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. In1883, 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.

Some improvements were made to this building over the years, including a vestibule in 1903 and a basement in 1915. An inside stairway was constructed in 1934, which added greatly to the convenience of the members.

A painting on canvas, “Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane,” enhanced the wall behind the pulpit for many years. It has since been framed by the Rev. Russell Hawk, using wood from one of the original pews. It now hangs on the south wall of the sanctuary.

In later years, an inlaid linoleum type of floor covering was purchased to cover the entire sanctuary and entryway.

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.

The work continued through the efforts of members and friends until its completion in the fall of 1963 during the pastorate of the Rev. Dwight Hayes. The addition lies to the south of the old edifice and provides several classrooms, a fellowship room, a nursery, restrooms, furnace room, and a new tower and entryway. Volunteer labor performed most of the work. The ladies contributed by preparing meals for the laborers nearly every Saturday.  The Educational Unit was dedicated November 24,1963, with the Toledo District Superintendent, Dr. Donald Cryer, as the Speaker. The pastor at that time was the Rev. Dwight Hayes. The only former pastor to attend this service was the Rev. and Mrs. R. B. Coleman.

On April 15, 1957, an organ fund was started by a friend of the church in memory of her husband. A Conn organ was purchased in April of 1966. The dedication service was held the following month, May 29, with the Rev. Charles E. Wintringham as the speaker, assisted by the Rev. Russell Foote.

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.

New hymnals were purchased this same year.

In the year 1969, an enclosure was built above the furnace room, which provided a fire escape, a choir entrance into the sanctuary, and also made space for a kitchenette, which was a project of the Women’s Society.

Having completed and furnished the Educational Unit, we thought it necessary to redecorate the sanctuary. This was planned and completed in 1969 and 1970. It consisted of painting the walls, refinishing the woodwork and doing some paneling. A cross and flame added to the worship setting. New pews and other furniture of a light wood finish were added.

In November of 1970, wall-to-wall carpeting was installed in the sanctuary, choir room and entryway.

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.

The next project was carpeting the nursery, restrooms, and the stairway to the nursery. In early 1974, the dining room in the basement was paneled and new lights installed.

On May 19, 1974, we held a service dedicating the many memorials and gifts that had been presented to the church. The District Superintendent, the Rev. Paul E. Stuckey, was the speaker.

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.

The most recent improvement was the repainting of the walls and ceiling of the sanctuary in February of 1976. This greatly enhanced the beauty of our place of worship.

It is interesting to note that Mrs. Robert (Ethel) Beeson and Mr. Lewis Brinkman have each been members of the Salem Church for sixty-nine years, having joined in 1907.

Historians:

Mrs. Kenneth (Pearle) Philpott, Chm.

Mrs. Blond (Dorotha) Amos

Mrs. Herbert (Evalyn) Hill

HISTORY OF THE SALEM CASS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 1977 THROUGH 2004

Additional stained glass windows were added to the sanctuary in 1975 and 1983, made possible through memorial gifts. In 1977 a piano for the sanctuary was purchased from Groman’s Music.

In 1979 the fellowship room and nursery were carpeted as well as painted and the upstairs classrooms were painted.

A new roof was put on the church in 1980 and the outside area was enhanced with the installation of a security light along with the planting of several trees. A choir robe cabinet was built in the fellowship room to provide needed storage.

Tables were purchased in 1982 for the basement through a gift from the Live Wire Class along with other donations and ceiling fans were installed in the sanctuary.

Installation of an outside lighted sign was done in 1983 which provided an area to announce special events. Dedication of the above memorials and gifts was made during worship on October 9, 1983, by Dr. Roland V. Hudson.

In 1984 the sanctuary received a new coat of paint as well as the nursery and kitchen area. A kitchen sink and cabinets were added to improve the efficiency of the kitchen.

Four new furnaces were purchased in 1987 and in 1988 new lights were hung in the sanctuary providing more light and beauty. The sanctuary, entrance area, kitchen and dining room were painted in 1989 and masonry repair work was done to the exterior of the building in 1990.

In honor of Earth Day, May 1990, eight trees were planted around the church as memorials and gifts.

In 1989 the United Methodist Church published new hymnals and after a fundraising campaign, we replaced our previous hymnals with new ones. A hymnal dedication service was held April 7, 1991, by pastor, Dr. Robert G. Scully.

The year 1992 was a busy year with replacing the roof, paving the parking area, changing the furnaces over from fuel oil to natural gas, building a storage closet in the north upstairs classroom, and through memorials, adding an eternal flame in the sanctuary, and redecoration of the nursery with new cribs and a glider rocker. The nursery project was continued in 1993 with the addition of a slide toy, carpeting, lights, fans, curtains and vertical blinds.

A new table was given in 1994 for the back of the sanctuary and a vanity and sinks were installed in the restrooms. New altar cloths were given and purchase was made of a copy machine and sound system.

In 1995 personal listening devices were added to the sound system and a new sidewalk leading to the front door was installed.

As there was need for a new organ, a fund was started in 1993, and in January of 1996 we were able to purchase a Galanti Classic church organ. Also added to the sanctuary that same year were ceiling fans, air conditioning, a sound system cabinet and new candlelighters for the acolytes.

Improvements in 1997 were enlarging the parking lot by adding spaces to the east of the church and getting replacement windows for the classrooms and fellowship room. A white marker board for the fellowship room was given by the UMYF and twenty-five blue choir robes and four acolyte robes were purchased through a memorial.

A three-octave set of Schulmerich handbells was purchased in 1998 through donations and memorials. A TV/VCR for use in the classrooms was added along with a communion set.

The next year a memorial closet was built in the nursery. Also, a rear sidewalk was installed and a CD player added to the sound system.

As there was need for more parking, Glen and Wanda Stahl agreed to sell us more land. The purchase of 2.862 acres at a cost of $21,450.00 was made in December of 2000. This allowed us to extend our parking area to the east.

In 1996 a fund had been started to make our church handicap accessible. Several different ideas were considered such as putting a ramp on the north side of the building or an elevator to reach all floors. Also, our attendance had continued to grow and we were in need of more space in the sanctuary. A building committee was formed in 1999.

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 and new septic system installed in 2003.

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.

To raise money for the building project, fundraisers included chicken barbecues, pizza sales, potato luncheons, garage sales and the sale of grocery certificates. Also, an amount was placed in the budget to cover the cost of weekly loan payments.

Of special interest was the collection of change by the children who, each Sunday, placed their money in a special basket at the altar during the children’s sermon.

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 150thanniversary 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.

Several additions received at this time through memorials were new sanctuary carpeting, carpet in the multi-purpose room, chandelier and couches in the entry area, two external cross and flames, advent wreath, chairs and grand piano for the sanctuary and additional hymnals and Bibles.

Gifts to the church included additional pews, pew cushions, new flags for the altar area, brass railing, glass and wood trim for the balcony, tables and chairs for the multi-purpose room, a table for the entry area, a gift of stock, basketball backboard, septic tank, landscaping, new refrigerators, stoves and a dishwasher.

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