Credit: Charles Steck

We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Siloh Baptist Church

Pastor: the Rev. Wallace Charles Smith

Attendance: about 800

Service Length: 2 hours

Capacity: 1,300

Sample Worshipper Dress: fire-engine-red suit jacket with skirt

Choir Travel Destinations: England, summer 2007

Congregational Fervor

Despite Shiloh’s three choirs—the young, hip gospel choir; the self-explanatory senior choir; and the “silent mission” choir, composed of deaf congregants who “sing” in American Sign Language—plus an organist, pianist, electric bassist, and drummer, worshippers for the most part stayed seated. But when all choirs joined together for a spirited rendition of “O Holy Night,” about 15 members rose from their seats and swayed.

Food for the Soul

At the Christmas Eve morning service, Smith reminded his congregants that some gifts are better than others. “God is a promise-keeper,” he said. “God is a heavy-load lifter. God is a burden-bearer. God’s promise to you is: Nothing can separate you from the love of God. If you’ve got that promise under the Christmas tree, that’s all you need.”

Food for the Body

Churchgoers urged by Smith to finish their last-minute Christmas shopping did so without post-service nourishment.

Overall Worship Power

Shaw residents can’t say that Shiloh Baptist Church isn’t doing anything for the neighborhood. During the Ministry of Giving in the middle of the service, deacons took up three separate offerings—one for missionary efforts to help the poor around the world, one for members’ tithes, and one for debt reduction and the refurbishment of the church’s properties on 9th Street NW.