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Shiloh: Their Answered Prayer – Our Place of Worship

 “For the body is not one member, but many.”  1 Cor. 12:14 KJV

These days, it looks like the urgency and the influence of the church is disappearing, and as we approach our Church’s 115th Anniversary I wonder how do we get back to the fire and desire to build a church like we did 115 years ago? What is it that makes the need to establish a church so important? If it takes people, what kind of people? If it takes money, then where is it going to come from? If it takes commitment what does that mean?

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal is constitutional through the Plessy v Ferguson Case. Immediately following, local and state laws were created and in some cases enhanced, to prohibit Black people from participating fully in American Society. The Church has always had impact, and it is no secret that the Black Church is a staple in our community. When we could depend on no one else we knew we could depend on God. We knew the power of prayer and worship, so we had to build our own churches.

We persisted through faith, and all these many years later it’s hard to imagine what the world was like in the 1900s when Shiloh Baptist Church was established. Against all odds, time marched on, and there were many accomplishments and many set-backs, but our Church history tells us that in July 1907, a small group of concerned citizens came together to formulate this church. And here we stand; 115 years later.

The 1900s were depressing times. It was an era filled with strenuous hard work and did not offer much of a future for the family. Theodore Roosevelt was POTUS. If you could afford it, you could go to the movies for a nickel. If you were an average worker, you earned $3,000 annually, and you virtually would be stuck in the same job for the rest of your life. If you could get one.

At the time that the vision of Shiloh was evolving Major League Baseball, America’s favorite past time, was played by the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. The Cubs won the series four games to none. In 1907, the paper towel was invented. A Philadelphia school teacher found a way to keep her students from perpetuating a cold epidemic by cutting separate pieces of paper to avoid the sharing the same cloth towel. That was great, but the founders of Shiloh were on a bigger mission.

In 1907, Americans had a life-expectancy of just 45.6 years for men, and 49.9 for women. This was also the year that typhoid fever, an abdominal disease which was spread through water and food supplies, ravaged the nation. Public health officials discovered that 47 people that had been stricken with the disease were all from families that employed a cook named Mary from which the disease originated. Finally getting a hold on it, “Typhoid Mary” was safely quarantined, and the world marched on.

Like in these Pandemic times, there was much need for prayer in those days, and I can imagine that the founding members of Shiloh huddled together and prayed for survival, and the day that they would assemble together as one body in their own place. They called on the Name of Jesus, and He responded.

In those days, there was no indoor plumbing, no telephone, and no cars. Most teenagers did not attend school. If you were white you labored in factories, or fields, if you were Black. About 60% of the population were farmers. Men went out to work and women stayed home and took care of the house and the children. If people had means, they would travel by railroad or by sea, otherwise they walked. Most people generally lived within a small circle of friends, neighbors and relatives.

And it was that small circle of family, friends and neighbors to whom we pay homage today, as we celebrate the existence of their vision, which has stood for 115 years. It was their commitment, their faith, and their love for Christ that fostered this Black Church in a predominantly White community here in Rockville Centre, New York. Chosen and elected by God, they came together, and with overwhelming support, and determination, Shiloh is what it was meant to be- their answered prayer, and our place of worship.

These times are much like the times of our past. They are difficult times, and there is so much to pray about. The Church has endured, and we have lived through years of slavery, racism, bigotry, and genocide. We have had to fight many battles- the right to vote; the right to make a living; the right to own property or a business; and the right to education, even the right to worship. And we have fought with our hands up in total surrender to our God, and bowed on our knees, in total submission to His will for HIS Church. These times are indicative of all times, and through it all prayer still works. This House of Prayer has remained, and will continue through future generations.

In concert with His redemptive act Jesus established the framework of His Church. He chose humans to carry out His work, and we understand that this building is not the Church. We are. And we are overcomers, because Christ overcame – for us. He has been our strength in every battle, and we have been fortified by His Word, “…I will build my church.”  (Matthew 16:18).  In celebration of our 115th Anniversary, we recognize that we stand because we are built on a strong foundation. We have come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord.

