The History

Reverend Lester C. Smith had a vision from God to organize a Church. On Sunday, February 6, 1938, a group of Christian believers came together for their first Service in the Lecture Room of the Faith Tabernacle (Mutchmore Memorial) Baptist Church, located at 1728-34 W. Montgomery Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, where Reverend E. Theodore Lewis was Pastor.   There were 150 people present and Reverend Lester C. Smith preached the Sermon.  The offering of $155.63 was raised.  It was here, where we worshipped for eight weeks.

On Wednesday, February 23, 1938, the Church was organized.  Reverend S.G. Means, Pastor of Means Temple presided at the meeting; Mr. Harper of Calvary Baptist Church acted as Secretary; three people were accepted for baptism: Sister Linnie Hamilton, Brother Edward Watson and Brother James Hamilton. 170 people joined the Church.  During this time at Faith Tabernacle the Church was formally organized as a regular Missionary Baptist Church and Reverend Lester C. Smith was elected as Pastor.  In forming the Church, meetings were held at different homes. We were without a name and Sister Isabelle Addison suggested the name, Smith’s Temple.  This name was carried for only one week.  Pastor Smith did not feel the Church should be named for him and he suggested Mt. Sinai Tabernacle Baptist Church, this was agreed upon and accepted.

The first election of Officers was held; Deacon Samuel Addison, Chairman, Board of Deacons; Brother Willie Robinson, Chairman, Finance Committee; Deacon James Brown, Church Treasurer; Sister Vivian Ruth Martin, Church Clerk; Sister Isabelle Addison, President, Deaconess Board; Sister Beatrice J. Glover, President, Senior Choir (which was organized at the home of Sister Emma R. Johnson, 1527 French Street); Deaconess Clara Louise Freely, Superintendent, Sunday School; Sister Vivian Ruth Martin, President, Young Adult’s Choir (later changed to the Celestial Choir); Sister Mary Boyd, President, Lester C. Smith Chorus; Sister Louise Singleton, President, Prayer Band; Sister Willie Mae Champ, President, Missionary Society; Sister Alice Orr, President, Usherette Board; Brother Obie Mobley, President, Male Ushers; Sister Pauline Cox, President, Who-So-Everwill Club and Sister Annie Lenear, Supervisor, Junior Ushers.

Members of the Boards were: Deacons: William Robinson, Felix Glenn, Allen Baker, William Freely, James Brown, Claude Baxter, Sr., Elliott Bright, Pink Childs and Mr. Landis. Deaconess: Annie L. Outterbridge, Sally Bright, Mamie Childs, Cora Baker, Nellie Robinson, Mable Davis, Mattie Henderson, Willie L. Smith and Clara Louise Freely.

During this time we purchased a residential property at 2255 N. 10th St. as living quarters for our Pastor and his family.

As Founders, we sought a place of Worship where we could continue our work for the Lord. Under the leadership of Pastor Smith, a location was found, a vacant garage at 1537 W. Thompson Street. We labored for one week through the cold and the rain until the midnight hour of Saturday, April 1, 1938, preparing the garage for a House of Prayer.  On Easter Sunday, April 2, 1938, at 5am we came together for our first Religious Service in our new location, as one body in Christ.  This location was only a temporary home, for God had given Pastor Smith a vision of a bigger and better place.

At the end of 1938, God blessed our Church under Pastor Smith’s leadership to purchase an old dilapidated storehouse on the S.E. Corner of 17th and (1632 W) Poplar Streets. The men, women, children and friends of the Church labored faithfully and untiringly without gratuity. The only paid person was the carpenter, who supervised the renovation of the street floor. We removed tons and tons of debris from the building to make way for a place to Worship.