Salem United Church of Christ

307 Covered Bridge Road, Oley, PA  19547
"People Responding to a Still Speaking God"

Church History

Salem United Church of Christ is an historic church with modern amenities, such as central air conditioning, elevator access to all floors, commercial kitchen, and a new Sunday school facility, which is located in a scenic Oley Valley. The church was founded in 1735. The early settlers were primarily French Huguenots and Germans who were deeply religious and skilled artisans. They were driven from their native land of Holland by persecution and fleding to the Oley Valley.

To appreciate and understand the history of Salem church, try to imagine the world in 1730ís, the Oley Valley of 277 years ago. No cars, no modern communications and conveniences!!! Instead, think of this wooded fertile valley where Europeans in 1710 had been given some of the first land grants. These people had left Europe, seeking a world that offered the opportunity to live peacefully, with no monarch deciding how you would worship God. By the spring of 1736, these settlers had contacted the Rev. John Philip Boehm, a former teacher and ordained minister who lead worship for people who followed the teachings of John Calvin, also known as the German Reformed congregation. In April 1754, iron master John Lesher donated 132 parcels of land to erect a house of worship for followers of John Calvin. The land was also to be used for a schoolhouse and a graveyard.

By the 19th century, this part of Pennsylvania had been developed and was exporting grains and iron wares to many other areas. In 1822, a large brick church was erected with plain glass windows. In 1870, the Oley Union Cemetery was established with members of Salem and Christ Lutheran Churches serving on the board. In 1884, worship services were held every two weeks some in the morning and some in the afternoon.

In early 1900, the building was extensively renovated the first floor Sunday school rooms, stain glass windows were installed, walls and ceiling of sanctuary were frescoed by Berthold I. Imoff, and Andrew Carnegie help fund a new pipe organ. In the mid 1950ís the four churches that shared a minister separated Friendens and Salem remained together for a few years. A short time later Friendens and Salem separated and then Salem hired their first full time minister Rev. Albert Kovacs. For the 250ís anniversary the sanctuary was again repainted, the first female pastor was hired, Rev. Joan C. Jones. In the 1990ís Schantz pipe organ was installed. Discussion concerning handicap accessibility brought about an addition that included an elevator, 8 Sunday School rooms, handicap bathrooms, and pastorís office. In the older building the kitchen was updated.
Payday loans are the best here!
Payday loans are the best here!
Payday loans are the best here!
Payday loans are the best here!

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