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The History

In April 1932, the church was organized at the home of the late Rev. E. B. Morris. All persons present resolved solemnly to constitute themselves an Independent Church, adopting a Church Covenant and Articles of Faith. The name Shiloh was accepted from Mrs. Bessie Brodie.

In the beginning, worship services were held at the Ben Theater (now St. Luke Church), 4th and Central Avenue every Sunday. Having a desire for weekly service, the group rented the old Metropolitan Church building at 9th and Tilghman Streets and move in on Easter Sunday morning 1933. A Council of recognition was held, followed by the sermon by Rev. C. H. Gordon, Pastor at Temple Baptist Church. The Hand of Fellowship was extended and Shiloh became a Missionary Baptist Church.

On March 10, 1943, a down payment was made on the lot at 8th and Central Avenue and balance paid in October that same year. In March 1947, a fire to warm the church filled the building with smoke. After inspection, the church was immediately condemned and we found ourselves with no place to worship. However, we rallied together and had ground breaking Ceremonies at 8th and Central Avenue and was able to proceed with the building of our basement. While this was being done, our worship service was held at the Ruth L. Bennett Homes, 2nd and Reaney Streets, for one (1) year.

One April 11, 1948, the members marched from 9th and Tilgham Streets to 8th and Central, and we worshipped in the basement for five (5) years.

In March 1954, the church was completed and furnished. The opening service was held on the first Sunday in April 1954. The church mortgage was paid off in April 1961.

On August 17, 1970, the congregation called Rev. Merland McKnight as Pastor. During his Pastorate, the Redevelopment Authority notified Shiloh that the area was being revamped and our present structure was not up to present day standards. After much prayer and deliberation, the spirit moved us to “Venture in Faith” and build another House of Prayer. We wholeheartedly accepted God’s plan for giving and Shiloh became a Tithing Church.

In November 1975, the Building of Our Future was completed and furnished fully equipped and dedicated to God as “A Soul Saving Station”. We extend our grateful appreciation to Trustee William E. Northern for having served us successfully as Chairman of the Building Committee for both Churches and the Parsonage. Shiloh has the distinction of being the only Church in this City that built a Parsonage and Two Churches from the ground up.

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Shiloh Baptist Church History

(Highlights of pivotal moments in Shiloh Baptist Church history) 

2020

1932 

So much has occurred in 85 years of our existence, our past cannot be condensed into a few pages of
facts. “We have come this far by faith leaning on the Lord;” and though the founders and pioneers are
gone, God’s grace, His mercy has brought us this far. Let us celebrate 86 th years of our faith, hope, trust
and God’s sustaining power as we continue on this journey of “Winning Souls for Christ”.

In April 1932, the church was organized at the home of the late Rev. E. B. Morris. All persons present resolved solemnly to constitute themselves an Independent Church, adopting a Church Covenant and Articles of Faith. The name Shiloh was accepted from Mrs. Bessie Brodie.


In the beginning, worship services were held at the Ben Theater (now St. Luke Church), 4th and Central Avenue every Sunday. Having a desire for weekly service, the group rented the old Metropolitan Church building at 9th and Tilghman Streets and moved in on Easter Sunday morning 1933. A Council of recognition was held, followed by the sermon by Rev. C. H. Gordon, Pastor of Temple Baptist Church. The Right Hand of Fellowship was extended and Shiloh became a Missionary Baptist Church.


On March 10, 1943, a down payment was made on the lot at 8th and Central Avenue and balance paid in October that same year. In March 1947, a fire to warm the church filled the building with smoke. After inspection, the church was immediately condemned and we found ourselves with no place to worship. However, we rallied together and had ground breaking Ceremonies at 8th and Central Avenue and was able to proceed with the building of our basement. While this was being done, worship services were held at the Ruth L. Bennett Homes, 2nd and Reaney Streets, for one (1) year.

 

One April 11, 1948, the members marched from 9th and Tilghman Streets to 8th and Central, and we worshipped in the basement for five (5) years. 


In March 1954, the church was completed and furnished. The opening service was held on the first Sunday in April 1954. The church mortgage was paid off in April 1961 under Pastor L.J. Freeman. 