What is it that makes the need to establish a church so important? It’s the message of the Cross. If it takes people, what kind of people? If it takes money, then where is it going to come from? If it takes commitment, what does that mean? Selah.

We are the redeemed people of God who seek His face and declare His Word. We stand and understand that The Message of the Cross is still urgent, and by the grace of God we all have a part to play in it. We recognize, and are grateful for Shiloh’s rich history, including Pastor Washington’s 32 years of obedience.

Under the unction of The Holy Spirit a few came together 115 years ago to start Shiloh, but it is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, who is the foundation and the Chief Cornerstone, on which we stand. To God Be the Glory! Happy 115th Anniversary Shiloh!
 
Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon


We Have Our Marching Orders

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7 NKJV

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” is a quotation taken from a pamphlet written some time ago by Thomas Paine. He wrote these words during the time that America was in crisis during the American Revolutionary War.

Thomas Paine, known as the father of the revolution, was a high-school drop-out who worked for his father and was fired by him two times. But he later took up journalism, and became a respected writer who was very vocal about world peace. He gained the respect of General George Washington, and his pamphlet series called The American Crisis helped to inspire the formation of the US Army.

The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, secured a United States of America independent from Great Britain. Fighting began on April 19, 1775, followed by the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The American Patriots were supported by France and Spain, conflict taking place in North America, the Caribbean, and Atlantic Ocean.

The American Revolutionary war was primarily caused by colonial opposition to British attempts to impose greater control over the colonies and to make them repay the crown for its defense of them during the French and Indian War.

I didn’t get this then, when I was back in high-school and I certainly had no intention of going back there now. But Paine’s words resounded in me, having learned them back in high school, when we had to memorize and recite them. Some brevity of them rang in my ear when I began to think about, and ponder why we, America, are in the state that we’re in right now. These are trying times, and it dawned on me that America is in Crisis, again. Thomas Paine’s sentiments seemed to be relevant to where we find ourselves today, and we need to be encouraged again.

The more I read about Thomas Paine and the Revolution, I felt like I was drowning, in a sea of questions, trying to find rest for my soul in light of the most recent events facing our country. The fact that the war went on so long was implication that we are in a fierce battle that already has gone on too long. While back in the day we were fighting for the rights to Molasses, Sugar, Currency and Stamp, all legitimate concerns of the times, today we must contend with Covid, The War in Ukraine, Monkey-Pox, Mass Shootings, Crime, Mental Illness, and Homelessness in our streets. I am concerned about the safety of my 5th grade grandson who attends Oyster Bay Elementary School, and my 2 year old grandson who is in daycare. I am concerned about my safety and that of my husband and my son, Black men who drive up and down our streets daily.

I don’t know if it’s going to take a war like the Revolution, but I recognize that we are in fierce combat and it looks like the enemy is winning. These truly are the times that try men’s souls. While we bear much of the responsibility for what is happening in our world, we are powerless because we are prayer-less. We can call for stricter gun laws and we should, but we cannot legislate a heart. We can march and protest and we should, but we cannot change a heart.

Although hundreds of years ago, delving into the cause and effect surrounding the history of the Revolutionary War, created anxiety in me. Feeling helpless and hopeless in these times, I found no relief except to pray, “Come Lord Jesus. Come!” I know that no matter what it looks like, or what it feels like, He is our hope. He is our help. He is our Banner. He is our Shield. We are soldiers in His army.

Thomas Paine encouraged the American soldiers with these words; and they are as relevant today as they were then:

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

Very powerful words, and fitting for our times today. But if we are going to win the war we’re in, we must be obedient to the Word, and the strategy that the Lord has given us in Ephesians 6:10-18: The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the [a]wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [b]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—Read full chapter.

Thomas Paine is noted to have been anti-slavery and anti-Christian. In his writing “The Age of Reason,” he seems to know a lot about the Lord, but in his lifetime, he never embraced Him. And much like Paul, before his conversion on the Damascus Road, Paine persecuted the church .His blinded eyes were never opened. Therefore, denounced by many of his friends, he died at the age of 72. Because of his outspoken position against the Church, as politically encouraging as he was, he vehemently fought against the Church, and was rejected by many. Death was his only friend, and when he died only three people attended his funeral, two of which were freed Black men.

