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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Shiloh Flyers Distributed, Removed

This past Saturday night and Sunday morning, two sets of flyers were placed on cars parked on streets near Shiloh Baptist Church. The first flyer, which was apparently the product of internal conflict at Shiloh, pointed people to last week's WaPo article about Pastor Smith. The second flyer, which was the product of last week's neighborhood happy hour/meeting, informed people of how much the church has spent on taxes alone to maintain its portfolio of vacant properties in Shaw.

On Sunday morning, I observed someone from the church--I'm guessing he was a church usher or leader--vocally protesting the placement of the flyers on cars and then removing the tax-payment-related flyers soon after they were placed on cars. With Shiloh's current "Take Down the Condemnation Signs Campaign" (in which members are encouraged to give sacrificially--$1000 per adult and $100 per child in addition to normal tithes and offerings--to raise $100,000 towards bringing the properties up to vacant property code), I'm guessing that the Church isn't too keen on the disbursement of information regarding how much money it spends on its vacant properties instead of on improving lives.


Anonymous said...

is there a copy of the flyer available and, importantly, is this a one time effort or will the community distribute again this Sunday as well? Thanks for all your efforts!

Anonymous said...

Anon -

I don't have a copy of the flyer that was distributed by dissenting members of the Church about Pastor Smith.

I am unsure of the internal group's agenda, but it's safe to say that neighbors are not going to let up until Shiloh's vacant properties are no longer blighting Shaw.

Here's the text of the flyer neighbors distributed:

Shiloh has spent $271,081.50 since 2005 on taxes alone for its vacant properties.

Source: DC Office of Tax and Revenue database, accessible at

1526 9TH ST NW
03/28/07 $7,442.50
03/28/07 $940.80
10/18/06 $6,827.25
03/20/06 $6,827.25
09/14/05 $5,111.75
04/06/05 $5,111.75
TAXES PAID: $32,261.30

1528 9TH ST NW
03/28/07 $8,521.00
03/28/07 $1,074.95
10/18/06 $7,800.75
03/20/06 $7,800.75
09/14/05 $5,656.75
04/06/05 $5,656.75
TAXES PAID: $36,510.95

1532 9TH ST NW
03/28/07 $1,512.14
03/28/07 $12,086.25
10/18/06 $10,952.04
10/18/06 $174.17
06/19/06 $12,378.59
09/14/05 $8,850.75
03/29/05 $8,850.75
TAXES PAID:$54,804.69

1533 9TH ST NW – Not currently taxed due to error by Office of Tax and Revenue.

1534 9TH ST NW
03/28/07 $6,866.25
03/28/07 $865.91
10/18/06 $99.74
10/18/06 $6,271.59
06/19/06 $7,088.49
09/14/05 $4,642.50
03/29/05 $4,642.50
TAXES PAID: $30,476.98

1536 9TH ST NW
03/28/07 $6,050.75
03/28/07 $761.08
10/18/06 $87.66
10/18/06 $5,512.26
06/19/06 $6,230.26
09/14/05 $4,013.25
03/29/05 $4,013.25
TAXES PAID: $26,668.51

1543 8TH ST NW
03/28/07 $9,947.00
03/28/07 $8,656.06
03/20/06 $7,274.00
09/14/05 $5,972.00
03/29/05 $5,972.00
TAXES PAID: $37,821.06

1600 8TH ST NW
03/28/07 $11,542.25
03/28/07 $1,441.51
10/18/06 $166.04
10/18/06 $10,440.40
06/19/06 $11,800.31
09/14/05 $8,573.75
03/29/05 $8,573.75
TAXES PAID: $52,538.01


That’s over a quarter of a million dollars not spent helping homeless, seniors, children, missionaries, widows, or orphans. That's a lot of money not spent on outreach, church planting, ongregational life, facility maintenance/upgrades, or expansion (like building senior housing, which has been promised by Shiloh leadership for decades and which could not accrue nearly as much in taxes); money spent holding onto real estate instead of changing lives. This figure will grow each year as tax assessments go up and as taxes for 1533 9th Street are collected.

Does tithing to “bring down the signs,” only to pay more taxes, make sense?

Would tithing to an organization that uses its resources more effectively make better sense for you and your family?

DaddyFiveOh said...

Kudos to all for conceiving and carrying out the flyer idea. Let's hope it has some effect. It's very sad that the church leadership is still trying to get people to cough up more for what is basically an attempt to thwart change by keeping the neighborhood run down. Especially since most of the church members don't have to live with the result; they just drive in from Maryland on Sunday, park their Benzes wherever, and then go back to the 'burbs. Shame.

Shaw Rez said...

Hopefully despite the Shiloh usher/leader's efforts to keep the flyers from reaching parishioners, the word got out no less and people are better informed about what their tithes are really enabling and going towards.

A tithe--especially one above the normal tithe given--used simply to bring the properties up to vacant property code (and therefore cause the church to continue accruing high taxes for holding onto these properties in their uninhabited states) seems incredibly irresponsible. If the church were a good steward, it would turn to any of several good options, such as partnering with an organization that can carry out the church's wishes (Manna, Habitat, Self-Help), selling the properties and using the proceeds for a cause that alligns with the church's true mission, etc. Instead, Shiloh operates like a greedy speculator, doing the minimum it must to to hold onto its vacant properties.

