First Shiloh Baptist Church
A Condensed Version
The beginning of the First Shiloh Baptist Church of Mechanicsville, Virginia dates back to the year 1866. Prior to that time, there were no black churches in Hanover County. All black worshippers attended services at the white churches. First Shiloh sprang from the Walnut Grove Baptist Church of Mechanicsville, Virginia, whose pastor at that time was Dr. Robert Ryland. The majority of the founders of First Shiloh at one time belonged to Edward and William Sydnor as slaves. After freedom, these pioneers felt that they wanted a house of their own in which to worship.
Their first church was organized under an old brush arbor erected on a line between properties of Edward Sydnor and Walker Hogan, near the homesite of the late Reverend Mitchell Washington. After some time, this land passed into the hands of other owners, and the worshippers had to find another place.
Miss Sarah Edward Sydnor donated the present spot of ground to the people for the church on which a log building was erected. In time, the congregation began to outgrow the log building and the need for a larger building became evident. At that time, Reverend Hobe was the pastor.
As the years passed, other great pastors served: Reverend Edward. T. Gentry for 15 years; Reverend J. T. Turner for 7 years; Reverend W. D. Loving for 7 years; Reverend Percy Wallace for 15 years, followed by Reverend Jeffries, Reverend Louis H. Dickerson, and Reverend George D. Pinkney.
Reverend William L. Godsey became the ninth pastor and served from 1923-1959. Our Church experienced enormous spiritual and financial growth. Reverend William M. Davis became the tenth pastor serving from 1960-1962 and was succeeded by Reverend Ernest C. Fogle who served for from 1964- 1985.
Under the pastorate of Reverend Fogle, the Sunday Worship Services were changed from two Sundays per month to each Sunday, the newly-built rooms were furnished, organizational changes were made, new pews and pulpit set were purchased and dedicated and other changes were suggested for future approval. It was in 1968 that Reverend Junius Wright, Jr. was licensed and ordained. It was also during this administration that tragedy struck our congregation by way of fire Sunday Morning, September 14, 1975. With cooperation and help from the First Union Baptist Church, the Battlefield Park Elementary School and the Shiloh Lodge of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, there was always a place to gather for worship service and to hold business meetings. The first regular service held in the church after its restoration was Sunday, December 28, 1975.
Reverend Welton T. Smith, III served as the twelfth pastor from 1981-1985. It was during this time period that Sister Betty Cosby was accepted as a licentiate in the ministry. Under the continued pastorate of this dynamic young man, many innovative ideas were explored; some realized and some placed on hold. The Family Care Ministry was further implemented in which the Diaconate Ministry engaged in personal ministry to the families of the Church.
The Board of Christian Education was given new impetus and inspiration. Sister Sandra Wright-Bonner, the first Chairman of this Board, worked with the Pastor to introduce a number of workshops, clinics, discussion groups and training sessions, through the Board of Christian Education. The Annual Vacation Bible School, of personal interest to Reverend Smith, was also revitalized through this Board. Brother Carl N. Wright, now Pastor Wright, was ordained to the Diaconate Ministry on March 17, 1985.The Nurses' Guild was organized and the installation was held the First Sunday in September, 1985 with Nurse Glendora Winston, now Apostle Winston, as the first President.
March 8, 1988 marked the installation of Reverend Roy Neal Siler, the thirteenth pastor of First Shiloh. With him came an abundance of innovative ideas and strategies for building upon an already firm foundation of service to Hanover County and the surrounding Community. Numerous programs and ministries have been instituted under this dynamic leader. These ministries encompass every age group of the membership. One of the proudest accomplishments of First Shiloh under the pastorate of Reverend Siler is the "After School Assistance Program/Summer Enrichment Ministry" which renders a tremendous service throughout the community. This Program was directed by Reverend Proctor N. Beard for many years with a staff of several adults as well as youth. This program has received commendations from the Hanover and Henrico Public Schools with many of the referrals coming from the Schools. It is currently directed by Reverend Lamont Edwards.
Reverend Beard was the first minister licensed and ordained at First Shiloh under the pastorate of Reverend R. Neal Siler and later served as Pastor of Bloomfield Baptist Church of Wilson, VA and Springfield Baptist Church of Henrico County, VA. First Shiloh has continued to be blessed with additional Associate Ministers who serve to enhance our efforts to provide the highest quality of Christian Education and Bible based training for our families, as well as, to help evangelize our communities and mentor the youth of our Church. These Associates are: Reverends Shawn Dandridge, Glendora Winston, Floyd Miles, Glenda Baul, Severn Carpenter, Mia Marable, Sharon E. Siler, Sylvester Hansom, Miles M. Siler, Criss Tate, Howard Hopkins, Annie Mosley, Louis Baker, Tiffany Tate and Sharon Arrington.
Reverend Floyd A. Miles was ordained November 22, 1998 and now serves as pastor of Mt. Salem Baptist Church of Staunton, Virginia; Reverend Glendora Winston was ordained Sunday, October 26, 2003, and now serves as pastor of the Master's Touch Ministries; and Reverend Miles Siler was ordained Sunday, October 26, 2003, and now serves as pastor of the Smokey Row Baptist Church, Staunton, Virginia.
September 29, 1999 marked another historical milestone in the life of First Shiloh. The Lord allowed the Church to expand its facilities with the purchase of the former East Hanover Volunteer Rescue Squad. This facility was renamed First Shiloh Baptist Church Youth and Children's Enrichment Center. The After School Assistance Program/Summer Enrichment Ministry (renamed Sonlight Learning Center) is housed in this building. Additionally, it provides space where programs are held for the youth in the community and especially some of those sponsored by the Chickahominy Baptist Association Youth Division.
Expansion of First Shiloh Baptist Church Property includes the ownership of the former Shiloh Lodge of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows August 15, 2012. Several considerations are being studied for the future use of this building which has also been declared a historical site by Hanover County.
A First Shiloh Living Memorial Room has been created to perpetuate the magnificent legacy of this incredible Church Family. It will serve as an opportunity to reminisce about the many contributions as well as a continuous celebration of the lives of those who helped to make our Church a wonderful place to worship.
Our ministerial staff continues to grow and now includes our Executive Minister, Dr. Proctor N. Beard, SR, who has a strenuous plan for membership growth in Worship, Finances, Visitor Retention, new Member Assimilation, and Ministry Program Participation. Others Ministerial Team Members are: Dr. Sharon E. Siler, Dr. Alesia Johnson, Dr. Howard Hopkins, Reverend Glenda Glover Baul, Reverend Criss Tate, Reverend Tiffany Tate, Reverend Joslyn Perry, Reverend Felicia Jones, Reverend Annie Mosley, Reverend Phaulette Wood, Reverend Larry Sarratt and Reverend Sharon Arrington.
First Shiloh Baptist Church continues to be led by Dr. R. Neal Siler, our Senior Pastor, with the thematic Scripture:
"Not by might, nor by power, but by the spirit of the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6)