Rev. Dr. Emmer Henri Booker
Founder & First Pastor 1966-1974
In May 1966, Bishop John D. Bright appointed Dr. Emmer Henri Booker (who at the time was pastor of Jones Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church for two years.) A different position at the close of the Annual A.M.E. Conference. Two thirds of the members strongly disagreed with the appointment and petitioned Dr. Booker to become independent of the A.M.E. conference and establish a new church. After much prayerful consideration, Dr. Booker organized an independent church in his home. This was the beginning of the Temple of Divine Love Church, founded by Dr. Emmer H. Booker. More than two hundred families joined the church for worship services, fundraising events and meetings. As membership increased, it became necessary to find a larger facility. Thus, the late Elder Lighfoot Solomon Michaux of the Radio Church of God, along with his officers and congregation opened their doors to us. Worshiping with their congregation from May 1966 until January 1967.
The Temple of Divine Love Church was established and incorporated as a non-profit religious organization. The goals were to afford opportunities for sincere and wholesome religious worship for all people; to institute christian social fellowship and to foster love and understanding among different people.
Dr. Booker's insight and leadership ability was profoundly projected in the organization of the church. Twelve Christ Circles were geographically appointed, therefore involving every member of the church. Officers of the church were: A President, 19 Vice Presidents, 1 Business Administrator, 8 Trustees, 7 Board of Directors and 11 members of the Financial Committee. Other church groups established under Dr. Booker were: The Angels of Mercy, Arts and crafts, The Cherubim Choir, Girls and Boys Scouts, The Gospel Celestial Choir, The Sanctuary Choir, The Emmerettes, The Hospitality Club, Ladies Auxiliary, Male Ushers, Men's Club, Nurses' Unit, Prayer Band, Carolina Club, Sunbeam Card Club, Sunday School, Young People's Usher Board and among many others.
From May 29, 1966 until August 14, 1966, individual members donated $15,075.00 towards the building fund. An additional $5,424.00 was pledged towards the fund and by the end of six months; we were able to secure our present edifice located at 1518 W Girard Ave. The purchase and settlement was the direct result of fasting and prayer.
The first serivce in our church was held on January 22, 1967. From that glorious beginning we installed two large lights, a banquet room, kitchen and lounges on the lower level. A large stained glass window was installed in the sanctuary and the property of Cambridge street was remodeled. The organ was rebuilt and a new console was also installed.
In February 1967, Reverend Paul Clayton Zeigler became the Assiociate Minister and started the Household Food Cooperative on Cambridge Street. Dr. Booker ordained Reverend Abraham Williams, Reverend Frank Gabriel and Reverend Kenny L. Branch, II and they became Assistant . Ministers. Reverend Branch Organized the Temple of Divine Love Crusade on January 10, 1971 and became the Crusade Minister. His preaching and teaching in the street saved souls and increased the membership. Other assistants to Reverend Booker were Reverend Enrique Parks, Reverend Evelyn Wideman, Minister of the sick, and Sister Gertrude Gaskins, Worldwide Evangelist. The Silent Altar Prayer was one of the best reflections under Dr. Booker's leadership. In 1974, Dr. Booker resigned, ending seven and one half years of ministry at the Temple of Divine Love Church.
In 1975, Reverend Paul C. Zeigler, Associate Minister became the Administrative Head of the church. Under this administration we were able to liquidate the mortgage, purchase a new Steinway piano, and purchase the vacant lot on 15th and Girard avenue to be used as a parking lot.
Reverend Calvin L. Jones assumed leadership on October 31, 1976. Following the pastorate of Reverend Jones, Reverend Wallace P. Gary was chosen as Pastor and served until 1987. For nearly two years our dedicated officials led us and we continued to grow and prosper. The congregation purchased a new church van and installed carpet in the sanctuary.
Reverand Clayton D. Furlow was installed in November 1989 and served until November 1999. During this period we purchased new cushions for the pews, a new heater, and installed an air conditioner in the sanctuary. Also, the ushers remodeled our kitchen.
Among the first in our History were: Melanie Goodman the first baby followed by Hytolia Branch, Howard White and Alison Braxton. Sharon Jones Walker, first high school graduate, Mr. & Mrs. John Blackwell, first wedding, Sister Florence Franklin, first death, Deana Ramsey, first Baby Contest Winner, Summer camp for Daily Vacation Bible School at camp Gibralta in Morgantown, Pa and the first Temple of Divine Love retreat in Valley Forge.
Our 5th Pastor, Reverend Phillip L. Hudson, Jr. was installed on Sunday, April 14th 2002. Under his leadership, we have a new church motto entitled "VICTORY." Wednesday and Saturday Noon Day Prayer, First Tuesday of the month prayer and the Women in Red and White services were all instituted. A new sound system was installed and Family and Friends day and the Divine Love Singers (choir) was re-instituted. Since, his appointment, we have installed a new chair lift and remodeled the ladies, men and Deacon's Bathrooms. We have also made some renovations to the Booker Fellowship Hall, new carpet in the sanctuary, restoration of the church's stained glass windows in the library by the ushers and a new heating system. With a generous donation a new outside sign, two new computers, and a new church van were purchased. Our youth choir was reinstated with a new a new name, "The Divine Love Youth Choir." Also, instituted was the Divine Love Praise Dancers and our newly formed Victory Choir, which was given the name to represent Reverend Hudson's motto for the church. Reverend Hudson does not boast nor does he take credit about these accomplishments, it is the hard work and dedication of each member of The Temple of Divine Love Church and the blessings of the Lord.
This year we celebrate our 52nd Anniversary with our Pastor and his family, Reverend & Mrs. Phillip L. Hudson, jr. We are so happy and honored that the Lord has blessed us greatly with this spiritual man of God. The wonderful ministry, great leadership, love, kindness and caring that he and his wife have shown to our congregation has been most rewarding and a spiritual blessing. We thank God for them each day! Thus, we close our history of the Temple of Divine Love Church with an original prayer by our founding Pastor, Dr. Emmer H. Booker.
"Grant unto us thy grace, wisdom, power, and resources that we may do thy will and prove to be Christian like enough to become a healing balm in our troubled nation; and that our love will always overcome hate. Bless we pray thee not only for our families, but all races and creeds throughout the world. Amen!"
-Dr. Emmer H. Booker