A VERY Brief History of Shiloh Chapel
by Pastor Ron Parker, February 2004
Shiloh Chapel was built over a one year period from 1896-1897 by the late Rev. Frank W. Sandford (1862-1948) and the students from his Bible School, called at that time period The Holy Ghost & Us Bible School. The school grew rapidly to become a community of over 500 full-time family residents, who sold their property and gave their money to come there. Initially billed as a missionary training school, it quickly became a prayer center for the evangelization of the world.
The pivotal person in this highly controversial saga was Rev. Sandford. Soon after 1900 he publicly announced his perceived role as the Elijah of Malachi 4. He understood his role as being “the Restorer of all things,” and proclaimed many such restorations such as the keeping of the Jewish Feasts, Sabbaths, baptism, communion, and the Kingdom of God on earth. The fellowship, now headquartered in Dublin, NH, is still incorporated in Maine as simply “The Kingdom.” In time Sandford announced other biblical roles as well, but the bottom line was that his authority and roles were not to be questioned.
Many, many people found great good in the Shiloh community, while many, many others were seriously damaged both emotionally and spiritually. While there are no simple answers as to why such opposing results happened, it deserves proper biblical analysis.
The school closed down in 1920 due to the increasing pressure of child-custody lawsuits. The people went back to their families or settled in the Durham/Lisbon area. Shiloh Chapel then became a small farming community, housing at times 10-20 people over the next half-century. The ministry evolved into a local church community. I was sent here to be its pastor in 1987. During the mid ‘90’s I began to see some of The Kingdom’s problems where current church policy was largely still dictated by Sandford’s teachings. The majority of the members of Shiloh Chapel and I left the Kingdom fellowship and reincorporated as a new, independent, evangelical church in 1998. I enrolled in New England Bible College (Conservative Baptist) and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry in 2001.
Now we seek to minister the life changing power of Jesus Christ through the incredible message of grace. It is not about a man, or prophetic claims, but about The Man, Jesus Christ, and His claim to be the Son of God, the one and only Savior who, by His own sacrifice on the cross, paid the penalty for my sin and yours.
The history of Shiloh Chapel has had much written about it, both pro and con. Here’s the short list:
The Sublimity of Faith by Rev. Frank Murray
Shiloh by William C. Hiss
Fair, Clear, & Terrible by Shirley Nelson
The Almighty & Us by Arnold White