TABERNACLE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE, INC
The Tabernacle of Prayer for all People, Inc, the Center of Hope, is a Christian organization. We are a church of the Lord Jesus Christ in which the word of God is preached, and the doctrine of sanctification and holiness are emphasized as being essential to the salvation of mankind (Hebrews 12:14). We are a Pentecostal Holiness church, built on the foundation of the word of God, Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.
Founded in August of 1969 by Apostle Johnnie L. Washington, the church was born on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, where he stood and boldly preached the gospel of Jesus Christ on the corners of Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenue, Fulton and Franklin Avenue, and Rockaway Avenue and Broadway, as well as Eighth Avenue and Forty-Second Street in New York City.
The church had humble beginnings. In a little storefront in Brooklyn, NY, at 34 Rockaway Avenue, Apostle Washington walked into a prayer meeting, and as soon as he came through the door, the people started calling him Pastor. He reluctantly accepted the position with the thought that he would serve as Pastor until a permanent replacement was found, because it was his desire to work on the evangelistic field, but God had other plans for him.
The church grew quickly, and soon the little congregation had to move. They secured a building directly across the street, at 41 Rockaway Avenue. The church was located over a bar, which troubled Apostle Washington greatly. They went in and prayed and had church and glorified God until the owner of the bar had to go out of business. The old bar was transformed into their dining hall. Seeing a need for the people to know the word of God, the Tabernacle Bible Institute was established in 1970. The first graduating class consisted of fifty people.
Returning to his roots as a street preacher, Apostle Washington, directed by God, put up a tent on the corner of Fulton Street and Claremont Avenue in June of 1973. Many souls came to Christ as a result, and their building, which held about 350 people, was suddenly too small. God added to the church such as should be saved. At the same time, the Bible School was experiencing phenomenal growth. Larger quarters had to be acquired.
Apostle Washington was directed to an old synagogue on the corner of Glenmore and Miller Avenues that had been deserted for years. The church acquired the building, and on the fourth Sunday in August 1974, the Tabernacle of Prayer marched into their new home at 503 Glenmore Avenue. The church seated about 1200 people and was packed the opening day. The next Sunday however the little congregation seemed to be swallowed up in this huge building. According to Apostle Washington, “You could have thrown a brick in the place and not it a soul," but he was a man of faith, and believed he was in God's will.
In the summer of 1976, the Big Gospel Tent was set up on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Hopkinson Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. For six weeks, the church experienced a mighty move of God. Souls were saved, the sick were healed, and the word of God was preached without compromise. 2200 souls were saved, 900 received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and hundreds were healed from sicknesses and chronic diseases, as Apostle Washington preached the word of God with power and authority.
Returning to the church the next week after the tent revival was over, Apostle Washington was surprised to see that the church was filled. The people had followed him back to the church. From as far away as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, people came to be a part of the ministry. The church grew so fast that many had to come to Sunday School just to secure their seat for the morning service. Once again, it was time for the church to move.
Apostle Washington began riding through Brooklyn looking for larger quarters. The church had put a down payment on a building that they thought would be suitable for them to have church, but it was bought out from under them. Apostle Washington in his frustration went home, went to bed, pulled the covers over his head, and told God he was through looking for a church. “I had done all I could do,” he said.
About a half hour after the Apostle conceded defeat, he received a call from the owner of the Loews theatre corporation, with the news that he had another building that he thought he would be interested in. When asked where it was, he told him it was in Jamaica. "Not interested” the Apostle stated, “I want to stay in Brooklyn." The owner told him that if he was interested, he was prepared to GIVE the building to him! The man of God's interest was greatly piqued, and he called his driver and went to see the place.
When he got there, he found that it was the historic Loews Valencia theatre, which was known in its day as the Showplace of Queens, now deserted for years. God had given it to the Tabernacle of Prayer. Apostle Washington took the officials of the church to see the building. Those who were with him saw mold and decay, but he saw beyond the dust and debris and the smell and saw a magnificent sanctuary to the glory of God. The money the church had saved to buy a building went into renovation. The membership went in and helped clean up the place and repaired the broken seats. A professional painter was hired to restore the building to its former beauty. In October of 1977, the Tabernacle of Prayer for all People, the Center of Hope marched into its present location, 165-11 Jamaica Avenue, in Jamaica, NY
The church continued to experience phenomenal growth, as Apostle Washington returned to his first love, street evangelism, going forth in great tent crusades across the country, with souls being saved, the sick being healed, and the Lord adding to the church such as should be saved. Through the Apostle's preaching and evangelistic outreach, churches were established in various cities across the country, and men and women were sent out to Pastor and feed the flock of God. The Tabernacle Fellowship grew to about fifty churches across the eastern seaboard, Louisiana, Mississippi and California, as well as numerous Bible Institutes across the country.
In His infinite wisdom, the Lord saw fit to call Apostle Washington from labor to reward on April 22, 1986. After much prayer and fasting, the Lord sent Bishop Ronny Davis from Apopka, Florida to take up the mantle and carry the ministry forward. A man of great faith, he preaches the gospel without fear or compromise. We have seen God perform miracle after miracle as a result of the prayers of His servant, and we believe God for greater as we continue to seek His favor. In the words of Bishop Davis, “The Best is Yet to Come!"