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Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

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1975, Edwin Butler Crittenden. 855 E. 20th Ave.
  • (Photograph by Ian Hartman)

After Greater Friendship Baptist Church, the first Black church in Alaska, was founded in 1951, its congregation soon outgrew the space. The first major offshoot was Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, founded in 1952 with some thirty members. Its first services were held at the downtown Carpenter’s Hall. The congregation purchased a property at 229 West 8th Avenue but the new church was not dedicated until 1958, since a fire delayed construction. When this building was demolished in 1975 for the construction of a federal complex, today the James M. Fitzgerald U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building, Shiloh Missionary Baptist built a new church on East 20th Avenue, at the edge of the Fairview neighborhood. Groundbreaking for the new church took place on August 30, 1975, and the Shiloh congregation held its first services in 1976.

The church is notable for its irregular, almost picturesque, massing. Set back from the road and surrounded by a parking lot, the church features a stone base and vertical wood siding that emphasizes the varied rooflines. The focal point is the central tower on the southern facade. Its steeply pitched shed roof allows for a cross-shaped window on the western side of the tower, which marks the main entrance below. The pitch of the gable roof is emphasized on the interior with wooden vaulting and paneling in the nave, interrupted only by skylights.

In 1981, the church began construction on a three-story education wing with a compatible exterior, situated to the west of the sanctuary and primary church offices. It was dedicated in 1983 for the church’s 31st anniversary. Today, Shiloh Missionary Baptist is the largest predominantly Black church in the state. It was the first Alaskan church to affiliate with the National Baptist Convention, the largest predominantly African American Christian denomination in America. 


“Baptist Church Marks Anniversary.” Anchorage Times, May 21, 1983, 27.

“‘Burning to Build’ is Theme of Baptist Church’s Anniversary.” Anchorage Times, May 16, 1981, 12.

“Communion Service.” Anchorage Times, July 31, 1976, 10.

Corley, Asta. “Church Celebrates 50th Anniversary.” Anchorage Daily News, May 19, 2002, B6.

McCummings, Zakiya. “All Roads Lead to Shiloh.” Anchorage Press, February 23, 2017.

“Shiloh Church Readies Move.” Anchorage Daily Times, September 13, 1975, 15.

Writing Credits

David Reamer
Ian C. Hartman



  • 1976

  • 1981


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David Reamer, Ian C. Hartman, "Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church ", [Anchorage, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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