ReNewShaw Twitter

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Shiloh's Response to Padro, Bad Press

Shiloh's latest Pastor's Pen, written by a guest author and available here, takes issue with ANC Commissioner Alex Padro and the recent bad press associated with Shiloh Baptist Church.

Here's a cut and paste of the full text:
Wilbert Holcomb, Guest Writer

Any Washingtonian listening to the news lately has likely heard of the troubles of Shiloh Baptist Church concerning four of its properties along 9th Street, NW, the block on which the 143-year old church has resided for 83 years. It’s true that these properties have been in deplorable condition for too long, and no one disputes the church’s responsibility for their upkeep, but ANC member, Alex Pedro [sic] does Shiloh and the Shaw community a grave injustice when he calls the properties a symbol of the church’s failure to support its community.

Where were Mr. Padro and the news cameras when Shiloh was reaching out to Shaw residents displaced by gentrification? Where were they when the church was ministering to troubled youth, the homeless, the unemployed, senior citizens and former prisoners? Shiloh’s regular outreach efforts rescue the homeless, feed the hungry, care for the sick, enhance education and actually make life worth living for individuals the government doesn’t always reach.

Shiloh’s Outreach Ministry and its Family Life Center Foundation execute programs daily on behalf of the people of Shaw and the greater Washington area. Church/Community Partners Against HIV/AIDS provides workshops, outreach, referrals, counseling services and city-wide prevention events.

Teen Mothers Take Charge offers teen pregnancy prevention and support, health workshops, counseling, case management, recreation and academic and medical referrals. The Shiloh Child Development Center supplies academic instruction for preschoolers and after-school care for children ages four and beyond. The Male Youth Enhancement Program provides academic support, college fair sponsorship, recreation, counseling, values clarification and tutoring.

Human Services delivers direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need of rent, medical care, transportation, burial costs and crisis counseling. Shiloh debutantes sponsor a scholarship and character development program for girls. The Shiloh Deaf and Hard of Hearing Outreach Center provides daily social programming and support to deaf clients, including transportation, recreation and field trips.

The Senior Citizens Club furnishes advice and counseling on pertinent issues such as medical insurance and residential property tax. The Shiloh Brotherhood of Men provides employment advice, health care seminars and financial counseling. The Social Justice Ministry addresses an array of socioeconomic problems, including youth violence and dropout prevention. It highlights effects of the rapidly changing face of the Shaw community and supports the Urban Housing Alliance in protesting the lack of affordable housing that forces long-term residents out of our community.

Shiloh’s history in the Shaw community is a rich one, but you would never know that from the recent news reports. Although repair of the boarded up buildings was admittedly long overdue, Shiloh’s support for the community is as strong as ever and the needs of the people are greater than ever.
The two main subjects of the church's recent bad press are 1) numerous vacant buildings owned by Shiloh and blighting our neighborhood, and 2) allegations--raised from within--of a pastor who's failing his flock. The Pen marginally addresses the first subject matter and does not address the second subject matter.

I don't think Commissioner Padro or anyone has claimed that Shiloh has not done *any* good in the Shaw community, so the rundown of the church's activities seems needless. And it is presumptuous and incorrect to infer that Commissioner Padro and others have not, likewise, been watchdogs for and aid-givers to those in need. Furthermore, Shiloh seems to define narrowly who the Shaw community is, notably continually leaving out its actual neighbors.

I think that Shiloh's vacant buildings do indeed serve as monuments to the church's ineffectiveness and failures. No one within Shiloh seems to acknowledge the numerous missed opportunities the vacant properties represent (and continue to represent, given how much the church expends in taxes and city-forced repairs). The vacant buildings' ominous, looming presence serves as a reminder to all of the church's attempts to thwart new businesses such as Queen of Sheba and Vegetate. Finally, the vacant buildings represent years and years of empty promises made by church leaders to the media.


Greg said...

