Celebration Tabernacle was founded by Pastor E. D. Mondainé in 1988 with the vision of creating a church that would effectively impact its community through inclusion, education, and empowerment. Celebration Tabernacle, a non-denominational church, opened its doors with only three members in a small space on Lombard Avenue in North Portland, only blocks from its current location. Growing in numbers and Biblical understanding, the members of Celebration Tabernacle actively participate in two worship services on Sunday, weekly Bible study, youth and children’s activities, and adult Bible study groups. Since that time Celebration Tabernacle has grown to be a social and spiritual force in both the Christian and secular world. It has become a model of church based community involvement, entrepreneurship, and practical education.
Within a few years of the church beginning, An Evening of Eighty-Eight Keys and PROPER were developed. Eighty-Eight Keys started as an annual awards and entertainment event where numerous church-based musicians, vocalists, and educators were honored and recognized for their work in spreading Gospel music. Now, roughly eighteen years later, they are continuing with the annual recognition but have added regular children’s classes and developed programs such as Musicians Make Better Students. PROPER, originally an acronym for Preachers’ Reaching Oppressed People Expecting Restoration (later changed to People…), was designed as an annual event in the park to bring together the neighborhood people, community resources, good music, free food along with the message of Jesus Christ. PROPER is active in two Portland parks during the summer and a Thanksgiving feed in November; along with an event in St. Louis with our sister church.
Celebration Tabernacle saw the unmet need for local residents to have an outlet that would provide them with much-needed job skills as well as the physical place to demonstrate their newly gained abilities. The Teach Me To Fish (TMTF) program started with Fridays’ Espresso and Sandwich shop in 1994 as a place to train participants in job skills such as food preparation and secretarial work. Early participants expressed a desire to be trained in other areas such as computer proficiency, design work and daycare service. Celebration Tabernacle responded accordingly and added additional programs evolving from Fridays’ to the inclusive multi-disciplinary TMTF program and services that exist today. Po’Shines Café de la Soul is now Celebration Tabernacle’s restaurant and partners with the Teach Me To Fish program.
Over the years, Celebration Tabernacle has tried many ideas and programs to reach the needs of the community. Two programs that were beneficial for some, but are currently not in operation, are JAM Night and CAPA. JAM Night was a weekly comedy improv show that youth and young adults produced, acted, and wrote. Running for over seven years, JAM night provided a positive outlet for youth and adults. CAPA (Celebration Academy of the Performing Arts) was started in 2004 and closed its’ doors in 2008. It was a small, Christian day school for preschool through 8th grades with a focus on the arts. Both JAM Night and CAPA could be restarted as lead.
Out of all of the programs and previous work, came the encouragement to others to take chances and step out on faith. Businesses and programs have been started through Celebration Tabernacle or its’ individual members such as Little Angels Daycare, Empyrean Perspectives, Fresh Start Health Initiative, and Achaia Records.