Shiloh’s Origin Story

What’s in a Name?
The name “Shiloh” has a most colorful heritage in the Old Testament in two ways. The first is as a place of great religious significance for the Israelites. The city of Shiloh had been occupied since around 2100 BC, but reached its true significance for the Israelites around 1200 BC when Joshua led them into the land of Canaan, choosing Shiloh as the place of the tent of meeting and the permanent site of the Ark of the Covenant (Joshua 18:1). It was the site where the land was originally divided among the 12 tribes of Israel center for some time (Joshua 18:8-10; 19:51). Shiloh continued to be an important religious and military center for some time, even after the city was destroyed by the Philistines sometime around 1050 BC. IT was at Shiloh that the first temple or central sanctuary was built, and it was there that Samuel went to serve under Eli (1 Samuel Chapter 2). After the capture of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines, Shiloh declined as a city because it was difficult to defend. The prophet Ahijah was also from Shiloh (1 Kings 11:29).Shiloh - Israel
Shiloh is also important to the Old Testament and particularly to Christians as it appears in the dying words of Jacob to his 12 sons giving each a blessing in the 49th chapters of Genesis. In the King James Version (KJV), Genesis 49:10 reads, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Shiloh is translated as “until he comes to whom it belong(s)” in later versions.) The meaning is that Judah shall rule until the time comes when the power of Judah shall pass into the hands of an ideal ruler — the Messiah — who Christians recognize as Jesus the Christ. Because of this, Christian scholars have recognized Shiloh as a prophetic name of Christ since the 16th century.
This significance deeply resonated with us. Thus, Shiloh United Methodist Church was chosen as the official name of our UMC location in West Billings at the church’s first potluck dinner. The church was formally christened at a special worship service as a way of recognizing that we are the people of God in our new church.

A Timeline of Shiloh United Methodist Church

  • In 1978, the Billings United Methodist Church Extension Society purchased four acres of land, receiving another acre as a gift, for the present site of the church.
  • In 1985, Bishop Melvin Wheatley appointed Barry L. Padget to be the first pastor of the new church started in west Billings. That year, at Annual Conference, a survey of the west end of Billings was conducted to determine the number of families who might be interested in a new United Methodist Church. About 75 families responded positively and a visiting program was conducted by the new pastor.
  • On September 15, 1985, the first worship service was held at St. John’s Lutheran Home with over one hundred people attending.
  • On January 19, 1986, the new church was chartered as Shiloh United Methodist Church with 74 members joining that day. By the end of that year, the church had grown to 97 members.
  • On September 11, 1988, Groundbreaking Services were held at 1810 Shiloh Road and construction proceeded. The first worship service in the new church building was conducted with about 150 members on May 7, 1989.
  • In March of 1990, another 1.2 acres of land were gifted.
  • On April 11, 1999, the NEW (New Education Wing) ground breaking took place. The congregation adjourned after second service and invited the Sunday School kids for a prayer. The Building Committee dug some holes with gold shovels (painted by Jerry Goodman), then everyone was invited to dig a hole. Afterwards, there was cake and coffee.
  • In 2004, an easement from Avenue C to the church property was gifted to the church by long time supporters of Shiloh UMC.


Our Vision

The vision statement for Shiloh is, “Peace, Hope, Love, Joy – Every One, Every Day, Every Where.”
Shiloh as a place of “Peace” means we create an environment where people can worship God, feel God’s Peace, and be surrounding by the everlasting love we learn in Christ. We invite people to attend worship regularly to engage in the practice of experiencing this peace.
Shiloh as a place of “Hope” means we teach and learn together the ways of hope set out by Jesus. The popular word for this in today’s church language is Discipleship. This means that we consistently look to make sure we as a church are growing and empowering leaders to teach the gospel lessons, so people new and old to our community can learn discipleship ways of hope.
Shiloh as a place of “Love” means we care for one another as a way of practicing how we will care for the stranger. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is full of lessons of why we should share hospitality, most of those stories end with the people entertaining God. This embodies our ministries that care for people in our church community: visitation ministry, prayer ministry, and also the work of our administrative committees to ensure our facility and programs embody Christ’s love. This love is not a happy-go-lucky love, instead it gives space for people to share their joys and pains, successes and failures, and their full experience of life with one another.
Shiloh as a place of “Joy” means we are excited to carry what we gain at Shiloh into our everyday lives. This is embraced by the missions we share formally with the community, but also in the ways we encourage our people to share that same joy with co-workers, neighbors, classmates, friends, and strangers. In the end of it all our “Joy” should be so infectious that people should ask, “Why do you share so much, care so much, and love others so much?” In response we can say, “Because God loves me so much, that I feel called to share this love with every person I meet.”

We are connected to a global United Methodist Connection of people and churches.

Learn more about our ministry support that comes from our larger connections: