In the early 1900’s when Prophet William S. Crowdy was in Philadelphia, Thomas C. Person knocked on his door wanting to sell him some silverware. The Prophet and he engaged in a conversation and the Prophet invited him to a service that night where he would be speaking. Thomas accepted the invitation and was convinced, after the speech, that he had heard the truth and joined the church in Philadelphia. He later returned to the Southern Pines area and told his family about his experience. Thomas invited the Prophet to Southern Pines where he preached, and several members of the Person family joined at that time. Bro. Thomas was appointed as a deacon, an Elder, an Evangelist and eventually Bishop of the Western District. The Church of God and Saints of Christ established in Southern Pines, was the first tabernacle in the state of North Carolina, thus being known as First Tabernacle. Bishop T. C. Person was the first Local Pastor of the tabernacle. Family members joining at that time included: Elder Andrew J. Person, Elder Isom W. Person, St. Hessie Person Alston and St. Lucy Jane Person Thomas.
First Tabernacle Beth El is one of the oldest of all tabernacles in the southern part of the United States, established by Bishop T. C. Person in 1902. Other local pastors include Elder Rufus Mundy, Elder Andrew J. Person, Elder Dawson J. Worthy, Evang. Judah A. Person, Jr., Elder Michael Blackston, Elder Seth J. Johnson and presently Elder A. Kevin Medlin.
For a short period, the tabernacle was inactive due to the loss by fire of their edifice located on Connecticut Avenue in Southern Pines. Elder D. J. Worthy was instrumental in pulling the saints back together by holding Sabbath Day services in the home of Bro. James and St. Mary Thelma Dowdy. During that time, the saints began to raise money to erect a tabernacle building. In June 1966 the present edifice was opened for services and dedicated by Rabbi Howard Z. Plummer, G.F.A. Rabbi Plummer sent, then Bro. Clifton C. Farrar to help Elder Worthy in teaching and preaching to the congregation. For eight years, while worshipping at the home of the Dowdy’s and eventually moving into our new building, Bro. Farrar would come to Southern Pines on a monthly basis, often times bringing other members from the Belleville congregation with him. He would assist in sponsoring concerts and inspired the youth to take an active role in the worship service.
Elder Worthy showed the congregation, on December 31, 1972, the bank note indicating that the last mortgage payment was made on the building. He passed away on January 1, 1973. His funeral was the first held in the tabernacle.
This history would not be complete without mentioning the names of those who were fed in Southern Pines and went on to become ministers within this religious body. Deacon Curtis H. Person ordained to the ministry in 1945 and was pastor of Third Tabernacle, Greensboro, NC. Deacon Curtis G. Caldwell was ordained to the ministry in April 1984, he was consecrated a Rabbi in April 1992; pastored Third Tabernacles, Springfield, MA; First Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA; First Tabernacle, Philadelphia, PA and First Tabernacle, Newark, NJ. Bro. Curtis R. Adair was ordained to the ministry in April 1998 and pastored Third Tabernacle Greensboro, NC and First Tabernacle Beth El, Newark, NJ. Deacon A. Kevin Medlin was ordained to the ministry in August 1999 and pastored Sixth Tabernacle, Trenton, NJ; Fifth Tabernacle, Atlantic City, NJ and presently First Tabernacle Beth El, Southern Pines, NC.
Rabbi Jehu A. Crowdy, Jr., G.F.A. during a visit to First Tabernacle, left us this motto: “Come Together Like Never Before.” To this day, we are living by that statement.