A Message From Our Interim Pastor, Rev. Wayne Dawson
“Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”, the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Matthew 16:18 addressing the Apostle Peter.
I believe 30 years ago the Lord put that same message on the heart of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah B. Pryce the founding pastor of Grace Tabernacle Baptist, a church built upon Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Indeed the year was 1987, Ronald Reagan was president, Dick Celeste was the Governor of Ohio, George Voinovich was the Mayor of Cleveland, a gallon of gas was 89-cents, and the Indians, Cavaliers and Browns were still struggling to find keys to success.
Its safe to say 1987 was an ordinary year, except for one thing, a summertime breakfast meeting between Rev. Pryce and James Harper in which Rev Pryce shared his God-given vision to start a multi-racial, multi-cultural, bible-centered congregation in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs.
That vison is now a 30-year reality. The history of Grace Tabernacle is a story of God’s faithfulness combined with the faith and obedience of its Servant-leader Rev. Pryce, his wife Juliet and their family. What started as a home-based bible-study group has blossomed into a multi-faceted ministry serving the needs of its members and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through various ministries both inside the outside the church.
But the journey was not easy, there were many starts and stops, various tests of faith, indeed a prolonged wilderness experience before God finally led them to the promised land, Lyndhurst, Ohio to what is now the Grace Tabernacle Baptist Church.
Through the good times and the bad they’ve held on to God’s unchanging hand and He has blessed them, giving the strength and the perseverance to keep on keeping on.
Rev. Pryce’s dream of building God’s church has now become his legacy, 30 years on the battlefield, 30 years of teaching, encouraging, equipping and empowering the saints to proclaim to a dying world that Jesus is Lord. Grace Tabernacle Baptist has indeed become, “A Strong Foundation Built To Last”. Glory to God.
While the church is still mourning the passing of Rev. Pryce earlier this year, God’s plan marches on. The goal now is to build on strong foundation that our founder has laid, to continue to express the qualities of faith, joy, grace, love, peace and hope, all qualities of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, knowing only what we do for Christ will last.
It is my honor to serve as this church’s Interim Pastor, only the second Pastor this church has ever known, following in the footsteps of a great man of God. With my wife LaVerne by my side, my prayer is my actions and my decisions make Rev Pryce proud, make this congregation proud, but more importantly are pleasing to my Heavenly Father. With that in mind I’m determine to listen to that still small voice and to follow the guidance of Christ who is and always will be the head of His church, the Chief Shepard. And as I follow Christ my prayer is this church, God’s church, will follow me. I am indeed the least among you, but like Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
It has been a glorious 30-years, and it is time to pause and celebrate, but the work of the Lord continues as we point to the future. As Jesus said in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”. With that in mind it is time for us to get busy to continue the work of our founding pastor, to continuing celebrating the past while engaging the future knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt with God on our side, the best is yet to come. To God be the glory.
Rev. Wayne Dawson, Interim Pastor
Grace Tabernacle Baptist Church