Two articles appear in today's Washington Post about Shiloh Baptist Church.
The first article discusses an internal conflict at the church over the management of the church under Rev. Wallace Charles Smith. Critics are angry that Smith serves as president of Palmer Theological Seminary in the Philadelphia area and claim that the church is a financial mess and spiritually bankrupt. Of note, the article quotes Smith himself as well as parishioners and members of the Board of trustees.
The second article is about the city's "unprecedented" interest in holding Shiloh accountable for its portfolio of vacant properties. The article alludes to a variety of factors, including "the election of the new mayor, the changing dynamics of a rapidly gentrifying area, and local blogs that have focused on the church's properties," with an emphasis on local blogs. Smith reiterates the battle cry that the crackdown is due to developers "who envision million-dollar condos on Ninth Street" and "new urban professionals who want to drive churches out of the city." His rhetoric will likely entice a few, but could not be further from the truth. Interestingly, Smith apparently said that the "church is developing a plan for the properties that may involve turning two Eighth Street rowhouses into luxury rentals to help finance the development of affordable seniors housing on Ninth Street." Is the luxury rental market is a lot stronger and dumber than I think it is or does that not sound like a very viable plan?