We are Tabernacle United Church, people of many ages, colors, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender identities, family structures, vocations, avocations and faith journeys sharing our joys and concerns, praying for each other, caring for each other, studying, working, playing, and worshiping together.
We are a community run church, led in the Presbyterian and United Church of Christ traditions by the Pastor and a Council of elders elected from the congregation. We share the duties of planning the worship services, writing the prayers, picking quotes for the bulletin cover, greeting visitors, hosting coffee hour, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, leading the education forums, visiting and cooking meals for the sick, injured, and bereaved, and preaching one fifth of the sermons.
Lectionary Bible Study Affinity Group
The Lectionary Bible Study Affinity Group meets one night a week to read and discuss the Bible passages from the lectionary which shape the service for the coming Sunday, educating each other and enriching the worship experience with preparation.
Open and Affirming (ONA) Affinity Group
The Open and Affirming (ONA) Affinity group's purpose is to educate the congregation about the issues and concerns of LGBTQI people in order to be a radically welcoming, caring church. The group also works to inform the wider community not only of those issues but also to make the LGBTQI communities aware that Tabernacle United Church is a safe, loving congregation where all people are welcome and included in all aspects of church life. Tabernacle Church hosts a welcoming booth at the three pride events in Philadelphia each year: Sunday Out in May in the Piazza; the Pride parade and Festival at Penns Landing in June; and Outfest in October.
Sustainable Living Affinity Group
The Sustainable Living Affinity Group members read and discuss books on humanity's role in the environment, support each other in reducing ecological impact, maintain our Philadelphia Sustainability Resources web page, and make recommendations on policy to the Church Council, such as reducing our weekly paper usage through a smaller bulletin and our once-a-month paperless Sunday, and supporting the Gaviotas Carbon Offset Initiative in order to be carbon negative.
The main focus of the FuN! Group is community building--identifying our connections and making new friends while having FuN! with others in the Tab Community. Our motto is "No pressure!" We all experience plenty of that in other areas of our lives and we want the FuN! Group to be a place at Tab where we can let go of that. Some of the FuN! things we have organized include tTab’s annual Advent Party, Game Nights, Movie Nights, "Tab at home" neighborhood gatherings, the restroom handprint wall painting, and adventures featuring hikes in the Wissahickon, Mann Music Center summer concerts and Italian Market and Chinatown tours.
Members of the congregation meet once a year to vote on the church's budget, the terms and call of the Pastor, and the election of Council members. Council is composed of eight ordained Elders. Four council members are elected by the congregation at each Annual Meeting to serve two year terms, and each Elder may serve up to six years consecutively. Council is responsible for interviewing and approving prospective members and Elders, approving a budget to be recommended to the congregation at the Annual Meeting, authorizing expenditures for projects and mission activities during the year, receiving regular reports from the Pastor, clerk, and treasurer, setting policy, approving building usage by other groups, and discussing and working to improve the operation of the church and our life together as a community. Council has ten regular business meetings a year (monthly except for August and December) moderated alternately by the Pastor and an elder Vice Moderator elected by Council, plus a one day retreat, and irregular meetings as necessary. While Council is responsible for policy, Council traditionally votes to defer identity-shaping policy decisions such as our declarations of Sanctuary and More Light/Open and Affirming status to a vote of the congregation.