Shiloh Baptist Delivers

[img_assist|nid=136716|title=Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Sign|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=225]Summary
Following a reader’s suggestion, I visited Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church last Sunday. I was most impressed with every aspect of their service from the warm greeting upon entering, to the extraordinary musical praise service led by guest Minister of Worship Corey Williams and Shiloh’s Worship Team, the spirit-filled prayer by long-time Pastor Alonzo Patterson, and his insightful sermon based on the Jesus’ Parable of the Lost Coin. Patterson posed the question, like the coin in the parable could we be lost in the house?

This church looks and feels like a church inside. Shiloh is attended by those who dress as though this is a special occasion, and served by ushers uniformly dressed in black, all wearing white gloves. Every aspect of the service caught my attention. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Why Shiloh?
A reader suggested I try Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for a truly warm greeting and great service. I was already aware this was a predominately African American church but knew little else. Parking can be a bit tight around their Chester Creek church so I chose to park on the street without problem.

I Liked My Greeting
Greeted by several well-dressed greeters as I entered, I ascended the stairs to the sanctuary, and further directed to a pew by a white gloved usher. There is no mistaking you are in a church at Shiloh. Many churches today just do not feel like places of worship. Accents of stained glass on front and side windows add to the atmosphere. The pews are outfitted in accents of white.

Music Worked for Me
The Worship Team commenced singing soon after I had taken my seat. Their twelve members were dressed in black, with the women members wearing purple satin sashes or vests making for a distinctive and attractive sight. The guest Minister of Worship, Corey Williams, was in town to rehearse and lead the Martin Luther King Citywide Choir for its 3 p.m. Sunday concert in conjunction with the MLK Citywide celebration at the PAC. Leading from the keyboard, Pastor Williams created a masterful backdrop for the Worship Team to sing. I loved all of their renditions but was quite moved by their singing of “Total Praise”. A five piece band backed up the Worship Team and successfully did not trample them with overly aggressive accompaniment. The music was greeted with exuberance by the worshipers with many standing and moving with the music.

Powerful Pastoral Prayer
Pastor Patterson offered the pastoral prayer. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a minister beseech God with such fervency. A relatively long prayer, he especially dwelt on the family and the problems that beset them. I was most touched by this man of God approaching the throne of Grace boldly but with power, doubtless backed by his personal relationship with God and a strong understanding of the love of God through scripture.

Great Sermon
It’s not often I hear a sermon delivered with such power and conviction. Connected with his Rebirth Series, Pastor Alonzo Patterson based his remarks on Jesus’ parable of the lost coin. He noted it is possible to be lost in the church (house). Things that are lost in the house may be due to being covered up with stuff. We can ignore the lost coin. The lost coin can be neglected, think our children here. Pointing out that we need new birth or rebirth, he concluded the sermon with a powerful story about the sparrow and the butterfly. You can hear this very service broadcast on Anchorage’s Channel 5, KYES this coming Sunday. Shiloh’s services are broadcast on a one week delay basis. Concluding with an alter call to the wonderful song “Love Lifted Me”, one of the praise team members offered the prayer, a fitting conclusion to a meaningful service.

This church, its ministerial team, and Christian demeanor impressed me. One word describes this church and style of worship adequately: exuberance. I’m glad I visited Shiloh and hope to do so again.
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