In 1899, members of the Church of God and Saints of Christ, hereafter called First Tabernacle Beth El, were living in Baltimore and decided to organize a congregation. At the time, the local pastor was Elder Robert Lewis. After a pastoral change, Prophet William Saunders Crowdy said to the saints “I’m going to send a good man to Baltimore, a man who will stick;” and in 1905 the Prophet sent Elder William Henry Lee.
Elder Lee organized and appointed officers, increased the membership, and secured a place of worship on Watcot Street. Many of the people that heard him preach and talk about Prophet William Saunders Crowdy gave their lives to God.
The congregation moved from Watcot Street to Lafayette Avenue and later was blessed to purchase a house of worship at 906-908 N. Calhoun Street. During the late 1980s, the congregation moved several times. In February 1995, the congregation purchased and moved to their current location, 1606 Ashland Avenue.
Through the years, First Tabernacle Beth El has been blessed with devoted and caring Local Pastors, men who have given their lives to God, the Prophet, the Congregation, and the people of God. The first of those ministers was Elder Robert Lewis, and Elder William H. Lee soon followed. Elder Lee was later appointed an Evangelist and pastored the congregation from 1905 until he passed away in 1941. After the passing of Evangelist Lee, Shammash Charles E. Johnson was placed in charge of the Tabernacle, and later on Shammash Johnson was ordained an Elder of Israel. Elder Charles E. Johnson served as Pastor on two separate occasions, in the early1940s and again from 1952 to 1962. After, Elder Joseph H. Stephenson, who was later appointed Evangelist, and then Evangelist-at-Large, served as Local Pastor from 1962 until his God called him from labor to reward on November 19, 1986. Elder Dr. Charles W. Harris became the Local Pastor in 1987 and who was later appointed Evangelist-at-Large, served until retiring from pastoring on April 26, 2019. Elder Lance L. Hawkins became the Interim Local Pastor of First Tabernacle Beth El on April 26, 2019 and continues to the present.
First Tabernacle Beth El is a house of praise and worship for all people where God has blessed the membership to grow in number and in spirit. The congregation lovingly ministers to the community through Bible Studies, a “Back to School” supplies program, Prison Ministry, Nursing Home Ministry, Thanksgiving Day Basket Drive, community garden, Annual Home Coming services culminating with a Friends and Family cook out, and other charitable activities and outreach.