It was in June 1907, that Glendora Hankins called together a group of people for the purpose of organizing the first Black Baptist Church in Rockville Centre, New York, that led to the Shiloh Baptist Church being formed.  It is not clear where this meeting took place, but without suitable places to hold subsequent gatherings, Sister Hankins and her supporters took turns meeting weekly for worship services by moving from house to house.  Mr. & Mrs. Wiley was the first to host a service, in the form of a mission, in their home.
Launching a membership recruitment drive, Reverend A. Hill, Pastor of St. John’s Baptist Church, Jamaica, New York, moderated the mission.  With four from Reverend Hill’s church, the membership soon grew to sixteen.  They did not have a building, but they were still a church; and they called themselves, “Shiloh,” and elected the first officers, and organized several ministries.
On July 25th, 1907, Shiloh Baptist Church was incorporated, which marked a key milestone in its storied history.  In October 1907, the Shiloh Church family moved from residences, to a new meeting facility at 158 Merrick Road in Rockville Centre. The exact date is sketchy, but

Original Shiloh Location – 87 Banks Avenue RVC, NY 11575 – 1939

approximately two years later, Shiloh, still in its infancy, purchased a lot at 87 Banks Avenue, in Rockville Centre. Pleased with the work of these humble Saints, the Lord rewarded them with a small-frame building. They purchased the building, and transported the structure to 87 Banks Avenue, where they set it down.
Applause and recognition followed this accomplishment and the congregation moved into their first church building.  Shiloh, after all, was the first Black Baptist Church in the Village that was formerly known as “Near Rockaway,” before taking its name from a local mill owner and civic leader, Mordecai Rock Smith; and Shiloh was the first Black Baptist Church in Nassau County to own property.  Sister Gertrude Ulmer, a long- standing member, prior to her passing, reflected that in Shiloh’s early days, “To get to the basement you had to go outside of the building.”  Her father, Deacon Benjamin Jenkins, also served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons, and her mother, Ophelia Jenkins served on the choir, when she was pregnant with her.
Like its successor, the first Shiloh was a house of worship known for its harmonious, spirit-filled music, and was the first church around, with a pipe organ.  While things were good, there were some minor setbacks, including Reverend Hill’s resignation, which sounded a sour note among the membership, but Shiloh prevailed under the leadership of subsequent successors, including Reverend Dudley, Reverend Harrell, Reverend Spencer Miles, and Reverend Arthur Wainwright.  
In 1937, Reverend Morgan M. Days was called, and accepted the call to lead the church.  Some three decades later, Shiloh became incorporated.  The church grew rapidly under Pastor Days’ guidance, and Sister Ulmer, who had just turned eight at the time, was baptized by him, soon after his arrival.

Rev. Dr. Morgan Days with SBC’s Associate Ministers and Deacons – 1939

In 1939, two years after Dr. Days took over as Pastor, the mortgage for the property at 87 Banks Avenue, was burned, and less than a decade later in 1945, Shiloh purchased property on the corner of North Centre Avenue and Willoughby Street, the site of the present-day church.
By 1951, a campaign to raise funds for the construction of the new church was in full swing, attracting widespread support from neighboring residents and church members.  Dr. Days, who was well-loved in the community received generous contributions, cash, and sweat from people throughout the community and beyond.  The men of the church, short on funds, but not on commitment laid the floors, and built the steps, making it possible for the cornerstone to be laid in 1953.
In October 1953, the world-renowned opera singer, Dorothy Maynor, performed an amazing concert in Rockville Centre, to help raise money for the building of the new church. The new Shiloh was completed in June 1954, and was dedicated June 22, 1958, approximately four years after it was built. Many of the surrounding churches and neighboring businesses contributed cash, as well as furnishings to the new church.  One church pitched in pulpit furniture.  Another, the B-Line bus company, contributed an organ, and it is noted here, that Sister Clara Hadley, who was Deacon Jenkins daughter and Sister Ulmer’s sister, was pianist at Shiloh for more than three decades. The organ bell would toll every Sunday before service, alerting everyone in its proximity that the gospel was going forth, and even at 12PM on watchnight. The Mayor of the Village of Rockville Centre, and various village officials, and clergy attended the dedication services for the newly incorporated Shiloh Baptist Church.
Other dignitaries also came to Shiloh.  Sister Lenora Quinones recalls being at there when Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., came to the church.  His presence gave the people in Shiloh and around the Rockville Centre community a sense of pride and hope.  Great things were happening, and sometime later in the 1970s, a day care center named after one of the church organizers, known today as Rosa Lee Young Day Childhood Center, was located at the church, and had playground equipment. They were good times.  A person could walk by on any Wednesday night and hear the praises going up in prayer meeting, to a faithful God.
In October 1985, after almost fifty years of dedicated service, Pastor Days submitted his resignation due to his failing health.  He served as Pastor Emeritus until his death in 1987. In May of that year, the Village of Rockville Centre honored Reverend Days by changing the name of Willoughby Street to Morgan Days Lane. The Village of Rockville Centre also named one of its parks after Dr. Days.
Following Dr. Days, Shiloh, under the able leadership of Reverend Reginald E. Greene, its ministers and its board, led by Deacon William Sandefur, continued on an upward and progressive course along with its kingdom-building journey.  Reverend Greene and Reverend Alton E. Jones, served as interim co-pastors for about two years, and Reverend Greene was elected pastor in February 1987. He served until October 1988.
In June 1990, the Lord blessed Shiloh with a new shepherd.  Beckoned from Pennsgrove, New Jersey, Reverend Herman Washington answered the call to pastorate.  Growing up in Philadelphia, Reverend Washington got his early religious education alongside his late father, Reverend Julius Mosley, Pastor of the St. Stephen’s Baptist Church.  Having served as Associate Minister of the Beulah Baptist Church of Philadelphia, and Pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, Pennsgrove, NJ for eight years, Pastor Washington has led Shiloh for over twenty-eight years.  He has reorganized and established the overall vision and ministries of our church.  On his watch, the Shiloh Church family continues to experience tremendous spiritual maturity, and growth. With an unwavering commitment to preach, teach, and live the Word of God with authenticity, Pastor Washington’s dedication has caused many to seek Salvation and to give their lives to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Rev. Herman Washington, Pastor

Surely, the spirits of Shiloh past are pleased with the direction of the legacies handed down by them.  It makes us smile when we picture them smiling from Heaven looking at the place where they once sat and worshipped.  We are often reminded by Pastor Washington that the church is neither the building, nor its pews.  The church, like the first century church which had no pews, pulpit or walls – like the first Shiloh – is you and me.  We are the Church!  In truth, the church is made up of every person who has been born again from the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 to this very day.  The Church is the people of God from every generation, every nation, and every place under the SON.
So, then the Church is not a building made up of brick and mortar, wood, stone, or nails, but rather it is specifically the people who have been chosen by a Sovereign God to be His own.  This speaks of privilege, because you do not join the church, you must be born into it! When we gather in this place, our building, let us be reminded that if the building burns down, the Church will stand!  For, we are the Church.

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Shiloh Baptist Church | 96 North Centre Ave, RVC, NY 11570 | 516-764-8311 | shilohbaptrvc@optonline.net