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 Welcome to Westside Tabernacle Baptist Church History

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 WTBC Brief History

The idea of establishing a church came to Rev. Earl H. Harley when he was then Pastor of Allen A.M. E. Church in Providence.He got together with nine others to form what is now the Westside Tabernacle Baptist Church. They first began on the third Sunday in October 1968 in the home of Sis. Maggie Barnes on Dudley Street in Providence and incorporated the church in 1969. Sis. Minnie Williams became the first organist and Bro. Bennie Williams, the first Deacon.

The first building acquired was at the corner of Hammond and Division Streets.That building was demolished by the city of Providence and Rev. Harley and his members went from home to home to worship until the Lord blessed them to purchase a building near where the current building is located.There, they worshipped until they were able to purchase the lot on which this church currently sits on 134 Bridgham Street in Providence.

On the day of the ground breaking, a politician asked Rev. Harley, “How will you build a church with no money?” He responded, “By faith.” And it is by faith that the building is standing today.The founding members of the Westside Tabernacle Baptist Church included: Rev. Earl H. Harley, Sis. Emily Harley, Sis. Maggie Barnes, Sis. Minnie Williams, Bro. Bennie Williams, Sis. Elizabeth Wilson, Mr. & Mrs. Robert McCulley, Sis. Lila Thompson, Rev. Louisville McIntyre, Sis. Jeanetta McIntyre and Bro. Larry Pollock.

Though the founder members were all African-Americans, Rev. Harley’s Ministry extended beyond Americans to include people of all races and ethnicities, predominantly Liberians who make up the majority of the current membership. Rev. Harley served as pastor from 1969 and retired in early 1990. His ministry was leading all peoples to our Lord Jesus Christ, and helping to meet their physical needs, especially recent immigrants.

Before he retired, Rev. Harley contacted Rev. Louisville McIntyre who was then living in New York to be his successor with Rev. Matthew N. Kai, who was in the church for many years and serving as associate pastor, became Assistant Pastor. Both pastors were officially installed on Sunday, August 19, 1990. The installation sermon was preached by Bishop David Russell. Rev. McIntyre stayed with the church until 1995 leaving Rev. Matthew Kai in charge.

Rev. Kai was officially installed on Sunday, July 12, 1998. His installation sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Sammy Vaughan, of St. James Baptist Church in Woonsocket; the Charge to and installation of Pastor-elect was offered by Rev. Dr. Virgil Wood, then Pastor of Pond St. Baptist Church; and Presentation of the Pulpit was done by Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Earl H. Harley. The church has grown significantly both spiritually, numerically, and the physically structure of the building has improved, most growth under the pastoralship of Rev. Kai.

There are about thirteen ministries within the church meeting both the spiritual and physical needs of members of the church and community. It is Rev. Kai’s vision that with the help of the Holy Spirit, Tabernacle will lead all peoples to return to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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