1917: Rendy Murray Starts Prayer Band

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church dates its past back to 1917 when a mother of four boys, Sister Rendy Murray originally from Pratville, Alabama had a dream and sincere desire to have a missionary Baptist church established in her new residence of Newark, Ohio. (Note: Sister Rendy Murray’s mother was a former slave named Americus and was related to Frederick Douglas by marriage.) Upon Sister Rendy Murray’s arrival in 1917 there were no missionary Baptist churches in the Newark area. At that time people had to either attend the Methodist church or travel to Columbus or Mt. Vernon, Ohio to attend a missionary Baptist service. Because traveling became difficult and Sister Murray became dissatisfied with the Methodist services, the Lord moved upon the heart of Sister Murray to organize a Sunday School and prayer band in her home at 175 Monroe Street in Newark.

Sister Murray with the help of Rev. W. A. Tutt and inspiration of Jesus Christ had much success with the prayer band which met every Wednesday night. After a short while the prayer band grew into a mission. The mission soon moved to a house on Arch Street. During this period of time, Sister Murray was again divinely inspired to call the mission “Shiloh” after the church in Columbus, Ohio.


According to the 1920 U. S. Census Sister Rendy Murray was living in her Newark, Ohio home with her four adult boys and two minor girls circa age of 7 years. It is speculated that these girls were her granddaughters. One of the girls named Anna was the grandmother of NBC Channel 4 local television news anchor Mike Jackson. For Black History Month Mr. Jackson did a feature story of his maternal great grandmother Sister Rendy Murray in Newark at Shiloh with her great grandson Brother Jeremiah Steele, Jr. and Shiloh’s Pastor Emeritus the Reverend Dr. Charles w. Noble, Sr. on February 12, 2013. Jeremiah Steele, Jr. is the surviving grandson of Sister Rendy Murray’s son Miles Steele. Mr. Jackson noted his connection with the Shiloh Family when he noticed the obituary of Brother Jeremiah Steele, Sr. in December 2012. He was deeply touched to know the deep Christian faith of Sister Murray whereby she was the instrument to getting a church established in her community and having the first senior citizen housing complex m Licking County named in her honor. Sister Murray passed in 1960 and is buried in the local Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark under the recorded name of Marinda Murray.