New Shiloh Baptist Church launched its Saturday Church School in October 1973. There was a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusiasm generated as the Church embarked upon its new work. Pastor Carter recently reminded the current teachers and staff of the genesis of this unique educational ministry. Pastor Carter noted the influence of the civil rights movement and the charge given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for all to join in effort to reach out and uplift our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, even mothers and fathers with the talents, gifts, and abilities that God had bestowed on us. Essentially, it was a message laden with a theme of self-help and spiritual independence as the church-wide community strove to live and operate from a position of increasing strength and effectiveness.
Central to such an effort would be an unyielding faith in God and knowledge of the foundational principles of our Christian faith. To that end, Dr. Carter knew that it was absolutely essential to get the people, young and old alike, to know the Word of God. This included scripture memorization as well as developing an intimate familiarity with the psalms, proverbs, and Gospels. Pastor Carter noted that the Word of God is amazingly powerful and that we need to teach the Bible now more than ever.
Since the initial classes of the Saturday Church School, the Bible has been the standard textbook. The truth of God’s Word shared in the fervency of Christian love can yield powerful results as individual lives, families, and entire communities are transformed. The Fall 1973 session opened with a devotional worship, followed by an in-depth Bible lesson and then an opportunity for elective enrichment classes including reading and arithmetic skills, creative English, crafts, Black history, typing music, home economics, library skills, Bible study, and discipleship. New Shiloh charged its Minister of Christian Education, Rev. Brenda Greene, with the task of developing a relevant Bible curriculum to meet the needs and foster the spiritual growth of its students.
These initial steps of faith provided more than an enduring model for subsequent years. As a living ministry, the Saturday Church School has developed other classes and ministries to serve its students including a performing arts academy, a dance ministry, a Bus ministry, Saturday Church School choir, to name a few. Additionally, there have been classes or seminars in Old and New Testament studies, rites of passage for young misses, a boys club for young men, computers, sewing, and storytelling. Finally, there is a new members’ class where recent converts are introduced to the faith and nurtured and encouraged in a specially designed eight week course of study.
In examining any history, one marvels at the hand of God moving in and among His people. Jesus Christ is glorified, leaders are raised up, students are strengthened, as we all enjoy the fruits of today and look to pass on the benefits of our journey to future generations.