The Pastor’s Pen: October 20, 2019

Last Thursday morning, the nation was awakened to unspeakable grief that caught us all by surprise.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again; while we all have experienced sudden loss of friends and loved ones, few deaths shake us to our very core.  The passing of  Elijah Eugene Cummings (DMD 7th District) did just that; the news rendered us deeply heartbroken and grappling for words.  The Shiloh family joins millions around this nation and the world in mourning the loss of this fearless and courageous pillar who towered in the U. S. House of Representatives.  

A man of humble beginnings, Rep. Cummings rose to political power and national significance in 1996 in a special election to succeed five-term Congressman for Maryland’s 7th congressional district, Kweisi Mfume, who resigned in February 1996 to take the presidency of the NAACP.  Mr. Cummings was reelected 11 more times since then.  His reelections were borne out of his love and compassion for the people of the city of his birth, Baltimore, where he resided at his death.  Mr. Cummings proudly went home to his District every day.  “He was in it for the people…” exclaimed Shauntee Daniels, executive director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area.  He used his political influence, big personality, and robust but passionate voice to serve the people of his hometown, but since the “election” of Donald Trump, Mr. Cummings “made no bones” about his contempt for the president.  At his death, the Congressman served as Chair of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee; on the Committee, Mr. Cummings was a key figure in the impeachment inquiry of the president.  

Mr. Cummings’ Committee assignments, Caucus memberships, and legislative records were many, and are praise worthy.  We are grateful to the Congressman for his courage and dedicated service to the citizens of Baltimore and to our country.

There is a “little less grace in the world,” with the passing of the longtime Maryland Democrat who championed and advocated for civil rights.  The nation grieves a great loss.  In the words of the late Michael Jackson, “…like the loss of sunlight, on a cloudy afternoon, Gone Too Soon…”  As the Shiloh family lifts the Congressman’s family in prayer, we thank him for his service.  Rest in peace.   

ANNOUNCEMENT: Shiloh’s Veterans Recognition Sunday

Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington 

Observes its 17th Veterans Recognition Sunday

November 10, 2019

“Honoring Our Veterans in the 21st Century and Beyond” continues as the theme for this annual observance.  Join us at both worship services and bring a few of your military veteran friends where their service and sacrifices for our Nation and its Allies will be celebrated. Our pastor, Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, will preach at both worship services. 

Grand March of Veterans

All Shiloh veterans, guest veterans, active duty service members and reservists are invited to participate in our Grand March of Veterans at the 10:55 a.m. worship service only on Veterans Recognition Sunday, November 10, 2019. Veterans who are physically able to “March” are requested to join us no later than 10:40 a.m. in Heritage Hall South, where we will assemble and proceed to the sanctuary.  The procession of veterans will be in order of the periods in which you served: WWII, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

If you are a Shiloh member and a veteran and have not completed a Veteran Data Form, please get one from the Family Life Center Desk and complete it as instructed. 

Whenever you know that a veteran is within your midst, please extend your gratitude for the service and sacrifices that were made on your behalf. Each veteran will be enormously grateful for your expression of kindness.  

Please contact Deacon Smith, at 301-529-3156, if you have questions. 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Family Life Center Fall Hours!

For the fall season, Shiloh and the Family Life Center (1500 9th St. NW) will operate during the following hours:

Effective Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Sunday: 7am – 3pm

Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday: 8:30am – 8:30pm

Wednesday: 8:30am – 8:30pm

Thursday: 8:30am – 8:30pm

Friday: 8:30am – 5:30pm

Saturday: 8am – 3:30pm


We hope to see you at one of our many events and services! God bless you!

The Pastor’s Pen: October 6, 2019

Today marks the end of our summer season and the beginning of our new church year. Summer is past, although the thermostat does not seem to have gotten the message.  Beginning this week, we return to our regular worship services and administrative office schedule. Tune in to our pulpit announcements and refer to our OneBody notices and The Spirit for dates and times of our new operations and administrative procedures in the new church year.    

As we enter our new church year today, we are reminded of the many challenges we experienced last year, yet we are grateful that God brought us through and permitted our congregation to grow spiritually in many ways. We closed the church year with great success in our Covenant Commitment Campaign; to God be the glory! Our Reimagining Initiative has helped us to begin envisioning new and exciting ways that our church can grow in its ministry both to our own congregation and to our community. Our reimagining subcommittees have recommendations of specific initiatives that will help us face the challenges of the 21st Century. For example:  our website will be redesigned to maximize its appeal to all ages; our intergenerational ministry will plan strategic programs to nurture dialogue and enhance understanding among the groups; our development of affinity groups will begin with renewing our commitment to single and couples ministry; and our worship services will focus on providing rich opportunities for spiritual growth and maturation without needing to believe that longer services are better services. The late Dr. Gardner Taylor once opined that a service need not be eternal to be immortal. As the adage attests, “brevity is the soul of wit.”  We pray that God will hear our petitions and empower us to be an even more effective and faithful congregation, as we move deliberately and prayerfully with anticipation into our new church year. We commit this new church year into God’s hands, believing that with God on our side, we can do anything but fail!

