Shiloh Baptist Church in Alderson will host its 139th “Homecoming” on Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Alderson Presbyterian Church on South Monroe Street. Members of the church have chosen “An Historic Church for a Historic Time” as the theme for this year’s gathering.
Shiloh invites former members of Shiloh, their family, friends, and the entire community to enjoy a day of good old fashioned fellowship, spirited preaching, homemade goodies, gospel music, and remembrance. This Homecoming is also an opportunity to support the congregation as it continues to recover from last year’s devastating flood.
Shiloh Baptist Church was established in 1879 and the church building was completed in 1880. Shiloh played a large role in the West Virginia Baptist Convention and hosted a statewide meeting in the 1890s, 1909, and again in 1915. Their pastor, Rev. C.N. Harris, was elected president of the Baptist Association of West Virginia in 1914. The church served as an important religious and social center in Alderson. Located above the social hall, which is next door to the church, the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows provided social insurance and opportunities for leadership to the African American community.
The 11 a.m. service will feature a Son of Shiloh, Rev. Ken Jones, pastor of the Mather Christian Church in Mather PA who will set the tone with a message of renewal, hope and recommitment. A meal will be served following the morning service. The afternoon service will begin at 3 p.m., Janice Cooley, a member of the Board of Directors of the Greenbrier Historical Society will serve as the MC. She will introduce special guest Theda Skocpol, PhD. Director, Scholars Strategy Network and Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. Dr. Skocpol will speak on the topic of “Understanding the Importance of African American Fraternal Groups.” Dr. Skocpol said, “The research my colleagues and I did some years ago for our book ‘What A Mighty Power We Can Be’ really opened our eyes to the unique and important role that African American fraternal groups, including the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, played in American history and the struggles for equal civil rights in our country.”
The afternoon preacher is Rev. Greg E. Scott, pastor of First Baptist Church in White Sulphur Springs. He understands the struggle of Shiloh having led the renovation of the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church in White Sulphur. In his many years of ministry, he has created a church philosophy that “everybody is somebody and no one is a stranger.”
The members and friends of Shiloh Baptist invite everyone to join this Homecoming celebration and take the opportunity to renew, reflect, and recommit to the legacy of Shiloh.