Although a comparatively unusual designation for a church these days, the term ‘Tabernacle’ was once common, perhaps taking its cue from Whitfield’s Tabernacle.
The word has, of course, a dual significance. The original tabernacle dedicated to the worship of God, had literally to be a tent, as the Israelites were travelling through the wilderness. Later tabernacles were so named to remind the worshippers that Christians are ‘strangers and pilgrims’, looking ‘for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God’.
Although, in one sense, it may seem an inappropriate term for a huge, brick built building, designed to seat over 600 people (which Brixton Tabernacle became), there is an additional significance, in that we are now in the third Tabernacle — there were various meeting places prior to the first — so the church has ‘journeyed’ over 150 years.