Over 239 Years in God's Ministry
Over two hundred thirty years ago, a small group of people who lived in the Northeastern part of Shamong Township were organized into a Society of Methodists by a young missionary named John Brainard. John’s brother, David, was the first English missionary to the American Indians, and Brother John followed in his footsteps.
In 1778, the settlers here, with the help and encouragement of John Brainard, erected a one-room log Church on the present site of the Tabernacle Cemetery at the intersection of what are now Chatsworth and Carranza Roads. It was named The Tabernacle In The Wilderness. Both Indians and settlers gathered there to worship God. When John Brainard organized the building of the Church in 1778, his territory included all of New Jersey, half the state of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
With the arrival of more settlers in the area, a small community began to take shape around the Church. Since it was the social, as well as the spiritual center of the community, it seemed quite natural that the community began to be known as Tabernacle.
In 1803, William Wilkins, who had acquired land around the Church, deeded what is now the Old Cemetery, to Hosea B. Moore and others for the use of the Church. For awhile, the Church building was also used as a school. In 1815, the Church was part of the New Mills Circuit (New Mills being the early name for Pemberton). In 1855, a one-room school was built across the road from the Church, where the present Town Hall parking lot is located.
As the community grew with the influx of new families moving into the area, the wilderness began to give way to rich productive farmland through the tireless efforts of the hard-working families. By 1880, 121 years ago, the Church was inadequate for the membership, and under the leadership of Rev. George Reeves, the present sanctuary was raised on land deeded to the Church by Joseph Mathis. On February 16, 1881, the building was dedicated by the Presiding Elder, Rev. Samuel E. Post, as the Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church.
During the late 1800’s the Church was a part of a circuit with Indian Mills, Atsion, and Dicksontown, but the circuit later disbanded.
On May 18, 1888, ground was broken for a new parsonage. The labor was given by the men of the Church and community, with the total cost of the house being $1,400.00. In September, Rev. Howell and his family moved into the new parsonage. The amount of indebtedness was $900.00, but by April in the year 1900, the mortgage was burned in a special ceremony, and the buildings were free of any debt.
At the Annual Conference in 1942, the Chatsworth Methodist Church was added to the circuit, making it a three point charge, with Indian Mills and Tabernacle. With the Church and Church School growing, a need for additional room was recognized. In 1955, the building for Church School and Fellowship was added. With the leadership of Rev. Tom Wright, once again much of the work was donated by the congregation. In 1961, an additional parcel of land, ¾ of an acre, was purchased from F. Winfield Haines to extend the Church property to the rear of the buildings.
In 1967, after 189 years as a member of a circuit of churches, the Administrative Board voted to request permission of the Annual Conference that this Church become a full-time church supporting it’s own minister. Through the efforts of the Pastor, Rev. William Stockton, and the support of the District Superintendent, Rev. George R. Propert, the Conference approved this change. This same year, Raymond Carter was granted permission to begin studies for the Ministry by our Charge Conference. In 1975, Rev. Carter came back to our Church as its Pastor and the Chatsworth Church once again joined us as a two-point Charge. On September 15, 1996, after many years of delays, ground was broken for our new Fellowship Hall and Church School facilities. The Fellowship Hall upper level was completed and dedicated in 1998.
In July of 2003 the two-point charge was separated by the actions of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.
In July of 2006 the two-point charge was reconnected by the action of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference in an attempt to try a new type of ministry with Mr. Tim Smalley starting the process of becoming a Certified Lay Minister under the supervision of Rev. George Softly
In May of 2006 the Lower Level of the 1996 addition was completed with the addition of five educational rooms.
This Church has a rich and interesting history. We praise God for our heritage and the lives that have been changed through the ministry of his Church. To God be the glory.
Pastor's of Tabernacle UMC
Rev. George Reeves (1878-1881)
Rev. Peter Carty (1881)
Rev. E.J. Guyme (1881)
Rev. Willard (1881)
Rev. Henry J. Zelley (1881-1882)
Rev. H.J. Heineman (1882-1883)
Rev. John Simpson (1883-1885)
Rev. George Reeves (1885-1888)
Rev. Francis Howell (1888-1891)
Rev. John A. Oakes (1891-1893)
Rev. David Fisler (1893-1895)
Rev. Wilbur Nobles (1895-1896)
Rev. J.S. Moore (1896-1898)
Rev. Francis Howell (1898-1902)
Rev. J.F. Lowden (1902-1904)
Rev. William Lister (1904)
Rev. Clarence Woodmansie (1906-1907)
Rev. C.R. Smith
Rev. C.F. Southwick (1910)
Rev. James Garrison (1910-1911)
Rev. L.V. Brewin (1911-1913)
Rev. Percey Perincheif (1913-1914)
Rev. Frank O. Jackson (1914-1916)
Rev. Alfred E. Morris (1916-1917)
Rev. Alexander G. Graham (1917)
Rev. George F. Southwick (1917-1921)
Rev. B.F. Rudy (1921-1922)
Rev. Thomas Hess (1922-1926)
Rev. Floyd Hicks (1926-1927)
Rev. Fred P. Meeks (1927-1930)
Rev. Arthur L. Horner (1930-1932)
Rev. John McKecknie (1932-1934)
Rev. Norman Pangburn (1934-1935)
Rev. Alfred D. Ward (1935-1937)
Rev. Ernest O. Kelloway (1937-1939)
Rev. A.D. Elwell (1939-1940)
Rev. Lewis Bachman (1940-1942)
Rev. Ronald Wyckoff (1942-1943)
Rev. Herbert Bolton (1943-1946)
Rev. W.C. Hitchens (1946-1949)
Rev. Richard Kiern (1949-1951)
Rev. Norman Pangburn (1951)
Rev. Thomas B. Wright (1951-1957)
Rev. George L. Reifsnyder (1957-1963)
Rev. Bernard Shropshire (1963-1965)
Rev. William Stockton (1965-1969)
Rev. George Bewley (1969-1975)
Rev. Raymond Carter (1975-1990)
Rev. Craig M. Pache (1990-1993)
Rev. Carol Farrell, Sr. (1993-1998)
Rev. Steven D. Elliot (1998-2002)
Rev. George Softly (Sr. Pastor 2002)
Rev. Barbra Hoffman (Asst. Pastor 2002)
Rev. George Softly (2003-2015)
Rev. Glenn C. Ferguson (2015-2016)
Rev. Ik-Kuyn (Daniel) Ju (2016-2017)
Rev. Kyle Cuperwich (2017-present)