PHOTO COURTESY OF TABERNACLE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
By GLORIA SHUTTLESWORTH
WEST PALM BEACH — A church that has been a source of inspiration and empowerment in its neighborhood is celebrating a milestone in a long-term renovation project at its campus.
Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church (TMBC) and TAB Development Inc. welcome the community to a “Dome Topping Off Celebration,” 10:30 a.m. Saturday at its campus, 801 Eighth St.
The celebration commemorates the midway point of the construction of the U.B. Kinsey Education and Community Center, which will offer educational programs for youth, senior citizens tutorial services, and life skills for residents who need help.
On Saturday, community and church officials will gather to unveil a new dome that will be placed atop the front of the educational center, which has been under
construction since August 2013.
Church senior pastor, Rev. Gerald D. Kisner, and its nonprofit arm TAB
Development Inc., came up with the idea for the community center. The nonprofit is set up to collaborate with private entities to promote community development in the northwest neighborhood. One of the ideas was the center.
With funding from an unnamed benefactor, planning for the center started in 2005. The building is in honor of Ulysses Bradshaw Kinsey, a longtime principal at Palmview Elementary and lifetime member of TMBC. Kinsey passed at age 86 in 2005.
The two-story, 15,500 square-foot education and community center is estimated to cost $7 million once completed. In addition to the initial donor, and funds provided by the church, the project received an additional $500,000 from Palm Beach County government due to the efforts of Palm Beach Commissioner Addie Greene.
With the addition of the dome, church officials say, the structure will be 50 percent complete. The aluminum dome lighted at night will be a contemporary interpretation of twin domes across Division Street to the historic TMBC built in 1924 and the first school for African-American students.
The architect, Francis Lusser designed the “shimmering beacon” to signal hope in the heart of one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
In an effort to empower the community and remind them of the light that shines in the midst of turmoil the center will provide after school tutorial sessions for elementary and middle school students. Life-skill sessions will be available to help students cope socially, emotionally, and behaviorally, to peer pressure such as bullying.
Beyond coping mechanisms, the center will
address the artistic interests of children in dance and other creative endeavors. Additionally, computer technology classes will be offered to students and adults. TAB Development will partner with the City of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County in order to assist adults in navigating the various perceived or real barriers citizens encounter when dealing with governing agencies.
Negotiations with the staff at Florida Atlantic University have been proposed to provide referrals for health services and other resources to people who find it difficult to find medical treatment and other social services.
The concept of the UBKECC is one of Kisner’s visions to bring the church beyond the walls of the structure out into the community.
The officers and members of TMBC are planning a celebration of their milestone and the Pastor and First Lady Mami Kisner’s 20 years of service to Tabernacle Missionary Church and the Palm Beach County community.
The public is invited to the gala which will be held 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the Doubletree Hotel/PGA and church services 9:50 a.m. Sunday, April 19. Rev. Dequincy Heinz of New Rochelle, N.Y., will preside.
For more information, please call (561) 832-8338 or (561) 389-6751.