Smith Temple Church of God in Christ – Church History
The Smith Temple Church of God in Christ was organized in 1949 by Elder and Mrs. W. B. Smith. Elder Smith was an associate minister at the Eastside Church of God in Christ under the leadership of Elder Tommy Warren. Elder Smith was led of the Lord to a new residential addition known as the St. Louis Garden. In this community, property was secured from Deacon James Tutt and his wife Lesley on the corner of Moorehead and Oliver Street. At this location, a one-room frame building was erected in the same year by Elder Smith. Encouraged and inspired by the words of their pastor, “If you build the hive, the bees will come,” Elder and Mrs. Smith labored faithfully in the vineyard of the Lord. Many souls were saved and added to the church.
The first revival was held during the fall of 1949,conducted by Elder Troy Hayter and Mother Clemmie Wilson. The church was named in honor of Elder Smith by Elder George L. Haggerty, Jr. and Missionary Bobbie Mass. During the years of 1951 and 1952, the church was relocated to the corner of Hall and Meyers Streets. A large frame building was purchased in 1952, and moved on this site replacing a smaller building that occupied this site earlier. The membership continued to grow and the ministry of the church flourished.
Elder W. B. Smith resigned in as pastor of the church on November 19, 1958. At the time of his resignation; the church was well established and growing. Elder W.B. Bookman was appointed pastor of the church on December 14, 1958. Under his leadership, many ministries were established and the church continued to experience rapid growth. In 1967, a modern building was constructed, replacing a smaller frame building previously occupying this site. A Radio Out Reach Ministry was established along with several other successful ministries. In 1979, construction of a large modern church building was started under the leadership of Superintendent Bookman. Superintendent Bookman died on March 3, 1982 leaving the new building under construction.
On October 21, 1982, Bishop David R. Houston was appointed pastor of the church. Under his leadership the new building was completed, ministries of the church were strengthened and the great tradition of evangelism and community service, which started in 1949, continues.