"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18
“Thus far by faith” takes on adeeper meaning as one follows the history of Siloam Baptist Church and its survival throughout the turbulent span of events that have beset this area and the Nation as a whole during the past one hundred and twenty-eight years. Little did the small group of worshippers who assembled in the year 1880 under a brush arbor at Branchville on Nomini Ferry Road realize that from their interest and efforts there would evolve a church whose membership would grow to encompass more than five hundred active Christian believers.
Land for the present site of thechurch was purchased from the original Jenkins Estate on which another brusharbor was erected. Worship services wereheld there until the striving congregation and its leaders were able to build alog cabin. The late Elijah Ashton,assisted by other dedicated Christians, hauled the first logs and constructed the first building for indoor services. Each member gave unstintingly of his time and labor in the erection ofthe new log church where all members could worship with pride.
After a few years had passed, Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church of Montross decided to build a new place of worship, and they were kind enough to donate the lumber from their old building. Again, the little band of enthusiastic Christians toiled diligently until they had built their firstframe church. Happy were they who gathered to sing praises and give reverence to God for the progress they had made in His name.
The first pastor, Reverend Thomas Johnson, a native of Westmoreland County, served the church for ten years withthe able assistance of the first clerk, Brother Lewis Johnson.
Reverend C. C. Washington, another native ofthe county, was called to serve as Siloam’s Pastor succeeding ReverendJohnson. Great was the call indeed, for he served very ably for twenty-seven years. He was followed by Reverend John Smith, who was on the charge for four years.
Reverend J. N. Saunders of Richmond County was called as the fourth pastor, and he served for four years. He was followed by Reverend Samuel Johnson who acted as pastor for two years until the call was extended to Reverend W. W.Sebree of Reno, Virginia. After twoyears, Reverend Sebree was followed by Reverend L. C. Newman of Lottsburg,Virginia, who served for sixteen years. Licensed Missionary from our Church; Mrs. Mary Jane Tate was a devoted and active member of Siloam Baptist Church until death.
In 1945, Reverend J. B. Lee assumedthe pastorate and labored untiringly for thirty years. During this time, the various organizationsof the church worked cooperatively with the pastor, and numerous accomplishments were made. The church moved forwardspiritually, financially, and materially as Reverend Lee exhibited a warm personality and an aptitude for leadership. The Music Department was organized and the church had its first Senior Choir. Later the Junior Choir, the Men’s Chorus, and the Sunbeam Choir were organized. A new brick and cinderblock church was erected which included a central heating system, pool for baptizing, choir chancel, pastor’s study and dressing rooms. As time passed and the membership continued to grow, the modern facility was remodeled and three classrooms, bathrooms, and a basement with kitchen and dining room were added. A public address system was installed and the main sanctuary received new carpeting. A beautification program for the church surroundings was undertaken and utility lights were installed on the church grounds. The ground surface was leveled off and loads of blue stone gave a moresolid foundation. The parking area was extended and grass seeds were sown.
In1975, Reverend Clarence Long of Bessemer,Alabama, a graduate student in the School of Theology at Virginia Union University began to serve as supply pastor. After serving in this capacity for a year, the church extended the call to him; he accepted and became the eighth pastor of the church in 1976.
Under the direction of Reverend Long,a new financial program, the envelope system was adopted, the church was completely air-conditioned and the membership increased considerably. His leadership enhanced greatly the youth activities of the church. Every first Sunday of the month has been designated as Youth Sunday, with special activities scheduled throughout the year. Youth prayer service and a Bible study class were also initiated. In 1998, the Siloam Praise Dance Ministry was birthed. This dance ministry was the first dance ministry in Westmoreland County. Also, under the leadership of Reverend Long, Rev. Michael Reed, Evangelist Gloria Rich, Rev. Connie Jones, Jr., Minister Margaret Long and Minister Lethia Johnson, all accepted their call into the ministry. Rev. Connie Jones, Jr. was installed as Assistant Pastor in 2005. Reverend Long served faithfully for twenty-nine years.
After the passing of Reverend Long, Reverend Connie Jones, Jr., Assistant Pastor, served diligently in a Leadership capacity. In January 2007, the officers of the church began to search for a new leader, and on September 16 2007,Reverend Connie Jones, Jr. of Montross, Virginia was formally installed as the Pastor of Siloam Baptist Church. PastorJones was a 1980 graduate of Washington and Lee High School. He attended Rappahannock Community College and the Faith Bible Institute where he received a two year certificate in1999.
Pastor Jones has re-established several ministries and committees including the Prison Ministry, Outreach Ministry, Couples Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Pastor’s Aid, Hospitality and Recreation Committees. Also, under the leadership of Pastor Jones, Minister Cheryl Henry accepted the call to the ministry in 2007. Minister Brenda Fauntleroy became a member in 2009. By direction of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Jones has also added one Deacon to the Deacon Ministry and three Deaconess to the Deaconess Ministry. Pastor Jones also saw a need for a combined choir which was formed in 2009. In conjunction with these great accomplishments, Siloam also has a new church sign, a new Digital piano and an audio system. Pastor Jones’ goal is for the church to be kingdom builders and to save lost souls. All praises to God, membership is steadily increasing and souls are being saved. As the Siloam family continues to grow, we look forward to our new Fellowship Hall which work is scheduled to begin in spring 2013.
We rejoice today of where God has brought us. Yet, it is impossible for us to rejoice without feeling the presence and remembering the songs of praise of those who have preceded us. Let us thank God for bringing us through the perils of life and the attempts of Satan to shackle our feet and misdirect our steps. The successes of the past have prepared for the struggles of the future. Let us go forward with renewed convictions that whatever be-tides God will take care of us. He has truly brought us thus far by faith.