CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

TABERNACLE
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
 
Northeast Corner of Third and Pearl Streets

Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church organized February 27, 1860. The first church at Third and Vine Streets was dedicated November 1, 1860. In 1867 a larger church was founded to be needed and the brick building at Third and Pearl Streets was erected and dedicated in November of 1870. This church was so badly damaged by the tornado (called a cyclone in the parlance of the day) which struck Camden in August 3, 1885 that it was torn down and a brown stone building was erected. The auditorium of this structure was dedicated on October 16, 1887.  The Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church and the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church consolidated in June of 1924 under the name Centenary-Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church, using the edifice at Fifth and Cooper Streets. 

In 1875 members of Tabernacle M.E. Church established a Sunday School at Point Street and North Street in North Camden which, in 1883 became a mission, and in 1889 evolved into State Street Methodist Episcopal Church, at North 6th Street and State Street,

Tabernacle
Methodist
Episcopal
Church

1893

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The following is derived from
George Reeser Prowell's
History of Camden County, New Jersey
published in 1886

In 1856 a few members of the Third Street Methodist Episcopal Church of Camden held devotional meetings in a grove at Coopers Point, and then organized the Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1860 a chapel was built on Third Street, below Vine, in which regular meetings were held. A minister was appointed by the New Jersey Conference.  The society grew rapidly in numbers, and in 1867 the structure at the northeast corner of Third Street and Pearl was built. The debt on the church for a time was a heavy load. However, through perseverance and zealous work, it was greatly diminished. In this church building the society continued to worship until August 3, 1885. On that day the cyclone that did such a vast amount of damage in Camden and Port Richmond, Philadelphia, unroofed the church building and weakened the walls. It was then decided to take down what remained of the old building and in its place construct a new one John B. Betts, a builder, began the work in September, under a contract to erect the present church with a seating capacity of eleven hundred. The south and west sides are of stone and the north and east sides of brick, with the main audience-room on second floor. The cost of the church and furniture was about thirty-two thousand dollars, and it is a beautiful and attractive building. It was dedicated with imposing ceremonies during the summer of 1886. The church membership numbers about six hundred. The Sunday school, of which Walter M. Patton has been superintendent for twelve years, has thirty-five teachers and six hundred scholars. Tabernacle Church is the only Methodist Episcopal Church in Camden north of Cooper Street, and is the only free-seating church of any denomination north of Bridge Avenue.

The following is a list of the ministers who have been stationed at this church by the New Jersey Conference since its organization: Revs. W. S. Barnart, L. La Rue, James White, J. H. Stockton, J. Hickman, S.E. Post, O.K. Fleming, G. K. Morris, E. Hewett, G. S. Sykes, J. S. Heisler and J. Y. Dobbins.  

Additional Notes by Phillip Cohen

In June of 1924 Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church merged with Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church at 115 North 5th Street, the corner of 5th and Cooper Streets. The new congregation was called Centenary-Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church. The property at 3rd and Pearl Streets was acquired and utilized in the construction of the Delaware River Bridge. This bridge is known in our times as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.  

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 12, 1891

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 22, 1911

Philadelphia Inquirer - September 18, 1911
Miss Mehlin

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1924 photo shows the church building partially demolished.

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