History of Shiloh United Methodist Church
Established in 1835
Shiloh United Methodist Church has a 184 years history of dedicated worship and service to God and the community. Shiloh’s presence in the Bryans Road area, however, goes back much further than that. It’s only fitting that as we continue to celebrate this splendid congregation and remember its history.
Shiloh United Methodist Church grew out of worship begun at Halley’s Meeting House. The Meeting House was of log construction and was built in 1835 just north of the old Shiloh church building on Shiloh Church Road. To this day, we do not know if the worship Halley Meeting House originally was affiliated with any particular denomination. We do know that by 1873, Shiloh was associated with the Charles’ Circuit of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Likewise, the earliest known ministry associated with Shiloh dates to this period with Thomas Richard Halley being licensed as a local preacher in 1893.
Shiloh moved into the old Shiloh Church building in 1881 with the building being renovated in 1984 and 1983. Four years after the old Shiloh Church building was opened the property on which the original log meeting house and old church building are located was deeded by Thomas R. Halley, Benjamin D. Tubman and his wife Catherine Chapman to A.T. Monroe, T.R. Halley, G,W. Halley, J.T. Penn, Z.W. Halley, J.T. Downs, and J.W. Halley, Trustees of Pomonkey Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Shiloh has been associated with the Charles’ Circuit, the Prince George’s Circuit and the Charles’-St. Mary’s Circuit and the La Plata Circuit. In 1946, Shiloh became a station charge with its own minister. The old Shiloh church building now houses a thrift store which is meant as an outreach ministry to our community. In 1953, it sponsored and provided most of the leadership for a mission church in Accokeek which is now Faith United Methodist Church.
In the late 1950’s, with the approval of the annual conference, the church purchased approximately six acres of land on the southeast side of Route 210 in Bryans Road on which the building we are in today was built. The first worship service in that building was held in December 1963 and a service of consecration was conducted by Bishop John Wesley Lord on March 15, 1964. The formal dedication of the building, debt free, was held on September 18, 1983 with district superintendent Rev. Dr. Marion Michael delivering the message and assisting the pastor in the dedication ritual. Central air conditioning was installed the same year and the parking lot was paved in 1985. In 1996, Shiloh conducted a ”Room to Bloom” campaign and broke ground on the Administrative and Educational Building that adjoins this sanctuary and fellowship hall.
Descendants of some of the original families of Shiloh are still members. Our longest standing member, Mrs. Joan Downs Hedges, is descended from both the Downs and Halley families. Likewise, Mr. Michael A. Hedges and Mrs. Beverly Hedges-Hill remain members and also are descended from the founders of Shiloh.
Over the years, Shiloh has had a number of names. Already mentioned are Halley Meeting House and Pomonkey Society and added to those are Pomonkey Methodist Church and Shiloh Methodist Church. We have been known as Shiloh United Methodist Church since the merger of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968. The name Shiloh comes from the Hebrew Bible and refers to the capital of Israel before Jerusalem. It was also the assembly place for the people of Israel before the first temple was built. Shiloh United Methodist Church has a proud history and an even brighter future. This little church by the side of the road has been a light in the community for almost two hundred years, may it continue to shine ever so brightly for many more years to come.