As a result of a small Bible study group, The Tabernacle of Zion was birthed. The group, who met at the Glorious Church of God in Christ in White Plains, Virginia, was under the leadership of Elder Ronald K. Thornhill. None of the members of the bible study group were natives of Lawrenceville; consequently, on Sundays, members of the bible study group would often drive to their individual home churches.
After fellowshipping and studying together every Tuesday for almost a year, the group decided that they wanted to fellowship together permanently. The group felt very strongly about breaking down denominational barriers, since its members had come from a variety of religious backgrounds. It was with this in mind that it was decided that the assembly would be non-denominational. The Church where “Everybody is Somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.”
After much prayer and seeking God’s will, it was also decided that Elder Ronald K. Thornhill would be pastor, and the Church would be named “The Tabernacle of Zion”. Pastor Thornhill’s vision was to reach the town of Lawrenceville, the county of Brunswick, and the surrounding areas for Jesus Christ by equipping saints for ministry. From August to October 1990, there was a diligent search for an available building that would serve as a place of worship. After coming up against many obstacles, an old building was found that used to be a Laundromat and clothing store. The building had not been used for some time. The members began to work diligently to prepare the building. They did everything from washing the walls to laying down carpet. The members stayed up around the clock preparing the church for the dedication service. A building that was once equipped to wash clothes was being prepared to wash souls.
This building was dedicated November 11, 1990, along with the installation of its' pastor, Pastor Ronald K. Thornhill. Bishop Melvin Williams and the True Apostolic Church family from Richmond, Virginia conducted the service.
As the church prospered, it became evident that more space was needed. The Lord gave Pastor Ron the vision that the Old E.E. Vaughan hardware store would become our new place of worship. Again much work was needed to prepare and refine it, but in March 1993, we marched from the “old Tabernacle” across the street to its present location. Services were held in what is now the multi-purpose room, while the main sanctuary was still being renovated. The following year, the inaugural service for what is now the main sanctuary was held. Bishop Perry Lindsey and the Glorious Church of God in Christ Church family from Brooklyn, NY conducted the service.
The mission of the Tabernacle of Zion is “To build a family of believers by putting the love of Jesus into holistic action here and abroad.” “It reminds us that it is ordained of God that the Tabernacle of Zion would be a place where the needs of the total man would be met,” said Pastors Ronald and Patrice Thornhill. This provision can be seen in the various ministries that have been birthed such as: music and dance ministries, nursing home ministry, singles’ ministry, men’s and women’s ministries, couple’s ministry, outreach ministry, Princess Academy (our ministry to young women), My Brother's Keeper (ministry to young men), after school tutoring program, summer youth enrichment program, and the Tabernacle of Zion Christian Learning Center (TOZCLC). As the prayer of the Jabez, God is yet “expanding our territory.” In 2000, 8.6 acres of land located on the “old Highway 58” was purchased and plans were unveiled to build a 700-seat edifice. Under the leadership of our Pastor and Co-Pastor, Patrice Thornhill (who the Lord elevated to that position in 1997), the work of the Lord continues to go forth. Tabernacle of Zion continues to grow bountifully. We give ALL glory to God!