By Joi Thomas, Special to the AFRO

April 19th is an important day on the Christian calendar. It is observed as Good Friday; the day Jesus Christ was crucified. Many churches in our area will observe this day with what is known as a Seven Last Words service. While Jesus hung on the cross, He uttered Seven sayings or Seven last words. Often seven preachers preach one word each in this type of service. This year, New Shiloh Baptist Church will hold their 50th Seven Last Words service. It is sure to be a monumental event.

Dr. Harold Carter, Jr, Pastor of New Shiloh shared a little about how the service began for the church 50 years ago. “Other than a desire on my father’s part, the late Dr. Harold A. Carter, Sr., to bring area churches and pastors together on Good Friday, in 1969, I’m not privy to any more historical precipitous for the service. The service originated with the following pastors/ proclaimers: Pastor Darneal Johnson Sr., Pastor (Bishop) Clifford Johnson, Pastor Olin P. Moyd, Pastor Samuel Ray, Pastor Edgar Reid, Pastor (Bishop) Winfield Showell, and Pastor A.C.D. Vaughn,” said Carter. “Of the original seven, only Dr. A.C.D. Vaughn is with us, on this side of life. We are so delighted that God has kept him to be a part of this 50th year observance.”

Over the past 50 years, the

Seven Last Words service at New Shiloh has grown and matured. Many great men and women have stood in this service to proclaim the Seven Last Words. “The service has providentially evolved primarily due to the home goings of  participating pastors, over the years. Also, whereas all of the original pastors were local, now some of them are from outside of our city/state. Another change has been the home going of the original host pastor, Dr. Harold Carter, Sr. Of course, even after 5 years, his impact and presence aremissed,” Carter said.

This year’s service is shaping up to be a real blessing for all who attend. Many of the Pastors preaching have been involved in past seven last words services over the years. “Inasmuch as this is the 50th year anniversary, I really didn’t want to drastically abrupt the usual line-up, but I did feel led to reach out to two pastors hoping they would help us honor the occasion. One is Bishop Walter Thomas, who has consented to return after a number of years. The other was to have been the now, late Dr. Charles Booth. Both Bishop Thomas and Dr. Booth were tremendously impacted by my father’s ministry and that of the New Shiloh Baptist Church,” Carter said. “Obviously, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Booth who had never participated in New Shiloh’s  service and was going to be a surprise participant for this year. In addition to the aforementioned, this year we have invited Grammy-nominated Bishop Cortez Vaughn of Kansas City, Kansas as our guest psalmist.”

Dr. Daniel Carter, assistant to the pastor informs us that preparation for this service begins months before Good Friday. “Typically, preparation begins in February, confirming participants and assigning what “word” they will preach. Similarly, the Music Ministry will come together, our Saturday Church School’s Drama Ministry does a pre-service production (for the past seven years) which requires rehearsals, etc.” After this years service the Men’s Ministry will host a fish dinner. People will be able to purchase dinner for take-out for $15.00 or a fish sandwich for $8.00.

New Shiloh is excited about this milestone in their church history and invite all to attend. New Shiloh Baptist Church is located at 2100 N. Monroe Street in Northwest Baltimore. Sunday Worship Service times are 8:30am and 11:00am. Daily prayer is held each and every morning at 6:00 AM.