Dr. W.P. Cooke, 95, pastor emeritus of the Shiloh Baptist Church, who served from 1957 to 1982, but was called upon by the church to lead in times of pastoral vacancy, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, September 23, 2012.
Of personal note, Dr. Cooke was my wife’s, Sis. Jessica Houston, pastor. I know that she dearly loved and esteemed him. His loss is like the loss of a loved one in our household as well.
I met Dr. Cooke for the first time when I was living in Portland, Oregon and I was candidate for the pulpit at Shiloh in 1991. (I wasn’t selected, the church called Rev. Clifford Cheathon). I remember that he was very kind and he was called upon to serve as the Interim in that period. He seemed to be the steady hand in the pulpit and later when I moved to Fresno, California to assume the pulpit at Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, several of the members “adopted” me and I spoke on several occasions at Shiloh.
Every time I came to Shiloh, I looked forward to seeing Dr. Cooke. He was an original, had an amazing personal story of ministry and built a great, loyal congregation.
UPDATED: THE HOMEGOING SERVICES FOR PASTOR COOKE WILL BE TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2012 AT 11:00 A.M. PST AT SHILOH BAPTIST CHURCH, SACRAMENTO, CA.
Dr. Cooke, we’ll see you in the morning!
As his homegoing approaches we’ll post more information below.
From the Sacramento Observer:
SACRAMENTO – In July, his beloved Shiloh Baptist Church was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as a a cultural resource worth perserving.
Those who heard him preach or benefitted from his spirtual guidance, would say its pioneering pastor emeritus, Rev. Willie P. Cooke was also a notable treasure.
Rev. Willie P. Cooke passed away Sunday, after a long illness. Rev. Cooke led Shiloh Baptist Church from 1957 to 1983. He returned and served as Interim Pastor from 1990 to1991. In his time the the church’s helm, Rev. Cooke doubled its membership and sponsored the building of Shiloh Arms, Inc., which provides quality housing and childcare for members of the community.
Rev. Cooke was a native of Mississippi. He studied electrical engineering at the American School of Electricity of Chicago. After moving to Oregon, he became the first African American to hold an electrical contractors license in the state of Oregon.
Upon moving to California he became an Armature Winder for Weismer and Becker Electric Company where he was employed when called to Shiloh Baptist Church. The aspiring minister attended the Conroe Normal and Industrial College of Texas, earning a bachelors degree in Theology. He later attended the Andrew Baptist College and Seminary and was conferred an honorary doctor of divinity degree.
Pastor Cooke was active in several civic endeavors, including serving on Gov. Edmund Brown’s Conference on delinquency prevention, the NAACP and the advisory committee for the UC Davis Medical Center.
The Sacramento OBSERVER honored Rev. Cooke as one of its community legends in 2003. Many local ministers counted him as their “father in Gospel” including the founders of Antioch Progressive Baptist Church and Bishop Parnell Lovelace of Center of Praise Ministries.
Memorial services are pending.
This is the condolence from the First Baptist Church in Frankfort:
September 28, 2012
The Family of Dr. Willie P. Cooke
c/o Shiloh Baptist Church
Rev. Anthony Sadler, Pastor
3565 9th Avenue
Sacramento, California 95817
Dear Cooke Family, Pastor Sadler and the Shiloh Baptist Church Family,
We are saddened by the homegoing of Dr. Willie P. Cooke, pastor emeritus of the Shiloh Baptist Church. Please know that you have our prayers and spiritual support.
This homegoing has affected us greatly, especially in the lives of this Pastor and my wife, Jessica G. Anderson Houston, who was baptized by Pastor Cooke after giving her life to Jesus Christ. Jessica truly loved her pastor and we are the beneficiaries of the Christian foundation that she received at Shiloh.
I had the great blessing of meeting Pastor Cooke as a candidate for Shiloh in 1991. He was such a man of dignity, a true Christian gentleman, and he possessed a great love for the Shiloh Baptist Church and her future.
I know that he was beloved by Shiloh, the church community and he touched lives all over the nation. We regret that we are unable to attend, but please know that we are praying for you during this hour of celebration in the legacy of Pastor Cooke. The Scriptures remind us in Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
It’s All About HIM,
Robert Earl Houston, Sr.