In November of 1870, an enthused group of members, from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC, organized Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church on a wooded parcel of land on the corner of McRae and Walnut Streets in Wilmington, North Carolina. Their first organized service was held, in 1873, in their wooden church. The church grew and, due to the growth, the church was replaced in 1884 with a larger wooden edifice. Throughout the decades after the first service, there were eleven pastors.
LET THE CHURCH ROLL ON
By 1915, Shiloh’s growth in the congregation, during the last nine years, had increased from 150 to more than 700 members; for which a much larger brick church was built in 1914. In June 1924, the pastor Rev. Dr. William H. Moore invited Dr. Spurgeon (noted black evangelist from Maryland) to address a mass meeting; his topic was “The Negro: His Part and Place in The World’s Greatest Conflict.” The invitation in the city’s newspaper read “White people ‘who appreciate that the Negro is an integral part of the community’ are invited.” He came on behalf of the NAACP. By 1937, Shiloh’s membership had increased to 982 members. Under Pastor Moore’s leadership during the Great Depression of 1929, Shiloh shared food supplies and dinners with members and community. Upon his death in 1942, Dr. Moore had served Shiloh and the community since 1905, for 37 years.
After Dr. Moore, pastors of Shiloh were Rev. O. A. Sherrill (1943) and Dr. J. H. Moore (1944-1954). On March 27, 1955, Rev. W. B. Lewis was installed as Pastor of Shiloh. One cold morning in December 1955, Shiloh was destroyed by fire due to a faulty furnace. Immediately, Rev. Lewis began fundraising efforts; one very successful event was Mahalia Jackson, renowned Gospel singer, in an integrated concert. Within five years, Shiloh rebuilt the sanctuary and classrooms as a more modern structure, along with the parsonage. Following Rev. Lewis (1955-1964), pastors chosen were Rev. O. A. Hester (1964-1969) and Rev. Dr. J. W. Barnes (1970-1976). Dr. Barnes had a deep regard for education. He fervently believed in the youth and their future. Following Dr. Barnes was Rev. Carl Lee (1976-1980).
In 1980, Rev. Dr. William P. Vaughn took over the helm of Shiloh, after Rev. Lee’s departure. He was a great academic scholar, teacher, and community service advocate. He was a man on a mission; deeply involved in and a participant in community boards and providing a needed supportive pastoral atmosphere and wisdom to the congregants. During the illness and after the demise of Dr. Vaughn in 1993, Rev. Dr. Aaron McCrae (1993-1994) served as an interim pastor. He was considered the “bridge builder.”
Rev. Dr. Charles Cottemond (1994-2001) served as the next pastor of Shiloh; having served as Chaplain in the Armed Services. He was instrumental in having the EASY program initiated at Shiloh for suspended students in the New Hanover County School System. A government-sponsored project with the goal of allowing students to maintain their classwork. In addition, the Youth Advisory Ministry was created, which provided support and goals of the Shiloh youth.
In August 2002, Rev. Darryl K. Ferguson became the 23rd pastor of Shiloh. Many goals were met: Youth Advisory Ministry continued to be a positive and strengthening influence on the youth of Shiloh in support of their aspirations; redesigned vestibule with unisex handicapped accessible restroom; Missionary Clothes Give-Away in spring and in fall; community cookout. Also, Shiloh accepted request for worship of notables: Gov. Bev Perdue (D) of North Carolina and ‘ the future’ US Attorney General Eric Holder (at the time). Rev. Ferguson left Shiloh in March 2015.
During our pastoral search (2015-2019), the Chairman of the Deacon Ministry, Deacon LeRon Montgomery, guided the atmosphere of Shiloh…as given by the meaning of its name…SHILOH = a place of rest and peace. The primary spiritual leaders for the interim were Elder Dan Smith and Rev. James Farmer; others who served the congregants were Rev. Ra’Keim Martin and Rev. Rodney A. Hansley, Sr. For Women’s Day Observance in May 2016, our speaker was The Honorable Ivy Ruth Taylor, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas; the first African American mayor since 1837 and the second woman to hold the office of mayor.
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church’s strength lies in UNITY. On November 3, 2019, Rev. Dr. Reginald A. Barnes Sr. was installed as pastor for Shiloh. 1870 - present: Shiloh’s glorious history has much to celebrate in the dash in viable service by and for the members and for the community.