 of them gave to local expenses and 10 gave to missions. The pastor’s salary was $254.58 that year; $14.94 was spent on the church school; $16 was given to missions.
Tabernacle Baptist Church
A real step of faith was taken in 1897 when the “Old Grove House” was purchased at the corner of Hickory and Main Streets for $5,000 and a chapel costing $6,000 was proposed. At this time the name of the church was changed to “Tabernacle Baptist Church.” It was a long, hard task to get the money, and gifts came from Baptists all over Ohio as well as from many interested citizens of Ross County. The chapel was first used in 1899, but the huge debt delayed dedication until October 3, 1903. There was steady growth in interest and spirituality and the church became self-supporting in 1921.
A group of dedicated pastors followed, each one being used to build a faithful congregation. On April 10, 1955, ground was broken for a new sanctuary that was first occupied on February 24, 1957 during the Pastorate of Rev. Herschel Roper. It was a thrilling day when the congregation marched into the new sanctuary singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” The final payment of the sanctuary indebtedness was made on March 28, 1963.
Stepping out on faith under the leadership of Rev. Charles Lusher and Rev. Robert Hardy we built the first phase of the educational building. The $150,000 structure was dedicated to the glory of God on July 20, 1965.
As time went on we outgrew our beautiful church, known as the “church with the wavy walls.” Again, we dreamed and prayed and on October 11, 1967 voted to proceed with Phase III of our building program, razing the 1899 Chapel, building a new chapel, lounge, Sunday school classrooms and office, and four new administrative offices for the staff.
March 19, 1969 the church voted to go ahead with a general contract of $99,073. On May 22 the cornerstone box was lifted from the 1899 Chapel and opened. It contained two (2) daily newspapers dated August 11 and September 13, 1899, a Journal and Messenger (American Baptist publications), membership list of 78 names, 1899 Indian head penny and a beautiful picture of the proposed new TBC as of 1899. On July 26, 1970, the third phase was dedicated under the leadership of Pastor Arthur J. Eddy.
Tabernacle members are known as a caring, growing and praying church. In early 1983 a remodeling committee was organized and during the next 3-1/2 years many meetings to