The Story of Shiloh
Shiloh Fellowship moved into our present building in August 2001, but the Fellowship had already been formed in the Millennial year of 2000.
Our building has a long history as a place of worship stretching back over 50 years. Members of the Ebenezer Gospel Hall built it as the Lisnabreen Gospel Hall. A thriving Sunday School was held here for children from the surrounding community every Sunday afternoon for many years. Many people still have fond memories of attending this when they were children. Among these are some of the present members of Shiloh Christian Fellowship.
Over the years the Sunday School organisers hosted prize-giving services to which children and parents were invited to attend. Children whose attendance at Sunday School was good received various gifts. Those with exceptional attendance records received the much sought after 'zip-up' Bible. The event included singing and a simple gospel message and afterwards refreshments were served.
People who gave of their time and energies to teach at the Sunday School included various members of the Gilpin family, Bill Cowie, Sam Brown, Elsie Smith and a host of other dedicated members of Ebenezer Gospel Hall on Church Street. Their commitment enabled many children within the local communities and further afield to hear and learn the wonderful stories from the Bible. As the years progressed, child attenders became adults and had their own families. They sent their children to the Sunday School.
By the late 1990's the numbers attending declined as less and less children came to the Hall. Eventually and reluctantly a decision was taken to close the Sunday School and over 40yrs of ministry came to an end.
In the millennial year (2000) a small group of Christians were renting a room from the former North Down Borough Council at the Borough Gymnasium. They had met there praying and asking God what they should do. Should they disperse and integrate into established churches or should they continue to meet and trust that God had a plan for them? Mark (Tatty) Gordon and Dave Rainey had been elected as leaders of the group.
One afternoon Tatty was driving past Lisnabreen Gospel Hall and he noticed a large hole at the bottom of the front door. This got him wondering if the hall was no longer in use and whether the members of Ebenezer still owned it. Mark suggested to Dave and the members that if the hall was empty they should enquire whether it could become a permanent place of worship for the Hamilton House group. Despite numerous letters and other correspondence being sent out, there seemed to be no way of finding out who to speak to about the vacant hall on Skipperstone Road.
One day as Tatty came out of Bloomfield’s Shopping Centre he literally bumped into Mr. Sam Brown a former Sunday School teacher at the hall. Mark explained a group of Christians were meeting in the Council hall but needed somewhere else more permanent. He said they would love to continue the work of the Lord from the hall on Skipperstone Road and asked if the Sunday School was no longer in use and was it available. Mr. Brown informed him the Sunday School was closed and the hall was not being used. He agreed to take Tatty's proposal to the elders of the Ebenezer and promised he would be in contact.
A week or so later Tatty received a call from Mr. Brown and they arranged to meet at the hall to discuss the proposal.Mark and Dave met at the hall with Mr. Brown and another member of Ebenezer. As they entered it brought back their childhood memories of Sunday School. After some discussion it was agreed, for a nominal fee, the hall would be signed over by the Trustees of the Ebenezer to what was now called Shiloh Christian Fellowship (the group having previously agreed on this name).
In August 2001 members of Shiloh Christian Fellowship first entered the hall to make some initial changes and on September 9th it was officially opened as the home of Shiloh Fellowship. At the Dedication Service the hall was packed with well-wishers and Christians from various churches offering their support to the small group who believed God had opened this door of opportunity to work within the local communities.