Shiloh Holds Groundbreaking For $2.1 Million Community Services Building

Shiloh Baptist Church | 8/30/2010, 3:24 p.m.

Shiloh Baptist Church is holding a groundbreaking ceremony for a $2.1 million community services building that is part of its planned development of an estimated $18.3 million Victory Village Complex. Groundbreaking for the Wallace Charles Smith Community Service Building will follow the 10:55 a.m. service on September 12, Super Sunday at Shiloh. During the worship service, four new congregants will be baptized and 7 women and 7 men and women will be ordained as Deacons at 4 p.m.

The Shiloh congregation and invited dignitaries will gather for the historic groundbreaking ceremony at 1533 Ninth Street, NW across the street from the Henry C. Gregory Family Life Center. Invited dignitaries include D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, D.C. Councilmembers Jack Evans, David Catania, Kwame Brown and Phil Mendelson, and ANC Commissioner Alex Padro.
The Community Services Building, named in honor of Shiloh's Senior Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, is the first of four properties to be developed as part of the church's Victory Village Project. The Victory Village Project is the vision of Dr. Smith, who recently celebrated 19 years as the Pastor at Shiloh.

It was on that occasion that he recalled the history of the church after the fire in 1991 and the recent controversy over the development of the church's property. "Who could have imagined a fire six months after our arrival would change the course of our church's history forever. Through these years we have faced enormous challenges. After the fire we had to determine whether we would remain in D.C. or exit for the suburbs.

We had to decide to rebuild and then determine the scope of our rebuilding. We had to establish where we would get the financing for the project at a time when the all consuming passion was trying to pay off the Family Life Center," Pastor Smith wrote recently in his weekly message to the congregation.

He said the congregation decided to rebuild and continue Shiloh's "rich legacy in the Shaw neighborhood" so a design was developed that "would make our church one of the finest architectural masterpieces in the Nation." But challenges for Shiloh didn't end once the sanctuary building was completed.

"We had to endure the Herculean challenge of raising the funds to eradicate the debt while maintaining the vitality of our ministries and our social outreach and justice programs," Pastor Smith continued. More recently Shiloh endured a court challenge "that was intended to discourage us but only made us stronger," he said.

"Now we are poised to move forward with our Victory Village Vision, and turn our Ninth Street properties into an embodiment of the long legacy of our church's mission. We looked forward to celebrating the gift of being in a position to provide this important facility to the community and the people of the District as a whole."

The Victory Village complex includes development of a $3 million Earl L. Harrison Educational Building at 1526 and 1528 Ninth Street, NW; a $5 million Cirtie Mae Turner Senior Home at 1532, 1534 and 1536 Ninth Street, NW, contingent upon the purchase of an adjacent property owned by Marks Electric Company; and a $7.5 million Administration Building at 1507 9th Street NW.

Each of these properties, including the existing sanctuary and the Family Life Center, will advance the spiritual, educational, congregational care, youth Christian development, community outreach, missionary endeavors, social justice and information sharing goals of the church.

The Community Building will house nonprofit service organizations. The Earl L. Harrison Educational Building will be used for educational needs of the church and religious training for various local groups. Congregational care and child development programs will be offered in the Cirtie Mae Turner Senior House, and the Administration Building will be utilized for office space rentals.