HISTORY OF THE SALEM CASS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
The first church was organized around 1853. A small plot of ground was purchased from Jacob Shafer for the price of $5 on which a frame building was erected. At that time, Salem was on the Gilboa Circuit. The pastor was probably the Rev. John T. Bowers.
This frame building served until 1880 when the present brick sanctuary was erected. The old building was moved to the Arcadia-Mortimer Road north of the church where it served as a store. In 1883, a Post Office was established in this building known as Wineland. It was discontinued a few years later. The building was moved two more times and once served as a Grange Hall. It now stands at the Section Line south of the present church in a state of disrepair.
More ground was needed for the erection of the brick building. This was purchased in 1880 from Andrew Shafer, son of Jacob Shafer. The price was seventy-five dollars. Salem was then on the Arcadia charge. The dedication service was held June 20, 1880. The pastor was probably the Rev. David Gray.
Among the first memorial gifts to the church were a cross, candlesticks, altar cloths and a baptismal font. The first communion table is now in the fellowship room (currently it is in the Narthex) and was purchased by the Women’s Society.
The idea of an Educational Unit was the outgrowth of a churchwide study, “High Hours of Methodism”, in which the project of “The Lord’s Acre” was promoted. The cornerstone for this addition was laid October 12, 1958, with Dr. W. Arthur Milne, Superintendent of the Toledo District, in charge of the event, assisted by the church pastor, the Rev. Millard B. Knowles.
In June of 1967, the Arcadia Methodist Church decided they wished to become a station, so we were left without a pastor. However, we were able to secure Charles Lloyd Baird, who served as our minister for five years.
Shortly thereafter, the Methodist and the Evangelical United Brethren Conferences decided to merge, so we became the Salem United Methodist Church. Since there was another Salem Church on the E.U.B. Circuit in Jackson Township, we reluctantly changed our name to Salem Cass United Methodist Church (due to being located in Cass Township) on August 19, 1968.
December 4, 1973, a strip of ground lying to the south of the church and consisting of approximately 30 feet in width was purchased from Glen D. Stahl at a cost of $357.14. This ground included the septic system and some of the parking lot used by the church.
In April of 1974, organ pipes were installed in memory of a member who had served as one of our organists.
On May 22, 1974, we were saddened by the sudden death of our beloved pastor, the Rev. Clayton Strawser. A beautiful stained glass window was installed in his memory.
In August of 1974, the original church bell was erected on the front lawn, which brought back memories of yesteryear.
Mrs. Kenneth (Pearle) Philpott, Chm.
Mrs. Blond (Dorotha) Amos
Mrs. Herbert (Evalyn) Hill
An architect was hired to draw up plans and at a church conference on Monday, May 14, 2001, the congregation voted to move forward with the building project. It seemed the time was right in 2003 to proceed with construction. Our Bible study group had been studying Nehemiah and the words in Nehemiah 2: 18, “Let us rise up and build”, took on special meaning. The interest rate on bank loans was at an all-time low. God seemed to be bringing people together in our church with talents necessary to carry out an extensive building project. The purchase of the additional land made space available and people were generously contributing to our building fund giving us the needed money to begin.
After much discussion and planning, the congregation voted to approve the Building Committee’s recommendation of reversing and expanding the sanctuary, adding a balcony, a new entrance area with a wheelchair lift, new multi-purpose room, new kitchen, new handicap accessible restrooms, covered “drop-off’ area and enlarged parking area. In preparation for the expansion, a new well was drilled in 2002. Garlock Brothers Construction Company, Findlay, Ohio, was hired to do the construction and ground was broken July 7, 2003. The reversal of the sanctuary was done by members of the congregation. Wood trim and kitchen cabinets were made and donated by church members. Additional blond pews were purchased from another church that no longer had need for them.
The west memorial windows were bricked in and a “cross and flame” were added as new memorials. The glass from the windows was moved to the front entrance and mezzanine windows. Through all of the construction, we were able to continue to hold services in the sanctuary and never missed a Sunday.
A highlight of our money-raising efforts was the awarding of a $20,000.00 grant from the West Ohio Methodist Conference. This was received after applying for it the two previous years and being turned down.
We were able to secure a bank loan of $323,408.87 at a rate of 5.4% to finance the project. In order to get the loan, we needed to be incorporated. This was done July 10, 2003, and at that time our name was officially made Salem Cass United Methodist Church. The total cost of the building project was around $750,000.00.
An important part in our “step of faith” were the prayers of our minister, Rev. Benjamin W.
Lowell who, every time he drove by the church, would pull into the parking lot and pray for our church and for guidance in our building project. Also, before the carpet was laid in the sanctuary, children, youth and adults wrote scripture verses on the sub-flooring, indicating that we have a spiritual foundation and are “standing on the word of God.”
On December 28, 2003, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the church. A special program was held commemorating the occasion which included a historical skit written by our church historian, Darlene Lewis. The men grew beards and members dressed in clothes of the 1853 era.
A service was held May 23, 2004, to dedicate the new addition. Bishop of the West Ohio Conference, United Methodist Church, Bruce Ough and Findlay District Superintendent, Tom Tumblin spoke, as well as our own minister, Rev. Lowell. Participating in the service were the Adult Choir, Youth Choir, Children’s Choir, Adult Handbells, Youth Handbells and the Praise Band. A video presentation of the church, its people, its history and the new construction was shown in the multipurpose room followed by a baked steak luncheon.
Mrs. Max (Marjorie) Stacy
Mrs. John (Sharon) Stacy