For more than 200 years, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church has striven to serve God and the community of believers in this place.
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Marion was established in 1812 by a group of German farmers who desired a Lutheran church for worship in their new community. Very little is known about the early years of the congregation. In 1827 the German Lutheran congregation joined with the local German Reformed congregation to purchase land, and in 1828 they jointly erected a house of public worship to be called Salem’s Church. The church’s thick walls were built of limestone obtained in the immediate neighborhood, and the exterior was finished with white stucco. Because of the color of the exterior, Salem was frequently referred to as the “White Church”. Salem served as a union church until 1877 when the German Reformed congregation dedicated Heidelberg Reformed Church in Marion. In addition to sharing a building, the Salem Lutheran congregation also shared pastors with other rural Lutheran congregations. The most enduring joint parish relationship was the New Franklin Charge begun in 1849 with four or five congregations. This parish became a two church charge in 1894 and was finally dissolved in 1978 when Salem Evangelical Lutheran became a single church charge.
In 1950, the old, one-room, Salem Church was greatly expanded to make room for a rapidly growing congregation and Sunday school. The building was extended 44 feet toward the road; side wings added two rooms on the main floor; and an excavated basement provided additional Sunday school classrooms, a kitchen, and indoor restrooms. In 1999, another addition to the building added approximately 2,000 square feet of space on two levels and included an elevator to improve access to the sanctuary.
May we remember and give thanks for our history as we plan and prepare for our future and our continued mission of worship and service.
A Welcoming Community
We welcome all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
—I Corinthians 12:12