Salem Church
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Our History

Salem Unlited Methodist Church had its beginnings back in 1885 when Rev. D. W. Schaefer, Evangelical pastor in Sebewaing at the time, established a preaching place in the home of Louis Thiel. A Sunday School was soon organized and by 1886, Rev. George Kirn served the field as a junior preacher, associated with Rev. Peter Alles from the Sebewaing church. When the Sunday School grew larger, it met in the Turner Schoolhouse. In 1889, Salem became part of the Elkton circuit under the care of Rev.William Vogel. During this peiord a class of 20 charter members was organized.
Salem's first church building was erected at Berne in 1891 (see photo above). Shortly after this the Pigeon community began establishing itself as the center of new building and businesses. The Salem congregation decided to relocate and moved their frame building to Pigeon on the approximate site of the present day church.
About the time Pigeon began its organization as a village, the Salem congregation of the Evangelical Church was also organizing as a separate congregation. In 1902, Salem and Winsor, just south of Pigeon, became the Pigeon Mission with Rev. Frederick Klump as pastor.
During the pastorate of Rev. Noah Frye (1904-1907) a parsonage was built on the lot located between the present church and Mrs. William Richmond's house. The growth of the congregation led to the building of a new brick-veneer church in 1909 (see photo below) during the first pastorate of Rev. Charles Rodesiler. The old frame church was moved north to the site of the present parking lot and converted into a house which stood until 1973.
On the night of December 24, 1934, the church building was destroyed by a dramatic fire of undetermined origin. The congregation immediately began rebuilding its church on the site of the burned building. Nine months later, on September 8, 1935, the new church building was dedicated.
Rev. Lester A. Regsegger was pastor in 1946 when the Evangelical Church and The Church of the United Brethren in Christ were merged forming the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Feeling the need for larger facilties in the 1960s, the congregation voted to construct a new education unit and additional sanctuary space. In March of 1960, under the charge of Rev. Byron Chapman, the additional facilities were dedicated by Bishop R.H. Mueller, initiating the structure as it now appears (see photo below).
While Rev. Raymond Roe was pastor, the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist denominations merged, forming the United Methodist Church. 
In 1972, while Rev. Sam Evans was minister, a new parsonage was completed on Clabuesch Street. The old parsonage was demolished, allowing for additional parking and new landscaping.
Today Salem Church is on the cutting edge of technology, live streaming services and reaching out to the community in the digital age.