"The Stranger's Home"
Though proud and steeped in its rich heritage and traditions as documented in writings of her history, Shiloh also recognized its presence as a beacon of hope in a changing community. Along with spiritual responsibility, a new civic responsibility was championed under the title institutional church. The title was placed on the official sign bearing the church’s name, along with the inscription, The Stranger’s Home, thereby, introducing itself in a new way to carry out the work of the church in equally new and innovative ways.
Shiloh program began to reflect the growing concern of the church for the social and economic welfare of the community. More importantly, Rev. Waldron encouraged the development of unique, unprecedented programs that tapped the expertise of the lay leaders of the church. Before social service agencies and educators had developed programs for early child care, Shiloh operated a day nursery at New Jersey Avenue and Pierce Street. The nursery was established in 1914 to assist working mothers during World War I. The idea of providing child care for working mothers was an innovative one at the time, and the management of the child care center was under the pastor’s wife Martha Waldron, a professionally-trained and experienced educator.
Another path breaking program was the coaching class, supervised by Grace Coleman, a professor of English at Howard University. Coaching classes were instituted into the church program to help students overcome academic difficulties. The classes were open to the community free of charge and regardless of religious affiliation.
This legacy of community service and outreach continues through the ministries at Shiloh and social programs sponsored by the Henry C. Gregory III Family Life Center Foundation. Our Friend of Shiloh, Reverend Robert Phillips, embodies Shiloh’s spirit of servitude, outreach and inclusion through his ministry as a Pastoral Counselor.
Calbert, Madlyn W., ed., From Strength to Strength: A History of the Shiloh Baptist Church - 1863-1988. Washington, DC, 1989.