Church History – 150 Year Celebration
Salem History, 1956-2006
In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren Church joined with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church. This began a period of transition with one minister serving the Kendall, Wilton and Norwalk churches. Instead of two Norwalk Sunday services, Salem and Immanuel held a joint service, primarily at Immanuel.
In 1975 Norwalk Immanuel and Salem became on independent charge served by a part-time retired or student minister. Joint services continued to be held at Immanuel with the exception of the first Sunday of the six summer months. On these dates joint services were, and continue to be, held at Salem. Beautiful community Christmas Eve and Easter Sunrise services are held yearly at Salem, as well.
The two Norwalk churches continue to work closely together in community as well as spiritual efforts With the influx of the Hispanic community in the mid 1990’s, an ecumenical movement helped to relieve the tension and uneasiness created in our rural area. The result of this effort received national acclaim.
The Salem church building has continued to be maintained mainly by membership efforts. In 1966, Dennis, Dean, and Larry Hubbard painted the church steeple. The monstrous task of painting the interior of the church was accomplished in 1993 by Suzanne Vieth Zietlow. Through the years, she has also maintained the exterior trim. The front doors, a memorial to Irl and Vera Walz, were a gift from their children. Steve Vieth replaced the front doors and steps, and a ramp donated by Shirley Vieth improved the church’s accessibility.
In the early 1990’s the church windows were re-soldered and stabilized. The old “out house” was also destroyed by a storm and a new “storage shed” was erected.
For many years the church was heated by a coal and wood furnace, and a chimney was located on the rear exterior of the building. When the new furnace was installed in the late 1990’s the chimney was no longer needed, and it was removed, revealing the hidden half moon window beneath it. Stephen Vieth was doing repair work at the time and upon entering the attic through this opening found the original window insert still intact. The low front lawn has been filled in, leveled and reseeded. The church grounds are currently maintained by Dick and Joyce Schreier. Roberta Young and her family have cleaned the church regularly since 1968. Before these people took on cleaning and lawn care responsibilities, families took turns doing the duties.
For many years the old bridge in front of the church was a favorite after church stop for children. When the highway in front of the church was redone in the early 1990’s, the bridge was removed. No longer are children able to see who can throw stones the furthest or hear the sound of stones dropping in the water.
Salem Memories [PDF]