Shiloh Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia has been an integral part of the religious community of Atlanta since its founding in 1886 by Rev. J. H. Hall. The rich and glorious legacy of leadership, service, and community has continued “down through the years.” Rev. Tom Reed provided strong leadership from 1886 until 1897, when Rev. W. H. Lowe, along with several trustees purchased property at 713 Greens Ferry Avenue. This property was purchased at a cost of eleven dollars and sixty cents ($11.60) over a period of eight years. The mortgage was held by Merchants and Mechanics Banking and Loan Co. This property became the site for erecting the first church building for the Shiloh congregation.
From 1886-1925, Shiloh was blessed with many capable and dynamic leaders. Among those leaders were, Rev. B. R. Porter, Rev. William Williams, Rev. L. H. Mills, Rev. McIver, Rev. Collins, Rev. Charles Hubert and Rev. Benjamin E. Mays who became nationally recognized as an educator, activist and orator. In 1926, Rev. William P. King succeeded Rev. Mays as pastor of Shiloh. Rev. King proved to be an effective and capable leader. He served as pastor of Shiloh from 1926-1958, thus becoming one of the longest serving pastors in the church’s history. In 1934, under his guidance and leadership, Shiloh sold its Greens Ferry Avenue property. On March 5, 1935 the church made another move, onward and upward, establishing a new place of worship at 812 Beckwith Street.
As Shiloh continued to grow in its service endeavors and membership, a new pastor took the helm. In 1958, Rev. Clarence J. Gresham was called to serve as pastor. Rev. Gresham emphasized leadership and provided a vision for improving the physical edifice. During his tenure, from 1958-1974, Shiloh purchased pews and added instrumentation that included a piano and an organ. Rev. Gresham also envisioned the laity being prepared for greater responsibility. As a result, Shiloh organized auxiliaries, which included the C.J. Gresham Courtesy Guild, the Faithful Few Club and the Deaconess Board.
In 1975, Rev. James H. Sims became the pastor of Shiloh. Rev. Sims served the Shiloh congregation and church community faithfully for forty (40) years, thus becoming the longest serving pastor. Upon his retirement in 2015, he became Pastor Emeritus. Under his leadership, the name of the church was officially changed to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Inc. on September 26, 1975. In 1978, Shiloh purchased property on Westview Drive (the current home of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church). The groundbreaking ceremony was held in April of 1979 and construction began in May of that same year. After the final service at 812 Beckwith Street on December 16, 1979, Shiloh congregants held service at M. Agnes Jones School in the interim. The initial service at the 1150 Westview Drive location was held on September 7, 1980. This was a momentous occasion for the Shiloh Church Family. It marked a new era in the history of the church. From 2000 to date, Shiloh has completed other building projects, purchased additional property and increased membership.
Additionally, under Rev. Sims’ leadership, Shiloh strengthened many of its outreach programs. Other noteworthy accomplishments include the following:
- Work in missions broadened in scope, as well as purpose; Church organizations were now called “Ministries;”
- The “Ministries” of the church also began to focus on issues of family life, education, visitation, and youth;
- Christian Education and Outreach became focal points for serving and empowering the community; and
- A model whereby trained professional clergy and lay could work in unity to fulfill the “ great commission of Jesus Christ” was implemented.
Once again God has blessed Shiloh with an anointed leader and man of God, Rev. Phillip R. A. Spann. Rev. Spann began his pastorate at Shiloh on April 1, 2015. Prior to that, he faithfully and ably served as Associate Minister from 2010-2015. Rev Spann continues to build upon the foundation and strong model of leadership exemplified by all of Shiloh’s God-sent leaders. He understands the importance of embracing Shiloh’s fruitful history while fulfilling Shiloh’s dynamic destiny for the Kingdom of God.
More importantly, Rev. Spann is committed to fulfilling the “Great Commission” through Evangelizing the Doomed, Empowering the Disciple, and Exalting the Divine.
Deacon Linda Hayes King, Church Historian