The Pastor’s Pen: September 22, 2019

We welcome to our pulpit the Reverend Desiré P. Grogan, one of the most effective preachers and communicators of God’s Word in our midst. Rev. Grogan grew up in Shiloh and has been an active member of our congregation since childhood. Over the years, she has consistently presented the gospel of Jesus Christ with power and clarity. On this 156th church anniversary celebration we know that she will deliver again a powerful message that will bless our spirits with hope and encouragement.

Today, we also celebrate  the completion of our Covenant Commitment Campaign. This effort has been an overwhelming success. God has answered our prayers. The adage is true, “When prayers go up, blessings come down.” We thank all who while continuing to commit their tithes and sacrificial gifts, took on this campaign in faith.  We conclude this campaign with, “Hallelujah,” the highest form of praise! 

 Beginning Tuesday this week, we will observe our fall revival. Our revivalist will be Rev. Matthew L. Watley, Senior Pastor, Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E. Church (Silver Spring, MD). Bring a friend, Shiloh, and let us welcome this dynamic preacher of God and his congregation to our sanctuary as we celebrate the beginning of our new church year.

This year, we have been blessed with outstanding experiences for worship and reflection in celebration of our 156th church anniversary. Mack Paschal, Church Anniversary Chair, and Joy Patterson, Co-Chair, introduced many new and creative ideas throughout the month of September. On the first Sunday, the Prayer of Intercession included a segment on “Prayers of the Many,” where members of our congregation prayed in Spanish, American Sign Language, Farsi, and Aramaic. Many have commented on the powerful moment felt during this special time of prayer. On the second Sunday, we celebrated “Circle Day” in a service filled with spiritual joy! Our Circles responded with pride and in great support, and the attendance was outstanding. On the third Sunday, we honored members who were called home to God throughout this church year in a very special “Service of Remembrance.” Families of our deceased members came from near and far to join us in remembering our dearly departed. The Service of Remembrance is always a time for us to pause and thank God for those who walked among us. This years’ service was no exception. 

Today we bring our month-long anniversary festivities to a close with the celebration of Shiloh’s 156th anniversary. One hundred and fifty-six (156) years ago, 21 of the 400 men and women (former slaves) who fled Fredericksburg, VA (Shiloh Baptist Old Site) to Washington, DC decided to form a Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, DC. The group was formally recognized as a church by the Council of Baptist Churches of Washington, DC on September 23, 1863.  Later that month the Council ordained William L. Walker, a member of the group, as their minister.  Let us take a moment of silence tomorrow, Shiloh, and give thanks; we have come a long way in 156 years and have a lot for which to be thankful.  On a personal note, it is gratifying that I stand as the sixth pastor of this historic house of worship in its 156-year history, and on the shoulders of giants who laid the path for me.  “Hallelujah,” is indeed, the highest praise! 

Deepest thanks to Mack and Joy and their fellow committee members for their hard work and sacrificial efforts throughout the month. Thanks to their exceptional work we will enter the new church year with renewed energy and appreciation. To God be the glory!  Happy Anniversary, Shiloh.

The Pastor’s Pen: September 8, 2019

In our efforts to reimagine Shiloh, second Sundays are designated to our young adult ministers. Today, we welcome to the pulpit the Rev. E. Taylor Doctor, a young man who came to serve with us last winter and has made a tremendous impact in our congregation with his preaching, teaching, and musical abilities. He comes from a family of preachers and has spent his life in serious study and preparation for the ministry. Rev. Doctor is a brother beloved and a committed servant of Christ. We know that he will deliver an insightful inspirational message from on high.

Our Covenant Commitment Campaign (CCC) has showcased the amazing spirit of our Shiloh family. In July, when we were faced with the challenge that the “summer slump” in giving might put our covenants with the bank in jeopardy, we came before the congregation and asked at least 500 members to contribute $1,000.00 before the end of September to ensure our good standing with our lending institution. We reached our goal last week by receiving $150,000.00 in contributions, but the amount pledged was $240,000.00!  We also asked that our CCC gifts would be in addition to our regular contributions of tithes and offerings. We are grateful that, for the most part, most have done just as we asked; our tithes and other offerings have remained strong throughout the summer. We continue to ask those who have pledged and those who still want to contribute to this good-faith campaign, to complete your commitments by next Sunday, September 15.  Meeting this deadline will ensure that we will have a strong financial picture as we come to the end of the 2019 church year.

