The Beginning Period
It was 1915 to 1932, on Grays Ferry Avenue where the Tabernacle Baptist Church was organized, but the history of Tabernacle Baptist Church and Tenth Memorial Baptist Church are intertwined, as the records will show. The Tabernacle Baptist church was located on the 1500 block of Lombard Street under the leadership of the Reverend Alfred C. Williams. It then moved to the old Royal Theater at Sixteenth and South Streets to accommodate the growing congregation. They again moved to 2103-2109 Columbia Avenue at the sum of $1,200.00. In 1926 Reverend A. C. Williams resigned as pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church. Between the year of 1927 and 1930, following World War I and preceding the crash of the Stock Market in 1929, which paralleled with the “Great Depression” of the 1930s, in 1927, the Reverend J. E. Thompson was called to pastor Tabernacle Baptist Church. These were indeed bad times for the Black community and Black church.
At Nineteenth and Master Street stood a church building which had dissolved as an active church, partly due to the passing of their pastor, The Reverend Frank Hasting. The church’s name was The Tenth Baptist Church. The neighborhood had changed from white to black and a suitable replacement for Reverend Hasting was hard to find. The building was turned over to the Baptist Union who in turn offered it to Tabernacle Baptist. They were overjoyed at the chance to worship in a real church, but because of the economic situation throughout America, the joy was short lived. The church was repossessed in 1932, and the church was divided. Reverend Thompson took most of the membership and the church’s name. With the help of the Baptist Union who made arrangements to rent the Nineteenth and Master Street building to the remaining members, another church was organized, thus began the formal history of The Tenth Memorial Baptist Church; named as a memorial to the past members of the Tenth Baptist Church. With One-hundred and seventy-five membership cards signed in December 1931, the church was reorganized and the Reverend Matthew A. Foster was installed as the Pastor of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in 1932. After being Pastor for 5 years and 10-months, his tenure ended in 1937.
The Allen T. Dixon Era
In 1937, a unanimous decision was made to call Reverend Allen T. Dixon of Daytona Beach, Florida who had preached a two-week revival at Tenth Memorial. Reverend and Mrs. Dixon came to Philadelphia in October of 1938.
The economic situation in the United States was looking up at this point. This new economic growth was reflected by the renewed growth of Tenth Memorial during the first decade under the leadership of Reverend Dixon. Mrs. Dixon was deeply involved in the ministry of the church. To pay tribute to this great woman of God, The Music Club was renamed the Rosa M. Dixon Memorial Choir after her untimely death in 1959. On November 12, 1967, Tenth Memorial paused to pay tribute to one of its outstanding members, Mrs. A. M. Turner. She served as church clerk for thirty-seven years. Through her efforts, such organizations as the Nurses Unit, and Senior Ushers and Ladies Auxiliary were organized.
On December 2, 1967, a fire destroyed Tenth Memorial Baptist Church. Devastating the members and bring tears to Reverend Dixon’s eyes, with pain in his heart, he was determined to rebuild. As Reverend Dixon put together his plan to rebuild and committee to do so, Reverend W. E. Cook pastor of Enon Baptist Church opened its doors to the now homeless Tenth Memorial Baptist Church for what developed into a sixteen-month harmonious fellowship; functioning as two churches in one facility. On April 20, 1969, Reverend Dixon led his congregation into a beautifully renovated edifice. On April 19, 1970, after thirty-two years of leadership, Reverend Dixon passed from labor to reward.
When Reverend Allen T. Dixon died, Tenth Memorial fell into a state of shock. After a time of mourning, the church moved into action. Many ministers were heard during this time of transition. But the church was still without a shepherd.
On Tuesday, September 21, 1971, a church meeting was called to elect a pastor. On October 24, 1971, Reverend Woodrow W. Robinson was installed as pastor of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church. This was the beginning of a new era in the history of the church. On February 16, 1973, after a very brief illness, Reverend Robinson died from cardiac arrest. In March of 1973, Tenth Memorial was again looking, watching and praying for a pastor. The Board of Deacons appointed a Pulpit Committee whose members consisted of Deacon James E. Cauley, Sr., Paul Hagins, Russell Green and Kinzey Staley. Two ministers were selected as candidates, Reverend Lonnie Simon of Ohio and Reverend William B. Moore of North Carolina. May 10, 1974, was set as the day to vote. Pastor William B. Moore was elected overwhelmingly to become the next pastor of the Tenth Memorial Baptist Church. Thus begins a new era. Pastor and Mrs. Moore came as a team. They were united in ministry with a heart for the people of God.
Pastor William B. Moore – A New Beginning
The senior pastor of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, The Rev. Dr. William B. Moore, is joined by his wife Lady Pauline Moore inside Pastor’s office
1974 to Present
On November 15, 1974, Reverend and Mrs. Moore moved into the newly renovated parsonage at 1848 West Master Street. The “action” which Is characteristic of Reverend Moore’s administration had begun. The presence of Rev. and Mrs. Moore acts as a catalyst for the total membership. Reverend Moore was installed as pastor of the church on Sunday, March 2, 1975. The Tenth Memorial had now become a church with a purpose that extended far beyond its four walls. The church was again threatened by fire on February 15, 1976, and once again Enon opened its doors. Much talent and individual leadership came to the surface in the year 1977. Without a doubt, we can affirm our Motto: “If God is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?”
The new era brought many changes to Tenth. While the church was recouping from the fire, we could rejoice through the rubble. For the first time in its history, just a few months after the fire, a baby, Tamieka Nicole, was born during the tenure of the pastor.
Commitment and faith in a powerful God caused Lady Moore to sacrifice gainful employment at Westcode America to become the first Administrative Assistant at Tenth Memorial.
Through faith and prayer, God has abundantly blessed Tenth Memorial to become one of the great churches in Philadelphia.
The following represents some of the accomplishments made or continued at Tenth Memorial under the leadership of Reverend William B. Moore: 114 souls were added to the church in 1977, Tenth Memorial’s “Year for Christ”
The Blood Bank
Saturday Church School
Noon Day Prayer
Monday Morning Bible Study
Track Attack Squad
New Members Training
Evangelistic Task Force
Deacons’ Training Class
Sunbeam Children’s Choir
Pastor’s Partners in Bible Reading
Tape Service for Shut-Ins
Senior Citizen Bus Ministry
The Laymen’s Movement Organized/Sponsor of Men’s Day
The Robinson Memorial Youth Choir
One-On-One New Members’ Training Class
Rapid Response Ministry
New Member Buddy System
The woman gave $15,000 (No Fundraising)
Pastor becomes the first African American to chair the American Tract Society
Urban Suburban Partnership – Pulpit Exchange Services
Pastor Co-Chaired the Billy Graham Crusade in Philadelphia
William B. Moore Manor opened May 17, 1992, for senior citizens
New Housing Development – 19th to 20th and Master Street
President Black Clergy Philadelphia & Vicinity
Pastor one of the founding members of the United Bank of Philadelphia (Black-owned)
1987 thru 2007 – Chair, City-wide Revival
1999 – Pastor was appointed the chair of the Foreign Mission Board
2000 – Pastor initiated the Ministry of Praise & Worship
Pastor initiated Noon-Day/Wonderful Wednesday Worship
Sept 2002 – Pastor Chaired the President’s Banquet at the 122nd Annual Session
of the National Baptist Convention for the Tri-State area
Sept 2007 – Pastor was Co-Chair of Host Committee of the National Baptist Convention,
USA, Inc., Philadelphia, PA