On February 1, 1955, Rev. John H. Hayes was called as Pastor and served two years.  The Male Chorus was organized and they presented the Church with a water cooler. An interior Lighted Cross was given to the Church by the Number Two Choir.

In June of 1957, Rev. L. J. Freeman was called as Pastor.  Through his teaching, preaching and guidance the congregation grew from 157 to 820 members.  Under his leadership, Shiloh purchased land and built the parsonage at 1227 Central Avenue. Upon his resignation on May 1, 1970, he left $38,000.00 in the Building Fund. 


On August 17, 1970, the congregation called Rev. Merland McKnight as Pastor. During his Pastorate, the Redevelopment Authority notified Shiloh that the area was being revamped and our present structure was not up to present day standards. After much prayer and deliberation, the spirit moved us to “Venture in Faith” to build another House of Prayer. We wholeheartedly accepted God’s plan for giving and Shiloh became a Tithing Church.

In November 1975, the “Building of Our Future” was completed and furnished fully equipped and dedicated to God as “A Soul Saving Station”. We extend our grateful appreciation to Trustee William E. Northern for having served us successfully as Chairman of the Building Committee for both churches and the parsonage. Shiloh has the distinction of being the only Church in this City that built a Parsonage and two churches from the ground up. 

Rev. Gregory S. Hardaway was called as Pastor and began Pastoral duties on the first Sunday in January, 1978.  His first venture was introducing “Prayer Partners” – wherein members prayed daily with one another by telephone.  His theme: “What Prayer and the Gospel Can’t Do, Can’t be Done.” His aim was a Soul Winning Drive for Christ.  Our church Sunday School grew and became self-supporting.
 
The first Sunday in December 1983, Rev. Vaughn B. Wilson came to Shiloh with “Soul Saving” first and foremost -- stressing God’s Word, God’s Way and daily use of scriptures. To encourage a cooperative spirit among the choirs, all adult choirs and choruses were united as one singing unit, named the United Voices of Shiloh.  He combined ages 14 through 35 to create a Young Adult Choir.  Under his leadership he drew into the church more than 650 members.  At his departure in 1988, Shiloh purchased the house at 811 Central Avenue and paid off the $750,000 mortgage under the leadership of Deacon Otis Johnson. 

 Rev. E. Ervin Millsaps was called to Shiloh on November 1, 1990.   He came with an aim of “Soul Saving through Biblical Education.”  On March 26, 1997 we were deeply grieved at the homegoing of Trustee William Northern (Father of the Church), the last of the original founders and pioneers to serve the Shiloh Baptist Church.  Founders and pioneers to precede him in death were William Birt, Mary Cuffee, Lucy Northern, Nathaniel Northern and Bessie Brodie (Founder). Upon Trustee Northern’s transitioning, Deacon Daniel Boone was named Father of the Church until he and his family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia.  Rev. E. Ervin Millsaps recommended to the church that Deacon Arlington Northern be named Father of the Church for his faithful service to Shiloh.   It was agreed by all in attendance of the regularly scheduled church meeting that he became Church Father. Under his pastorate, Shiloh built an addition to the church and established the “Shiloh Development Academy” in 1998. December 15, 2003. Dr. E. Ervin Millsaps retired as Pastor in December, 2013.

Rev. William I. Ashford III was installed as Pastor on October 12, 2014.  Pastor Ashford encouraged the congregation to join him as he followed God’s lead in “Reclaiming Excellence” highlighting our desire to grow stronger in our faith while increasing awareness in community involvement. In January 2015, Shiloh Baptist Church installed its first two female Trustees, Patrice Cunningham and Valerie Freeman. On November 10, 2015 our beloved long time member Bernice C. Northern, Mother emeritus (105 years of age) transitioned. Deaconess Dolores Northern was subsequently appointed “Mother of the Church” in January 2016.   Wanda Short was trained and ordained as Minister on December 16, 2015. Pastor William Ashford also trained and ordained Robin Carter and Anitra Miller to Reverend on July 29, 2016. Reverend Altamese Blake was ordained by her Pastor at this service.  Shiloh Baptist Church held its first 7:30am Worship service on April 3, 2016.  Pastor Ashford licensed Brenda Searcy, Lisa Hollis and Kurt Whitaker to preach the gospel during the month  of  September 2017.  On December 19,  2018 Cheryl Knox was licensed to preach.  Our Church Mother, Dolores Northern blessed us with her guidance and love until her sudden transitioning on February 4, 2018.  The service and dedication of the last Charter member of Shiloh Baptist Church,  Rev. Altamese Blake ended February 28, 2018 as she” went on to glory.”  After 58 years of faithful service to our Music Ministry, Lametha Northern resigned as Church Musician in December 2018.  Pastor Ashford ordained Brother Rodney Blake as a Deacon of Shiloh Baptist Church on May 5, 2019.  