I have never been prouder of Shiloh than I have been this summer. Our wonderful Shiloh family has responded indisputably to this challenge. I pray that God will continue to bless our congregation as we continue to lift up the name of Jesus. 

The reimagining team has done extraordinary work in developing a comprehensive document outlining the plans that we will implement throughout the coming church year. Nicole Lamb-Hale and Antonio McLaren have done yeoman’s duty in leading the first phases of our reimagining work. The cooperation amongst the various groups with whom they have worked has been magnificent. Church leaders will receive the team’s document in the next few days. The document will be made available to all church members by the September quarterly church meeting. It is a great time to be a Shiloh member and to enjoy the energy and vibrancy of worshipping at a church on fire for the Lord!

The Pastor’s Pen: August 25, 2019

Just when we thought that the craziness coming from the Oval Office could not be exceeded, word came to the nation that “45” wanted to buy Greenland. Of course, no one said that Greenland was for sale, but “45” wanted to pursue a purchase anyway. This would be like Great Britain calling us to make an offer on Hawaii or perhaps California. It is absurd. However, as we know, absurdity is the name of the game in the present White House. It seems that “45” does not have a clue about some basic tenets of the faith. One of those being, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…” (Psalm 127:1). I have no clue as to why the president would see a purchase of Greenland as a good idea. I have heard that it had something to do with our strategic objectives. Of course, post-Cold War efforts to secure our borders make very little sense. As does the initiative to close off the Southern border, under the aegis that all the Mexicans to cross the border are gang members, murderers, and rapists. One can only assume that in the mind of 45 people who live in Greenland are much more to his liking in terms of race and culture. Whatever the reason, the absurdity is beyond description. Thankfully the people of Greenland decided that this offer was ludicrous. Of course, after the rebuff, the president canceled the trip to Denmark showing, as he always does, that when it comes to emotion, he is stuck somewhere around two or three years old. Canceling a trip as a result of a rebuff that was only imagined, can only be described as a 70-year-old man’s temper tantrum. At least we didn’t see him lying in the aisles of a supermarket kicking and screaming, but this episode may not be over yet, so hang on.

We continue to be extremely grateful for the way our congregation has responded to the Covenant Commitment Campaign. We continue to realize our exceptional faithfulness to God and our church. We have asked that gifts would be contributed by 15 September to ensure that we would have the funds necessary to see to it that our covenant with BB&T Bank is fully met by 30 September. It looks like that possibility will be coming to fruition. We can only thank God for every man, woman, and child who has responded to this call and stepped up with gifts that were sacrificial and heartfelt. May God continue to bless our wonderful Shiloh family as we make every effort to build this village that reflects God’s Kingdom.

The Pastor’s Pen: August 18, 2019

Shiloh young people continue to do great things. Last week NBC News 4’s Shamori Stone reported on DC children who are making a difference in their community. One of them was our own Kadena Cozart. We know that Kadena is one of the most wonderfully pleasant young people one could ever meet. We thank God for this young woman who is making a difference in DC!

As the administration continues to deny the reality of climate change, evidence mounts up that the shifting climate will cause horrors beyond which many of us imagine. Agricultural production will plummet, and in a very few short years, will lead to wildfires in the interior, flooding on the coasts, and global famine will kill millions. One does not need to be a meteorologist to assess that the radical swings in temperatures across this nation, as well as around the world, and the melting of the polarized caps are harbingers that can no longer be ignored. Churches everywhere must utilize every social power available to bring sanity to this crisis. In the book of Genesis, God gave human beings dominion over the earth. That means that it is our responsibility to care for and to protect it. Piling tons of plastic waste into the ocean, incessantly using aerosol sprays, and turning a blind eye to the carbon emissions from our automobiles is an out and out sin. God only gave us one planet. When we have poisoned it, there will be no other. Climate change is not just a sociological challenge, it is a moral and spiritual sin. As God’s creation, we do not have the luxury of pretending climate change does not exist.

In a related matter, the present administration has also pushed to decimate the Endangered Species Act. It was this act that brought back humpback whales and many other species from the brink of extinction. This attack on endangered species is a way to open up additional lands to oil and gas exploration. There will be little need for either oil or gas if we have poisoned our environment and choked on our own waste. Museums are wonderful but seeing stuffed lions, elephants and cheetahs is no replacement for watching them continue to live and flourish in the wild. Second Chronicles 7:14 says it best. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” It is time for people of faith to take this text seriously and seek God’s guidance in healing our land.