I think you're right. The sad thing is that allowing its buildings to remain in disrepair negates the litany of good works that Shiloh does for *its* community (as opposed to *the* community). It's as if there is a general lack of understanding how physical blights on the neighborhood can contribute to some of the very problems they seem to be trying to solve. And it does seem as though Shiloh has a narrow definition of "community" to exclude its neighbors.

I would think that if Shiloh, its members and its leaders are truly interested in supporting community through good works, they'd be a little more energetic about building bridges instead of taking potshots at the neighborhood's leaders and adopting a holier-than-thou attitude.

Having said that, I will note that at least this column admitted that the repairs were long overdue. That's something.

Shaw Rez said...

Greg - yes, I agree and should've included in my post that it's good that Mr. Holcomb admits that the properties are in deplorable condition, and the church is responsible for that condition.

poo poo said...

The dude needs a course in logic.
His response is totally of topic.

It's like if someone criticized me for leaving tons of trash in my front yard, and I responded with, "But I'm such a nice person..."

Bunch of crap.

I hope that piece that the guest wrote gets some MORE bad publicity for the SHItLOH.

Anonymous said...

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"

Mr. Ray said...

When I moved here 21 years ago, there were a at least dozen families living in at least half of the Shiloh properties that are today totally empty. Shiloh displaced them, not gentrification, and the buildings are empty. They realized there is no money to be made from poor people when poverty pimping from Federal largesse ends (same case as Kelsey Gardens). Two of the NPS vagrants who continue to sit out front of their old apartment used to live in the Shiloh properties.

Anonymous said...

smoke and mirrors, people. smoke and mirrors.

"We did some good stuff over here...Look over here!!!"

Anonymous said...

And how shall we respond to this latest offense?

Shaw Rez said...

Speaking of bad press for Shiloh, the WaPo reports today that the Shiloh Family Life Center's Food Service (I imagine that's referring to the "Tuning Fork" cafeteria) was shut down on August 1 for health code violations. Specifically, food service was shut down "for not getting rid of insects, rodents and other pests." Gross. It reopened last Thursday.

Check out the article here.

Anonymous said...

...more like the "Vomiting Fork".....

Anonymous said...

I predict next Pastor's Pen will consist of jingling keys and showing shiny things to the congregation.

As much as I dislike some (well... most) of their actions, their situation is very sad. Sad, indeed.

rr 446 said...

well congratulations to commissioner padro for getting shiloh to create such a feel good press release about all the wonderful things they do. unfortunately, it's not based in reality and written to support a church leadership in decline with an uncertain future. if they actually did half of the items they claim shiloh wouldnt be a bad neighbor. blame padro for the churches grandiose failures. if it were based in fact they would provide supportive evidence to their claims. but no, they just want to run their mouths. and we wont even get into the health inspectors discovery and who's fault that is, ok?

Mr. ray said...

Wonder if the Shiloh people even know about this blog? Anyone going to their Unity open house on the 18th? Got a flyer my gate inviting the community to the church for fun and games and a tour of their condemned restaurant and filthy rec center.

Anonymous said...

does it do any good to call a church nmaed Shiloh " Shitloh" ?
Whether right or wrong in this situation, th echurch has members that sre good people. It is the management of the church's affairs. Watch your mouth !!

Anonymous said...

So what !! In the near future, I'll bet a two weeks salary, that we will hear about Vegetate, Queen of Sheeba and other eating estasblishments in our community will experience rodents (rats). I hope that you all report these incidents as well.

Drew said...

It seems the violation wasn't for having rodents or insects but rather for "not getting rid of insects, rodents and other pests."

I'd agree most restaurants in this city (especially ones that are a stone's throw away from decaying and abandoned buildings) experience some sort of rodent or insect problem. However, the issue here doesn't seem to be the presence of rodents but the proper steps to get rid of them. If the abandoned properties are any indication of the care taken to remove trash and neglect, I'd venture a guess the rats are nesting somewhere in the Tuning Fork's dupsters.

Shaw Rez said...

I second Drew's insights into the Tuning Fork's infestation. I also think that getting shut down "for not getting rid of insects, rodents and other pests" is a noteworthy, out of the norm event for most (clean, good) restaurants.