Thousands of Mount Olivet Baptist Church members, preachers, politicians, friends and family said goodbye on Thursday to a well-known Columbus pastor who passed away on Saturday after a battle with cancer.
Reverend Dr. Charles E. Booth, who was the senior pastor at Mount Olivet Baptist Church, 428 E Main St., died on Saturday while in hospice care, said Tamara Hartley, a former executive assistant and office manager at the church.
An additional visitation was held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.
Booth’s funeral followed at 11 am. He was then entombed at Union Cemetery.
The funeral service was live-streamed at 10:45 a.m. Thursday on Dr. Charles E. Booth’s website. You can also watch a live stream of the service below.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Mt. Olivet Baptist Church Family Life Center.
Booth’s death had generated an outpouring of tributes and reaction from politicians, community leaders, preachers and others, including Bishop Timothy J. Clarke of First Church of God.
“There is no doubt that Dr. Charles Edward Booth was the greatest preacher of his generation and yet it was not just his pulpit work that made him stand out, it was who he was as a person that truly made him not just good but great as well. We lost a giant of the pulpit, a gentleman as a person and a giant as a pastor. He is missed already … may he rest in eternal peace,” Clarke said.
Booth’s passing has had a big impact on the Columbus community and area leaders such as Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Kimberly Cocroft.
Ginther said on Facebook that the two developed a friendship over the last 20 years.
“He was so many things to so many people: a loving family man, an incredible preacher, teacher, scholar and pastor,” Ginther said.
Cocroft called Booth, 72, a “genius” on Facebook and said that the pastor had, had an impact on her life since she was a child.
“He was a homiletical and hermeneutical genius. He was a prince among preachers. And for me, he was a consistent source of support and encouragement since I was 8 or 9 years old. While the pain is palpable and the situation surreal, we yet bow in humble submission to God’s will, recognizing that He is still too wise to make a mistake and too just to do any man wrong,” Cocroft wrote in a Facebook post.
Hartley said Booth mentored many around the world and held the widely-attended Charles E. Booth Preaching Conference annually.
“He was a pillar in Columbus for 41 years and always had the courage to stand up for what was right, even when it wasn’t popular,” Hartley said.
Booth was active in the community and served on several boards and committees, Hartley said.
He took part in several initiatives to help the city and also held forums following police shootings involving black males, Hartley said.
“He would coordinate teams to canvass neighborhoods and rallies to pray for our neighborhoods and keep our youth safe every year,” Hartley said.
Hartley said she began working at the Mount Olivet at age 23 and was close to Booth and his family.
She said Booth was like a father to her.
While she had known about Booth’s battle with cancer and was in touch with the Booth family when he was placed in hospice, Hartley said she was not prepared for his death.
“Nothing prepared me for getting the call that he was gone and that I would not hear his voice again,” Hartley said.
She said Booth will be missed.
Watch a video tribute to Booth below.