All in-person services and fellowships have been held virtually for safety reasons associated with the COVID-19 pandemic since Sunday, March 22,2020.

Over the years, the Master’s work continued on with the following “Rams in the Bush – Interim Pastors” to assist the Deacons in moving the Church forward as the church searched for an Undershepherd to lead God’s people.   
 

Rev. Robert Holland (1953- 1955)
Rev. Chester Hollman (1977 – 1978)
Rev. Gilbert Hamm (1988 - 1990)
Rev. Kenneth Symonds (2014) was assigned to handle pulpit responsibilities while the Deacon Board led the search for a Pastor.  

 

The hearts and souls of Shiloh Baptist Church were deeply saddened in learning of the transitioning of our beloved Father of the Church, Deacon Arlington Russell Northern on December 2, 2020. The church membership and the community cherished Deacon Northern's spiritual leadership shared through his words, actions and songs for decades with love and dedication.

 

On November 12, 2020, Rev. William I. Ashford, III submitted his 30 day letter of resignation. During his six year tenure he served as a chosen vessel for God's "purpose and direction" with sincere concern for the Church family.  He challenged and encouraged membership to heed God’s calling and growth which was evident as he has ordained two Pastors, licensed five Ministers and ordained one Deacon. Pastor Ashford promoted and encouraged spiritual growth.  He taught three weekly Bible Study Classes, held annual Boot Camp and Leadership Training classes, began Intercessory Prayer and Evangelism Outreach, reinstituted the President's Council and Spring & Fall Revivals.  In addition, he approved and supported the Burn the Mortgage initiative. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pastor Ashford led the efforts in securing an updated church website and virtual meeting platform for services and meetings. He also organized the "Project Reimagine" team to address returning to church safety and to ensure COVID-19 compliance with the Federal & State guidelines.  

 

As a chosen servant of the community, SBC was been blessed to expand support to coat & book drives, collection of personal items for the children in Kenya, collecting water for people in Flint MI., serving dinner to the homeless, partnered with local churches to host annual Community Health Fairs/Block Party which served over 500 people and over 40 vendors provided health care information. Under Pastor Ashford's leadership Shiloh Baptist Church increased our community partnerships and served as home to the following: Food Matters - a six week program designed to enhance healthy eating for individuals with health issues, ChesPenn program which addresses youth obesity and current home to Chester Community Coalition program which provides support services to families directly affected by violence.  As a result, Pastor Ashford/SBC have been the recipient of many Community Service Recognitions.  Pastor Ashford delivered his final sermon on December 14, 2020.

Pastors of

Shiloh Baptist Church

Rev. E. B. Morris

Rev. Samuel Mann

Rev. Ralph B. Page

Rev. J. H. Hayes

Rev. L. J. Freeman

Rev. M. R. McKnight 

Rev. Gregory S. Hardaway

Rev. Vaughn B. Wilson

Rev. E. Ervin Millsaps

Pastor William I. Ashford III 

1932 – 1937

1938 – 1941

1941 – 1953

1955 – 1957

1957 – 1970

1970 – 1977

1978 – 1983

1983 – 1988

1990 – 2013

2014 - 2020

Our Congregation

The foundation of Shiloh Baptist Church is our people--our congregation, executive committee and church council. Founded in 1888, our congregation is always growing numerically, financially and most importantly, spiritually. We strive to be a place where authentic fellowship is displayed and practiced and where there is a warm, welcoming, and inclusive environment that embraces, encourages and supports all those who enter. The Shiloh Baptist Church would like to welcome you to visit and to join us as members.