Flags from more than 50 countries adorned Tabernacle Church, Miami, Fla., parking lot as they celebrated their annual International Weekend and Homecoming. For more than 55 years, Tabernacle has celebrated various countries that are represented in its membership. Various nations in the Caribbean, South America, Central America, North America, and Europe have been highlighted through the years. This year’s featured country was Haiti. Many of the members of the church hail from Haiti, and Tabernacle chose to capture the beauty and culture of the first Black-led republic and first independent Caribbean state. Janice Marshall, activities ministries leader, shared, “We as members of Tabernacle are also concerned as to how the Christian members of that country are dealing with recent disasters. We want to share ways to help heal our brothers and sisters.”
Friday night opened Sabbath with two Tabernacle families who have been a part of the church for several decades. The White and English families shared their Friday night worship with the church. Ruth White and Esther English had worshipped together as siblings in their home in Jamaica. The families used this service to lift their voices in song, testimonies, and prayers of thanksgiving for another homecoming celebration. Their worship was shared to help gain a better understanding of the theme of the weekend, “History through Song.”
Tabernacle has a rich history of music in its 44 years as a church. The programming throughout the weekend delved into the impact music has in lives today. The Sabbath School program discussed the role music has in the church. Longtime Tabernacle member Lenward McCalla spoke of the physiological impact that music has on many during the Sabbath School presentation. “There is a physiological response when we hear music and when we sing. It makes us feel better and reduces depression. It reduces stress. God set it up that way so when we praise Him, we get a physical, mental, and spiritual benefit.” Melvyn Warfield, pastor of the Community Praise Center in Alexandria, Va., was the guest speaker for the weekend. His sermon, “Songs in the Night,” continued the theme of history of songs as he shared how music can change one’s spirit to do right.
Various artists that consider Tabernacle their church home were interviewed. They shared how their start with music and their early musical interests with their home church had made an influence in their lives. For some it was a particular event, for others it was a person who made them know music was their career.
Southeastern | February 2022