These are the times that try men’s soul, but our faith and our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. The battle is not ours. It’s the Lord’s, and we have our marching orders! 
 
Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon

 



Who is A Father?

Most would agree that a prerequisite to any one being a father is that they first must be male.  When God created humans, He made male and female; “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27 KJV).  The dictionary defines the male as a person bearing an X and Y chromosome that produces a seed for the conception of a child[1] and a female is a person bearing two X chromosomes that produces the egg cells that allow for the conception of children.  This is how God created the family; “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28 KJV).  The Creator created a perfect design for human relationships which started with His very own masterpiece called a family; “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:22-24 KJV).  Human beings were God’s own masterpiece; “For we are God’s masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to perform good actions that God prepared long ago to be our way of life” (Ephesians 2:10 ISV).  The Potter (Romans 9) took clay from the dust that He created and molded it into a work of art and breathed Himself into that clay and that which was formed from the dust of the earth became the progenitor of all that was human, male and female.   

Ironically, the description of people remains male and female or man and woman until children are conceived.  After the conception of children, the terms father and mother are given to those who conceived the children.  Many ask, is that all that is required to be a father and a mother?  Each year we set aside a special day to honor our fathers and our mothers.  In this current day and age it is probably true that we should thank those parents who did allow us to be born into the world and to experience the breath of life when they could have so easily done what Margaret Sanger said on page 63 of her 1920 book titled ‘Woman and the New Race’, “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it”[2].     

When God created man, He created man in His own image;  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26 KJV).  If God left His throne in heaven and decide to walk among people, He would look like us with two hands, two feet, two eyes, etc.  He would talk to us in a language that we could understand.  We can easily surmise that if God made us in His own image, then we probably should not only look like Him, and that is to look like God who would look like a human being while walking on earth, but we should probably also try to act like Him.  If we believe that God is our Creator, then it’s not difficult to understand that He should also be our example of what we should be.  In the garden of Eden, God wanted to spend intimate time with His creation and that’s why He came back to the garden after Adam and Eve disobeyed His command.  God was looking to spend time in the garden with them. The Apostle John says in John 1, that before the world began, the Word was already there.  The Word was God in the form of the man named Jesus. He was with God, and everything was made through Him, and nothing was made without Him. Jesus calls God, His Father and when Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross, he allowed us to be adopted into God’s family, so that we now call God, our Father.  What better example of a father than God Himself? 

Who is God?  God is love (1 John 4:8) .  God should be our example of what a father should be.  God adopted us as His children, and He’s been the best father that most of us have ever had.  When children look at their own fathers, they should see the love of God (1 John 4:16).  What is love?  This is love – “For God So Loved the World, that He Gave His Only Begotten Son, that Whosoever Believeth in Him Should Not Perish But Have Everlasting Life” (John 3:16 KJV).  What greater love is there than for a person to give up their only child to die for people that don’t know how to love back? Here’s true love – “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10 KJV).  For those of us that want to know how we can love like that we first need to understand what Jesus did for us – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).  Once we understand that then accepting the challenge of being a father doesn’t seem so impossible. 

Being a father is not about being a sperm donor or getting a woman pregnant.  Being a father is doing what God did for us and that is to demonstrate love for those that are around us.  God is the epitome of love but for us, love is shown by what we do and the first thing that we should do is to love God and then let Him teach us how to love others.  How do we love God?  Loving God is shown by obedience to what He tells us to do in His Word –  If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15 KJV).  Loving others starts with loving God first (1 John 5:2-3).  Who is a father?  A father is a man who obeys God’s Word and allows the Lord to teach him how to love others.  Love our wives, love our children, love our neighbors and then we can truly give honor to ‘Father’s Day’.

[1] https://www.dictionary.com/browse/male

[2] https://archive.org/details/womannewrace00sang/page/62/mode/2up?view=theater&q=kill