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Religious buildings have always served as important meeting grounds for the Black community. In times when public gatherings could prove a death sentence these religious hubs became even more essential to social life in the Black community. The 1902 Joplin tornado rendered important Black churches useless and the donations of white philanthropist Thomas Connor made the construction of three new Black churches possible. Sadly Shiloh Baptist Church was sadly never rebuilt.

204 School St.

Shiloh Baptist Church

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Church History

In the year of 1916, a group of 18 people felt the desire and need for a church.  With the aid and assistance of the Executive Board of the Southwest District Association, they organized the Shiloh Baptist Church.


The first worship services were held at the Masonic Hall located at First and Main Streets.  Rev. J.D. Haley was the first Pastor to serve.  The first Moderator was Rev. Young.  Worship services were held at the Masonic 

Hall for a period of time after which the railroad company donated the site located at Third and Kentucky Avenues for erecting a tabernacle.  Rev. L.T. Thompson donated the first $5 towards building erection. 

The building was completed and the Church was very prosperous.


After a number of years, the opportunity arose and the Pastor and members were able to purchase a larger stone church located at the corner of Hill and School Streets.  Under the leadership and guidance or Rev. J.H. Palmer, the church continued to prosper and many new members were added to the church roll.  Rev. Palmer resigned in the late 1930’s due to health problems. 


Rev. C.W. Watkins from Ringgold, Louisiana was called as Pastor in 1941.  The church continued to prosper spiritually and financially and many members were added.  A year before his calling and during his administration, the membership grew from 60 to 138 members.  Rev. Watkins resigned in the early 1950’s.


Rev. M.B. Collins of Gloster, Louisiana was called as Pastor.  During his calling, the church became dilapidated.  Rev. Collins and the members took steps to rebuild.  In 1952, services were held at the Trinity Methodist Church by the invitation of their Pastor, Rev. Johnson.  Deacons of the church and others rebuilt the church that year.  The church continued to prosper.  Rev. Collins traveled from Louisiana to Joplin once a month to render services.  After a number of years, he resigned and Rev. Riggins became Pastor.  He resigned shortly thereafter and Rev. L.G. Cooper of Pittsburg, Kansas was called as Pastor in 1955.


Under Rev. Cooper’s guidance, the church continued to prosper, many members were added and numerous improvements were completed to the building.  He passed away in 1960 and the Rev. O.T. Tisdale of Texas was called as Pastor.  Due to his ill health and inability to render full service as Pastor, he resigned in 1960.


Rev. G.S. Staff of Little Rock, Arkansas was called as Pastor in February, 1961.  Under his administration, many new members were added and the church prospered spiritually and financially.  New organizations were added, namely, the Young Adult Choir, the Ever Ready Club, the Willing Workers’ Club, the Brotherhood and the Mother’s Board.


Numerous improvements were made to the building.  Two young men accepted the call to the ministry and were licensed, namely, Ted Broadous and Kenneth Edmonson.  While serving Shiloh, Rev. Staff was elected as Moderator of the Southwest District and was a member of the Joplin Ministerial Alliance.


On December 6, 1962, the pastorate of Rev. Staff ended and Rev. Leo Barbee of Neosho, Missouri came to serve as interim Pastor.  On the first Sunday in February, 1963, the church called Rev. Barbee as Pastor and he was installed on the first Sunday of March, 1963.  


On August 4, 1968, the church called Rev. Bobby Roberson as Pastor.  During his administration, the Sunbeams reorganized and the Adult Choir and Darcus Circle were organized.  Many items of furnishings for the sanctuary and educational annex were purchased.  Remodeling of the sanctuary, the purchase of and remodeling of the church parsonage were completed.  Thirty-eight members united with the church, 19 by statement and 19 by baptism; two rededicated their lives to Christ and one apologized to the church.  On April 17, 1977, Bro. Willie Williams was licensed as minister.  In 1981, two deacons were ordained, namely, Ernest Waddell, Sr. and James Page.  Other deacons to serve were Otis Waldon, Jack McPherson, Wallace Carr, Dave Fields, Willie Gaston, Duncan Brown, Walter Scott, M.D. Davis and Andrew Wyatt.  Rev. B.G. Roberson resigned July 11, 1982.


On April 20, 1985, Rev. N.L. Simington of Slater, Missouri was called as Pastor.  Under Rev. Simington’s leadership, eight members were added to the church, two by statement, six by baptism and one rededicated.  James Hill was ordained as Deacon and the Laymen were organized.  In remembrance of Sis. Theola Rochelle, pulpit chairs, a tithe box and an outdoor sign was donated.  Rev. Simington’s pastorship ended April 20, 1986.


During that year, Rev. Lloyd Williams of Kansas City, Missouri was called as Pastor.  Under his leadership, participation of the entire membership in worship service increased.  The Sunday School grew in numbers in every department.  He also developed a dress code.  The church parsonage and church mortgage were paid off in full.  Rev. Williams resigned July 30, 1989.


On September 19, 1990, the church family called Rev. Jerry Hodges.  Under Rev. Hodges leadership, a new van was purchased for the church, an emergency lighting system was installed, remodeling of the men’s and ladies’ restrooms, a new garage built to house the church van, new lighting for the church sanctuary, 

a handicap ramp was built, the Darcus Circle was revitalized, the Laymen’s group reorganized, remodeling at the church parsonage, along with many other internal and external modifications to the church.  Rev. Hodges resigned on August 1, 2006.


The church was without a Pastor for 10 months.  During this time, the church parsonage was completely remodeled.  We extend a special thanks to Deacon and Sis. Jimmy Hill for their untiring labor towards that project.  New glass front doors were added to the church and new carpet was replaced on the front steps.


On June 1, 2007, the church called Rev. Samuel Nero, Jr. of Kansas City, Missouri as Pastor.  Since that time, the church has been moving forward financially and spiritually.  We thank God for Pastor Nero.  Pastor Nero comes to us as a servant committed to the work of the church—evangelism (Matthew 28:19-22).  He is helping us to bring forth this vision from God by the sharing of the Gospel through preaching, teaching, evangelism, and outreach, with the intention of calling sinners to repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus name.  Under his leadership, we held our first street witness ministry and God has added to the church membership, 11 by Christian experience and three to baptism.  A special “thanks” is extended to Sis. Tawyuna Palmer for using her expert service to fashion three baptism robes for us.  


There has been an increase in attendance of Sunday School, Sunday morning worship service, Wednesday night prayer meeting and bible study.  Also, our youth department has been reorganized.  This past June, Pastor Nero led us in an outstanding Vacation Bible School.  Attendance far exceeded our expectations.  To God be the glory!


God has blessed Shiloh for 92 years and we pray that he will continue to bless us so that we can do great things in His name. 

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