A Journey of Faith
Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church (“CTBC”) is a member of the American Baptist Churches, USA. CTBC held its first service of worship on July 8, 1962. On August 5, 1962, the newly formed worship group received fifty-four persons as its first members at 308 Dixwell Avenue, New Haven, CT. The new church congregation was organized under the pastoral leadership of Reverend Allen H. Smith, a graduate of Yale Divinity School. Reverend Smith had just completed a year of service as associate minister of the St. Albans Congregational Church, Jamaica, N.Y. After sixteen months of worship, the late Mrs. Lillian O. Wright informed Rev. Smith of the availability of a church building at 449 Newhall Street, Hamden, CT. Rev. Smith, Deacons James Jenkins, Nathaniel Hurse and Trustee Thomas Holloman investigated the property and initiated action to purchase it. The young church hardly had any credit record, so it was necessary for three persons to assume personal liability as guarantors of a mortgage note. Three members -- Deacons Jenkins, Hurse and Trustee Holloman-- assumed liability for the sixteen-month-old church. After moving to the Hamden church facility on Sunday, November 24, 1963, the church experienced steady growth in membership. The membership increased and the church became too small for the needs of the congregation. Trustee Earl Gordon initiated a conversation and a relationship with Eli Whitney Vocational Technical School of Hamden, to explore the possibility of their building trade students constructing a new church. He was successful! Construction began during the academic year of 1974-75 and continued in 1975-76. On Sunday, June 13, 1976, Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church entered its new church; however, the Service of Dedication for the new building was not held until October 31, 1976.
The celebration of the Church’s 25th Anniversary was a joyous occasion. The church had paid its mortgage debt and marked the occasion with a special mortgage burning service on Sunday, October 11, 1987. Since 1987, the membership continued to grow numerically and most importantly, spiritually. The next sixteen years was a time of transition for the church. In 1990 the founder, Rev. Smith, accepted a call to become the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gary, Indiana. In October of 1991, the Church established a Pulpit Search Committee and pastoral assistant, Rev. Bonita Grubbs, served as Interim Pastor. In January, 1993, Reverend Harry Riggs accepted the call to become CTBC’s second pastor. On May 2, 1993, he was introduced to the congregation, along with First Lady Deidre and two young children, Jordan and Alexandra. For eight years, the ministry was to “Glorify God, to Call People to Discipleship, and to Live as a Caring Community”. During Reverend Riggs’ tenure, five associate ministers were added, including Reverend Keith A. King and Reverend Lawrence Aker, respectively, as part-time Youth Ministers. In addition, the following ministries were established: Tuesday Bible Study, Project Love, Praise and Worship, Praise Dancers, Precepts Bible Study, Adelphi Steppers for Christ, a Clothing Closet, the Mary B. Ashford Outreach Support Project, a newsletter, a Tape Ministry, Transportation Ministry, Kids Club, Children’s Discipleship, the Book Club, and the Singles Ministry. A second Sunday morning worship service was implemented at eight o’clock to meet the needs of the growing congregation. Additionally, architectural plans were prepared and the Building By Faith Committee launched efforts for renovation and expansion of the church. In June of 2001, Reverend Riggs accepted a position with The American Baptist Churches, and he left CTBC on August 19, 2001. Reverend Curtis Cofield, II assumed the role of Interim Pastor in September 2001, and Reverend Curtis Cofield, III was appointed in February 2002 to serve as Youth Minister. The Church established a Pulpit Committee that embarked upon finding a new servant to lead God’s plan for His people.
After searching far and wide, on May 16, 2004, the Pulpit Committee presented the names of its candidates before the church and the congregation overwhelmingly selected ‘one of its own’, Reverend Keith Alan King, as the third pastor of CTBC. On July 15, 2004, Reverend King assumed his official role, joined by his wife, First Lady Joaquina (aka “Jaqui) and three children, Caleb, Victoria and Camille. During his tenure, the ministry has been centered on the church becoming unified through the “We Are One Ministry”. Symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel, the ministry establishes a system of care designed to keep members connected by consistently bearing one another’s burdens and celebrating one another’s joys through monitoring, fellowship and activities. Under Pastor’s King’s guidance by the power of the Holy Spirit there has been substantial growth in membership and development. He established a unified Deacon Board, twelve associate ministers accepted the call to preach the gospel and serve God’s people at CTBC, and the first executive minister, Rev. Ronnie Farmer, was appointed in 2017 to assist with church administration. The church facilities were improved through major renovations to the sanctuary, the addition of an elevator, classrooms and office space, and the church acquired five additional properties in the surrounding neighborhood. In addition, various new ministries have been added to meet the needs of the growing and active congregation: the Senior’s Ministry, Prayer and Praying Hands Ministry, Wellness Ministry, Joshua Generation Ministry, Jeremiah 29:11 Ministry, Nehemiah Ministry (addiction support), Friday Night Alive, Marriage Ministry and Faith in Action which expands CTBC’s outreach work in the community feeding the homeless, supporting transitional housing residents, and supporting international efforts in South Africa, Haiti, Togo and Liberia. Finally, Rev. King founded Inextricably Bound (“IB”), a registered community development corporation in 2014. The goal of IB is to support healthy families and provide educational support for youth in New Haven county. IB is one of the primary sponsors of a Summer Enrichment Camp and Leadership Academy that has operated since 2014.
Rev. King and his wife have been married for over 25 years. The work of the Kingdom continues….