Our History

A Friendly Congregation


The Adventist message was preached under a tent during 1906 by Elders Months and Warnick, in the area of what is now the 1000 block of Pendleton Street. These missionaries were sent to Alexandria by the Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Elder R. H. Harter was the President of the Conference at that time. Some of the interested families of the Adventist message were the Morgans, Johnsons, Taylors, Lucketts, and the Whites.


When the tent effort ended, Sister Malvenia Johnson, mother of Sister Emma Johnson, welcomed the missionaries into her home to conduct their weekly studies. The first company of believers was organized in the living room of the Johnson’s home, located on Pendleton Street, as the Second Seventh-day Adventist Church. Elders Tivie and Gibson from the First Seventh-day Adventist Church were our first Pastors. The company moved from Sister Johnson’s living room to a small church building located at 1020 Pendleton Street. The Potomac Conference loaned our small congregation the money to purchase land from the Morgan family. Elder J. Lee Price assisted in the construction of the new building.



In 1930 Elder S. J. Barbour started a Building Fund to raise funds to purchase another building, and Sister Ethel Nell assisted him.



Around 1950, as our membership continued to grow, we were divided by territory into two Conferences, Allegheny East and Allegheny West. The Second Seventh-day Adventist Church became a part of the Allegheny East Conference. Our first President of the Allegheny East Conference was Elder J. H. Wagner.


1960 – 1968

During the mid-1960s, the members felt the need to find a new church home. Many prayers were prayed to find another church. Sister Ethel Nell, Sister Sneed’s sister, came to Alexandria to help us financially. She would challenge the members by asking them to give $50.00 and she would match and double that amount by putting in $100.00. Sister Nell was a modest and Godly bible worker, and God heard our prayers and blessed our church immensely.


Elder Leonard Hernandez heard that the Christian Missionary Alliance Church at 2707 Dewitt Avenue was planning to relocate. After much prayer, work, and sacrifice, we were able to move into our new church in January 1968. Our first official service was held on the second Saturday, January 13, 1968. Several names were suggested for our new church, but we voted on the name “Emmanuel Temple,” which was suggested by Sister Mary Louise Hernandez. On January 27, 1968, we had a wonderful service, which included a baptism, a deacon ordained, and we were able to burn the mortgage of $32,000.00 on our grand opening. Our church was completely furnished, with two pianos, one of which one was a Baby Grand. To God be the Glory! In 1968 we had approximately 50 members. People, who moved to Alexandria, would join our small church family.


1969 – 1973

Pastor Mark Wilson was our Pastor for only a short term, but he did a mighty work in the brief time he was here. He would visit families and give bible studies. The late Elder W. A. Thompson, former President of the Allegheny East Conference, assisted us at Emmanuel Temple for a while until our new pastor arrived.


Pastor James and Mrs. Shirley Clements came to our congregation immediately after he graduated from Andrews University. Emmanuel Temple was his first church. During his tenure, he conducted two crusades, one at the Elk’s Home on Henry Street and the other under a tent pitched in our Church’s parking lot.


1974 – 1982

In 1974, Pastor Alonzo and Mrs. Eleanor Banks became our new Pastor. While under the leadership of Pastor Harold and Mrs. Louise Singleton, Evangelist Williams Scales from the Real Truth Crusade wanted to help win souls in the Washington metropolitan area. After much payer and planning, he conducted a large crusade in the summer of 1982 at the George Washington High School in Alexandria, VA. When the crusade ended, 120 precious souls were united with the Adventist faith. They went to various churches in the Metropolitan Area to include: First Church, DuPont Park, Breath of Life, and Emmanuel Temple. This event was featured on the cover and throughout the Visitor magazine.


1982 – 1995

Soon after the crusade ended in 1982, Pastor Amos Hosten became our Pastor. The Conference sent Pastor Carl Hinds to assist as our Associate Pastor. After Pastor Hinds was reassigned, the Conference sent Elder Joseph Hutchinson to become our Associate Pastor.


There were many improvements that needed to be done at Emmanuel Temple, so a Building Committee was formed under the leadership of Brother Alexander Thomas. Funds were raised for those purposes to make necessary improvements. Under the leadership of Brother Lee Roy Steele, the committee continued to raise money and was able to purchase a P.A. system and a copier machine for the church.


Pastor Hosten conducted a Revelation Seminar and a Crusade at the Lee Center in Alexandria, VA. He was known for visiting his members, especially the sick and shut in and missing members. He would even clean and cook for the sick members when he would visit them. Pastor Hosten and his wife, Wilma were very involved in the church. As well as their daughter Kim who played the piano for church services, and their son Kevin who played on the basketball team. Pastor Hosten was at Emmanuel Temple from 1982 to 1990.


