Just like other Baptist churches throughout the rural south, Little Shiloh Baptist Church emerged from humble, historic beginnings.
In 1883, Boston Smith and George Chambliss, just back from completing a carpenter course in Petersburg, organized a weekly prayer group. Praying and singing, they met at a bush harbor.
In 1894, the prayer meeting group applied for and received a charter from Zion Baptist Church and the prayer meeting became Branch No. 2 Sunday School of Zion Baptist Church. Willis Mason was Superintendent and P.C. Chambliss was the main teacher.
This zealous group of Christians kept working and gaining more members, and seeing the need for a church, then applied for and again received a charter from the Zion Baptist Church, our mother church.
In May 1894, Little Shiloh Baptist Church was organized. Rev. Moses P. Sweat, a young man of North Carolina, became the first pastor. He held a riveting revival resulting in twenty-three converts.
There was no church building. Service was held in a log hut at Yale Mills, now called Slagle Mills. The members were able to purchase the plot of land upon which we stand. A temporary building was selected and served as the meeting place for many years. As the membership grew and more space was needed, the brick building was constructed, hence remodeled down through the years. Once the congregation was moved into the permanent structure, the temporary building was rented to Greensville County for a public school.
Little Shiloh’s second pastor was Rev. Johnson, who was a great preacher and a civic-minded individual.
After Rev. Johnson’s departure, Rev. W.T. Edmonds led the congregation as our third pastor. He was a spiritual leader who served well during the depression years. He resigned shortly thereafter to serve Gastonic Church, the church formerly served by his father, the late George Edmonds.
In 1937, Dr. A.C. Matthews, a strong and able minister assumed leadership as our fourth pastor. It was under his leadership that the former structure was bricked and a new floor was laid. Pastor Matthews and first lady, Mrs. A.C. Matthews served Little Shiloh from 1938-1965. He earned the title of Pastor Emeritus.
October 1966, after the church had watched and prayed for a leader, Rev. Jacob Turner, Jr. became our fifth pastor. Under his leadership a new organ was purchased, central heating/air conditioning system was installed, a beautiful facelift was added to the main entrance, and plans were made to add to the existing structure.
From 1979-1983, Rev. Bruce Wayne Hill, a young man divinely empowered and new to our Jarratt/Emporia Community, faithfully served as Little Shiloh’s Youth Minister.
Rev. Turner and Rev. Hill organized the youth into auxiliaries and added youth expression time to Sunday’s service.
Our sixth pastor, Rev. Dr. Charlie F. Thompson, first lady Sis. Sarah Thompson and their adult children were an integral part of Little Shiloh, serving us for at least 17 years. Under his administration, a Fellowship Hall was added comprising a dining area, a kitchen, and an indoor below-the floor baptismal pool. We upgraded the grounds to extend parking space and enhanced our surroundings, purchased cushioned pews, new carpet in the sanctuary, stained glass windows, and a new copier. Rev. Dr. Thompson initiated a special time for youth. Two associate ministers worked with Rev. Thompson, namely Rev. Ernest Hamlette and Rev. FDO Black until Rev. Thompson ended his tenure.
We were without a pastor for at least a year and a half. We never lost our shepherd for the Lord is our Shepherd, but we lost an under shepherd. Our Board of Deacons and our Board of Deaconesses stayed intact. Associate Ministers, Hamlette and Black, helped fill the void. The Church Clerk, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary kept extensive records and the Trustees stayed busy on the upkeep of the building. Little Shiloh formed a Pulpit Search Committee as its members went in prayer. The Pastor’s Aide assisted the church with the renovation of the Pastor’s Study, Bylaws and Constitution were adopted, indoor lighting and ceiling fans were added to the sanctuary; new roofing, new carpet in the back, the décor was changed, sidewalks altered and the outdoor food facility was revitalized.
We forged forward with a new shepherd to lead our flock, Rev. Dr. Michael R. Alston, our seventh pastor of the Little Shiloh Baptist Church. Rev. Dr. Michael R. Alston hailed from Gaston, NC . Pastor Alston, first lady Barbara Alston, and their family brought to us a new energy and new visions for Little Shiloh. Under his leadership, a Praise Dance Ministry (Sisterhood of Praise) and a Video Ministry were implemented.
On July 19, 2007, our church building was consumed by fire. We were blessed that the pastor, associate ministers, deacons, deaconesses, trustees, auxiliaries/ministries, and all other members and friends joined together and “up from the Ashes,” we rose and rebuilt! Dedication of our new edifice was May 2, 2009.
Our next pastor was William E. Johnson, III. He and his wife Sasha, served us until fall 2014.
In August 2016, we were blessed to install Pastor Anthony T. Fleming. A graduate of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University and a Doctoral Candidate, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington D.C. He, along with his wife First Lady Rev. Brenda Fleming and their daughters Angelica and Alexandria have been a blessing to our congregation.