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Community invited to First Shiloh centennial celebration

Londyn Munn was having a great time jumping up and down in the bounce house, but her favorite thing to do was going down the slide.

The bounce house was Adrian Hemphill’s favorite activity, too.

And Taliyah Woodard showed off her cell phone case that she blinged out with sequins in the kids activity tent.

The youngsters and their families were among 300 people who attended a “Creating Health Communities,” a neighborhood event on Saturday hosted by First Shiloh Church as part of its centennial celebration.

“Everybody’s having a good time. No violence. No drama. Free food, arts and craft, book give-away,” said Jessica Tydus, five-year-old Londyn’s mother.

The church’s Youth Foundation and community partners presented the event, which was held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Pine Street between Eagle and South Division streets. The event – called “Community Day” – was for residents living within the border streets of the church from Michigan to Jefferson avenues and from Swan to William streets.

In addition to the kids activity tent, there were free health screenings and information and team games like kickball.

The community day was in keeping with the church’s mission of reaching out to the community around it, said Karen Stanley Fleming, a spokesperson for the church.

“First Shiloh has been in the community for 100 years, and we’re very, very community focused because we are feeding not only the spiritual person, we’re meeting physical needs,” Stanley Fleming said. “The idea being that in a community, health is very basic...for over 100 years we have adapted to the needs of the community.”

Monique Cooley heard about Saturday’s festivities from her mother’s co-worker, who is a member of First Shiloh.

“It’s nice. There’s something for kids to do, a fun weekend, a good way to get out of the house,” said Cooley, who brought along her two daughters, three-year-old Autumn Rosenthal and 16-year-old Taneisha Hyshaw.

Taneisha, who will be a junior at Math Science Technology Preparatory School, enjoyed the arts & crafts.

“I made a necklace with beads,” she said.

Five-year-old Adrian also enjoyed making jewelry in the kids activity tent.

“I made three bracelets,” he said.

Claudia Lee and her granddaughters Janiyah, 6, and Taliyah, 11, also enjoyed the activities in the kids tent.

In addition to her cell phone case, Taliyah added some of the shimmering sequins to a pink ribbon tied around her long ponytail.

“We get to have fun and do activities,” Taliyah said.

Janiyah made a necklace and three bracelets.

First Shiloh’s current location was built in 1966 and sits on what was once the home of abolitionist William Wells Brown, one of the conductors of the Underground Railroad and author of “The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave” published in 1847.

The site also is part of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, and in recognition of its 100th anniversary, First Shiloh also hosted a tour of other sites in the Heritage Corridor, including Michigan Street Baptist Church, Nash House Museum, Colored Musicians Club and the Jesse Clipper Memorial Park.

Additional activities in celebration of the church’s centennial have been planned for the month of November, including a family reunion event on Nov. 10 at the church and a black-tie gala at the Adams Mark on Nov. 11. And a concert will be held Nov. 12 in which former and present choir members from around the country will hold a performance at the church called “100 years. 100 voices,” Stanley Fleming said.

Saturday’s community day was sponsored by about 30 vendors, including John R. Oishei Foundation, First Niagara Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care, State Sen. Tim Kennedy, Common Council President Darius Pridgen, GBUAHN, Hodgson Russ Attorneys, M&T Bank, Millennium Collaborative Care, Erie County Chapter of the Links, Inc. and First Shiloh Housing Development Corps.


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