Pastor William Linthicum became our new Pastor in 1991. He too, like Pastor Hosten, would visit the sick and shut in members on a regular basis. He was a minister who believed in and promoted Literature Evangelism. Pastor Linthicum conducted a Revelation Seminar at the Library on Sherwood Lane in Alexandria, VA, which several souls were baptized. He was our Pastor until 1995.


1995 – 2009

In 1995, Pastor Robert Lively became our new Pastor. He motivated the members to make a decision to either relocate or renovate the existing building. For those who remembered the old building, you can say this is truly an improvement. The Church was given a much-needed facelift, and this was the beginning of a new era for Emmanuel Temple. Our Building Committee Chairperson, Brother Ervin Watson, Sr. contacted several contractors to give us estimates on the renovation of our building. After several years of fund raising, phases of the renovation, having to conduct our weekly services at another church for many months, and many setbacks, our dreams were realized. God blessed us with a brand new sanctuary, including a Mother’s Room, an Audio/Visual Room, a wheelchair ramp, a new entry way with an extended foyer, a new stairwell to the Fellowship Hall, and a host of other cosmetic changes. Our Dedicatory Services Celebration lasted an entire week, November 4-11, 2000; our theme was “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.” Under Pastor Lively’s leadership in 2003, history was made when our first female Elders were appointed, Florence Owino-Oluoch and Neelie Thomas. Pastor Lively was here at Emmanuel Temple until 2003.


On April 10, 2003 Pastor Patrick Graham became our new Pastor. He proved to be a people person who had soul winning on his agenda. He conducted an old fashioned tent crusade in 2005, and many souls were baptized. This crusade was featured in the Visitor magazine. After the crusade, he became our full-time Pastor, and we no longer had to share him with another church. The Lord had great plans for Emmanuel Temple while Pastor Graham, his wife Natalie, and their three children Jordan, Joseph, and Jasmine were with us. Pastor Graham was our Pastor until January 2009. Currently, Pastor Graham is the Youth Director for the Allegheny East Conference.


2009 – Present

Sunday, February 1, 2009, Pastor David I. Defoe, became our new Pastor. His joys in his ministry are in visiting the sick and shut-in and elderly members. He made sure that those who are often ignored know their value to both God and their church community.


Pastor Defoe and his wife, Denise were the first to birth a child while pasturing here. God blessed them with a beautiful daughter, Dayna Defoe. During his time here, we integrated a more creative worship experience, through set designs and visual presentations to spread the word of God. He initiated more community outreach, including our now annual Back-to-School Drive and purchasing a church bus to transport not only our members, but those in the community. We were also able to raise enough money to finally pave our church parking lot. Pastor Defoe was with us until January 11, 2014.


During the process of the conference placing a permanent Pastor with us, we were sent a couple of interims. Pastor Malcolm D. Taylor Jr. became our Interim Pastor on March 1, 2014. During his short time with us, he left an impression and showed us how important it is to be ready for Jesus soon return. Pastor Taylor is married to the former Mary K. Robinson, the father of four adult children, and grandfather of sixteen. Pastor Taylor was with us until June 21, 2014; thereafter he retired from his 30+ years in the ministry.


Soon after, we were sent Pastor Lisa Smith-Reid on July 16, 2014 as our Interim Pastor. While with us she loved sharing her passion for Christ by speaking at evangelistic and church services, and especially at Wednesday Night Prayer meetings. In addition to ministry, Pastor Smith-Reid is a wonderful loving mother. She was happily married to the late Pastor Armando Reid and blessed with two children, Armando IV and Elizabeth. We were blessed to have Pastor Smith-Reid and her children serve with us until May 23, 2015.


Pastor Dr. D. Robert Kennedy was installed at Emmanuel Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, September 5, 2015 as the new Pastor and we are excited to see how God will use him in is ministry. He has been in ministry practice for the last 44 years having entered ministerial service in 1971.His pastoral and teaching ministries have taken him through the six continents and many islands of the world, pastoring, teaching preaching and offering seminars in organizational leadership and family life issues. His ministry has been effectively divided into four significant phases, namely: pastoring, teaching, administration and seminar presentations in the areas of Family Life, Leadership, Stewardship, and Evangelism. Pastor Kennedy and his lovely wife, Dr. S. June Kennedy, have celebrated 45 years of marriage. Together they have three sons who are married, thus giving them three beautiful daughters and all together producing seven grand children.


Emmanuel Temple has come a long way through the years and we have come this far by faith and truly leaning on the Lord. Our congregation recognizes that the Lord has so much more in store for us in the future.