By Barney Blakeney
The members of Shiloh AME Church formerly located on Smith Street in downtown Charleston, Dec. 16 held groundbreaking ceremonies for construction at its new campus located 2420 Ashley River Rd. West Ashley.
The 127-year-old congregation moved from the church’s original site at 172 Smith St. downtown October 2017 after it became evident the church had outgrown the facility that replaced the original church destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The new sanctuary, dedicated in 1993 seated about 200 worshippers, but only had a sanctuary, no fellowship hall or available parking. The new sanctuary will seat over 300 worshippers and includes about 8700 square feet of space for the sanctuary, fellowship hall, conference room, three classrooms and baptismal pool on nearly four acres.
Shiloh Pastor Rev. Eugene Collins said construction is expected to begin spring 2019 with completion expected about a year later. Currently the congregation worships 8:30 a.m. on second, third and fourth Sundays at James Chapel, 1550 Mulberry Street in the Ardmore community in West Ashley where Rev. John Aston Sr. is pastor. The congregations hold joint service 11 a.m. first and fifth Sundays.
Collins, who has pastored Shiloh’s congregation the past eight years, said the dedicated and committed members have stood with the church during its transition continuing their tradition of conducting warm and friendly services. The new campus will be less of a commute for most of those members who now live West Ashley and in North Charleston, he said.