Anonymous said...

How much would it cost to have one of those "roving" billboards go around (and around and around and around) Shiloh on Sunday mornings? The billboard could display the facts and the church couldn't remove them from cars /TruxtonResident

Shaw Rez said...

Truxton - that's a neat idea! I have no idea how much one of those things costs, but I imagine cheaper alternatives with similar results could be conceived.

si said...

how about a new mural on the boards surrounding lake woodson? are they still up?

A. Dicks Zinya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shaw Rez said...

Sorry to delete your comment 9:53am--please keep your pseudonyms clean...

here's what 9:53 said:

A tasteful 3 X 5 card on quality stock w/calm language in a nice font will do go further than driving an offensive billboard around and cost you much less.

Anonymous said...

does anyone have a pdf of one of the flyers. There are others who were not at the community meeting who will gladly volunteer to print more copies and distribute accordingly. Re: the 'roving billboard' idea, if someone has a quote, i'm sure we can pass the 'collection plate' around and make this happen.

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of using the plywood fence around Lake Woodson as a mural project. Or how about a billboard message to the thousands who pass by on 9th Street daily? Any nominations for what it would say?

Mr. Ray said...

Just leave enough room for me to paint a discrete neat sign indentifying the third year of the District's Shaw Historic Slum Nature Hiking Trail along the non-sidewalk on Q. Merci.

Shaw Rez said...

Personally I like the fence being non-muraled/non-messaged, as I think it makes the corner look cleaner.

Construction on the 2 townhomes going in at that corner is set to start within the next month or two, so hopefully the fence will be gone soon.

Mr. Ray said...

Seein' iz believin.' Sure the city will find a way to hold up the construction.

Agree with you about the unpainted surface -- unless someone wants to help me paint a bucolic snow-covered mountains with trees, a lake, a chalet, a couple of swans....

Had a swell bike ride in Charm City last weekend with my niece looking at wonderfully kitchy painted screens of such scenes in Canton, Fells Point and environs.

Anonymous said...

You newcomers (to Shaw)need to leave Shiloh and its parishioners alone. I'm sure you would love to see a, shall we say, less colorful institution or business in its place now that you have suddenly decided that Shaw is THE place to be and have brought your dollars to accomplish some (much needed) development in the area. Your attitude toward that esteemed instutition and its parishioners is insultingly condescending and paternalistic. You assume that Shiloh's membership does not know where its tithes and offerings are going, and you have taken it upon yourselves to "enlighten" them. Like any Baptist church, Shiloh is self-governing and provides its members with periodic statements of account, so members are well aware of what their church is doing with their hard-earned money. I believe that now that Shaw is considered a "hot" property, you cannot stand that a black chuch has such valuable real estate lying fallow and you want to get your greedy, development-crazed hands on it. Shiloh has done tremendouse work in Shaw and elsewhere over the years, about which I am sure your researchers have never bothered to learn. Shiloh and other black churches in the area cared about Shaw when no one else did, stayed there when no one else would and invested in Shaw when no one else was remotely interested.

Now Shiloh will, I'm sure, develop its property--in its own time and in its own way. If you want to effect real change, then JOIN SHILOH! Worship with them, fellowship with them, contribute your tithes and join its Board of Trustees. Wouldn't it be nice to have a place of worship right where you live? Join Shiloh and you will have a true understanding of what this faith-based institution is trying to accomplish for the poor, homeless, seniors, children, missionaries, widows and orphans you claim to be so concerned about. Once you join Shiloh's membership, then, and only then, will you have a legitimate right to try to direct Shiloh's path vis-a-vis the properties which are the source of so much irritation to you. I promise you your life will be richer, and less exclusionary, for the experience.

If you choose not to do this, then just leave Shiloh alone to continue its work! Although you appear to be doing your best to obtain the properties in question by unjust political means, at present these properties are NOT yours to develop, not under your dominion and control. So please adopt a more positive, progressive attitude (than condemnation) or just get over it and leave Shiloh alone!

Anonymous said...

i'm an evangelical christian, love the Lord, am new to shaw, and definitely don't want a 'less colorful institution or business' in Shiloh's place. also, i don't doubt that Shiloh's done great things.

but give me a break! no one is using any 'unjust political means'!! it's THE LAW that vacant property owners keep up their properties to certain standards, which shiloh has not done! it's THE LAW that shiloh pay property taxes on vacant properties, which shiloh will continue to do!

i agree, it's none of these people's business what you do with your money, but can you honestly say that spending this much on taxes is a good use of limited church resources? i think that's the point they were trying to make, be it obvious or not.

one of my neighbors is not at all a newcomer and has been complaining about shiloh's boarded up properties for decades.

i will stick with my church, which rents space to meet every sunday. though poor in property, it's rich in spirit. that's the way i like it.

Anonymous said...

anon at 5:33 - you are incredibly arrogant to think that just because we don't belong to shiloh, we don't have a right to call them out as bad neighbors or to make sure the government enforces its laws on an entity like shiloh which negatively affects our quality of life.