Bishop Hugh Daniel Smith Jr., along with this wife Letha L. Smith are the founders of Emmanuel Covenant Church International, formerly known as Emmanuel Temple Church.
They began the ministry in 1988 with three members, their mother -Georgia L. Howard, their brother -Dr. Tino W. Smith, and Sis. Vila Howard. God supernaturally provided the group of five with a small, beautiful worship facility located at 304 Jameson on the city’s East side.
In Emmanuel’s first year of ministry, approximately 80 souls were baptized in the name of the Lord and filled with the Holy Ghost. Bishop Smith recalls services where guest were filled with the Holy Spirit as he preached the Word of God. The numerous miracles coupled with accelerated growth formed the mentality of the young church. They declared themselves to be “The Church Where The Impossible Becomes Possible Through Jesus Christ.”
During 1989-1990 the ministry experienced a great deal of persecution Emmanuel’s place of worship was repeatedly vandalized, windows were broken and members were ostracized and verbally abused. Bishop Smith recalls a particular incident where the FBI was called to investigate some of the vandalism. The headline of the local newspaper read, “FBI investigates vandalism at Emmanuel Temple Church”. What the devil intended for evil, God worked for good . Directly following the press release, many who were unaware of the churches efforts became interested and subsequently united as members of the church.
In 1990, as a result of the outgrowing that facility, Emmanuel pursed and successfully procured a new worship edifice, with a seating capacity of approximately 250. In this building, God began to establish Emmanuel as a noteworthy ministry in the city of Battle Creek. Emmanuel’s focus was to develop strategy, which would aid in the mission to impact the city.
Some of the ministries implemented were: Substance Abuse Awareness Program [SAAP], Bible Alive – a weekly telecast, Prison Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry and a Youth Developmental Academy. Shortly after moving into this location the church was again faced with growth causing the need to relocate. Bishop Smith recalls the time when the Lord directed them to sell that facility without having a worship place in –sight for the 200+ congregation. The Lord said” If the church would obey his directive he would cause the ministry to flourish while they lease various facilities.” In addition, God gave vision to build a new church edifice. The facility at 485 Main Street was sold in 1993. Emmanuel leased places for worship for two and a half years, during this time. The new church was completed on June 2, 1996.
The new facility cost in excess of 1.2 million dollars to construct with a seating capacity of 700+
God ordered another shift in 1998. Bishop Smith was led by the Holy Spirit to depart from the Ecclesiastical Organization he was united with. Through much prayer, along with the entire church, he aligned with Bishop Tudor Bismark and the Jabula International Ministries. This relationship positioned Emmanuel to receive tremendous impartation. The church embraced a kingdom Theology and emphasized the restoration of the Five-fold ministry.
In 2003 Emmanuel completed construction on its 8000 sq. ft. recreational facility named “Kingdom Creativity Center.” Emmanuel gave birth to Destiny Covenant Church International in Ann Arbor, MI.
Emmanuel added ministries to include. Covenant Theological Institute [an accredited Bible College], Performing Arts Academy, Family Life Cell Groups, and Child–care Center, and Redemption Community Development Corporation. In February 2004, Embassy Covenant Church International was birthed into Troy, MI
In the year 20011, Bishop Smith transitioned from the senior pastor role to concentrate his effort on church planting and community transformation initiatives. Bishop Smith appointed Pastor Frederick J. Sweet and Prophet Shannon L Sweet as the Senior Pastor and Co-Pastors of Emmanuel Covenant Church International.