Historic church celebrating 150 years of community service

Interfaith congregations from across the region came together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the historically black Shiloh Baptist Church at 8310 Turning Leaf Lane in McLean, with other special activities along the way.

The religious center has supported the people of the area through periods of segregation, women’s suffrage, political unrest, and progress as Northern Virginia developed.

“God has done so many great things throughout the life of this ministry; however, there is so much more to accomplish,” said Reverend Dr. Robert F. Cheeks Jr., who is celebrating 15 years as head of the congregation. “At a time when many churches have closed, Shiloh still stands on solid footing.”

Shiloh Baptist Church was founded and organized in 1872 by Cyrus Franklin Carter, who also organized other historic churches like Vienna First Baptist Church and Chesterbrook First Baptist Church.

The 150th anniversary events kicked off with food and fellowship at a church-sponsored picnic on July 16. Congregants from Lewinsville Presbyterian Church and Chesterbrook First Baptist Church attended the event.

“We are proud to be members of a church that has supported and thrived in worship and community service for 150 years,” said Michelle Spady, Shiloh Member and Anniversary Celebration Team Leader. .

Like many religious institutions, Shiloh Baptist has had to adapt over the past two years during the COVID pandemic. The church is currently livestreaming all of its Sunday services and has also resumed in-person gatherings on the first and third Sundays of the month, with the second and fourth Sundays being virtual only.

The celebration continues on August 20 with “Spotlight on Shiloh,” taking place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the McLean Community Center.

The milestone anniversary festivities will culminate with a brunch cruise on September 17, followed by a special service on September 18, when the bell of the restored church will ring ceremoniously. The public is invited.

For more information about the church, see the website at https://shilohbcva.nm-secure.com.

Congregants from a number of churches attended a picnic in July 2022 to kick off the 150th anniversary celebrations of Shiloh Baptist Church in McLean.

Norma P. Rex