Shiloh Baptist Church was organized in 1856 at a Chinese Christian Chapel on 6th and H Streets, Sacramento, California. At that time the church, Shiloh was called Siloam Baptist Church. The Rev. Charles Satchel was the founder, organizer and first pastor (1856-1859). Shiloh was the second church in Sacramento to be founded and organized by and for African-Americans.
Soon after being organized, Shiloh purchased its first property, a small frame house on 5th Street, between N and O Streets, for $800.00. This structure was used for worship and other church functions until destroyed by fire in 1861. The membership, which totaled approximately 40 persons at that time, replaced the house with a new brick structure at the cost of $2,500.00.
In 1891, the name was officially changed from Siloam Baptist Church to Shiloh Baptist Church. Shiloh was incorporated into the State of California on November 29, 1898.
Shiloh purchased a property at 6th and P Streets and had a cornerstone laid on June 18, 1905 for the structure erected there. In November of the same year, Shiloh was again the victim of a fire. However, the building was not totally destroyed. The damage was repaired and Shiloh continued.
Between the years of 1920 and 1923 when Rev. I. E. Allen was pastor, the church conceived the idea of erecting a completely new edifice. Fruition of this idea was realized in the laying of the foundation at the 6th and P Streets site between 1923 and 1925. Rev. W. H. Hughes was pastor.
This structure was completed in 1931 at a cost of approximately $45,000.00 during the pastorate of Rev. E. D. Sims. It was beautifully and practically designed and considered at the time to be one of the best equipped African-American church buildings in Northern California. The building consisted of a sanctuary with the capacity of approximately 200 people, a balcony, a choir stand; a loft with additional seating capacity for approximately 100 more people; a social hall; and kitchen.
The depression of the 1930's and the reductions associated with it adversely affected Shiloh as it did so many other institutions and organizations. In August 1934, when Rev. J. T. Muse came to pastor Shiloh, the membership had declined from several hundred to 53 persons. Under his pastorate Shiloh was abundantly blessed spiritually, numerically, and financially. When Rev. Muse left Shiloh in 1947, the membership had increased to over 800 persons. Shiloh had also purchased its first bus to transport children to and from Sunday School , and had paid off most of its bills.
By May 15, 1948, Shiloh had paid off all of its indebtedness. This significant accomplishment was celebrated with a colorful parade led by the Salvation Army band from 3rd Street to the church site at 6th and P Streets. Here the mortgage was burned in an impressive ceremony presided over by Rev. Joseph Williams, who was pastor from 1947 to 1956.
In 1949, Shiloh purchased its first parsonage as a residence for the pastor and his family. This property was located on San Jose Way, near Broadway in the community of Oak Park. Also that year, the church made modifications to the edifice by adding a wing to each side of the sanctuary. One side was used as a nursery and the other as a combination classroom and area for additional seating during worship.
In 1954, Shiloh acquired some undeveloped property at 9th and 36th Streets. Additional adjacent property was purchased in 1957 in anticipation of the forced move from the property at 6th and P Streets because of Sacramento's Redevelopment Project. These newly acquired parcels of land were to be the site Shiloh's proposed new edifice. The architectural design and specifications for the building were developed by James C. Dodd & Associates, Inc., a locally owned African American firm. A ground breaking ceremony was conducted on the property site on April 13, 1958 with Rev. W. P. Cooke, pastor from 1957 to 1982, presiding.
Pastor Cooke completed the construction with volunteer assistance from the men of Shiloh. During this period, the women of Shiloh performed an invaluable service by providing delicious hot meals for the brethren, as they labored to help complete the church building project.
The new building was officially dedicated on October 13, 1963. Rev. F. D. Haynes, pastor of Third Baptist Church, San Francisco, delivered the dedication sermon.
Shiloh had many other noteworthy accomplishments under the leadership of Pastor Cooke, who in addition to serving as Pastor from 1957 to 1982, also served as Interim Pastor from 1990 and 1991. Some of these accomplishments are as follows:
In January 1983, Dr. O. C. Jones became pastor of Shiloh. He served until September 1985. During Dr. Jones' tenure, the membership grew significantly. Other accomplishments include the following:
After his resignation approximately 100 members requested letters of dismissal and organized Antioch Progressive Baptist Church.
Shiloh choose one of its Associate Ministers, Rev. Samuel Mullinax as Interim Pastor, while a search was made for a new pastor. Rev. Mullinax served in that capacity for approximately 2.5 years (1985-1988). He provided the church with the spiritual leadership and guidance needed to keep the church family together until a pastor was called.
The church called and installed Rev. Robert Porter as pastor in June 1988. He served in that capacity until April 1, 1990. At the time of Rev. Porter's departure, approximately 200 members requested letters of dismissal and organized Genesis Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Cooke was requested to act as Interim Pastor. He served in that role for one (1) year. On April 14, 1991, Rev. Clifford W. Cheathon, Sr., was installed as the new pastor. Some of the Church's accomplishments under his leadership are as follows:
In its 140 years of existence, Shiloh has had 26 Pastors and two (2) Interim Pastors. Shiloh was responsible for the organization and the founding of the following seven (7) churches.
The following brethren were members and Associate Ministers of Shiloh when called to Pastor other church's.
As Shiloh Baptist Church moves forward we shall continue to embrace the scripture: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Cor. 15:58) We have come this far by faith in God.
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