Salem Church of God in Christ Mennonite Church (Copeland, Haskell County, Kansas, USA)

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The Salem Church of God in Christ, Mennonite congregation north of Copeland, Kansas, USA, was established in 1923. The congregation was rooted in families who had been part of the western edge of the Montezuma congregation. Families had begun to move the area in 1915 and traveled up to 20 miles to get to the church. By 1923 13 families were living in northeast Haskell County and western Gray County.

On 14 March 1923, these families applied to the Montezuma church council to become a separate congregation. It granted permission to meet separately every Sunday of the month except for the first Sunday when they should come to Montezuma. Jacob N. Yost became pastor of the new Salem group.

The group initially met for worship in the Colusa School and almost immediately began to hold Sunday school. Work began on a new church building in early summer 1925 and was dedicated in September of that year. It was enlarged and remodeled several times before a new church was built and dedicated on 24 April 1960.

The Depression years caused difficulty, and membership dropped almost in half as families moved away from the Dust Bowl. Deep-well irrigation in 1939 helped to revive the economy and the prospects of the church.

In 1949 a small group of members from the Grant Mennonite Church merged with Salem. The Grant County families began to meet separately again in 1960 and reestablished their congregation. In 1995 Salem cooperated with the Montezuma and Cimarron congregations to create the Living Hope congregation. Thirty-five members from Salem joined the new group, along with pastor Stanley Smith.

The Salem Valley Christian School began in 1978, with a new school building erected in 1979.

In 2020 the congregation was part of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. The ministers were Kelsey Unruh, Steve Unruh, and Sam Unruh.


Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. Yearbook (1996-2020).

Histories of the congregations. 3rd. ed. Moundridge, Kansas: Gospel Publishers, 1999: 326-332.

Additional Information

Address: 709 Road WW, Copeland, Kansas 67837

Phone: 620-668-5552


Denominational Affiliations:

Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

Ordained Pastors at the Salem Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Jacob N. Yost (1890-1974) 1923-1939
Edward W. Frank (1901-1953) 1927-1953
Ernest Dirks (1899-1958) 1933-1937
Orlan Wedel (1908-1986) 1942-1970
Vernon V. Nightengale (1911-1957) 1942-1957
John Nightengale (1919-2003) 1955-1975
John C. Wedel (1917-2016) 1960-1966
Cecil W. Unruh (1924-2005) 1960-1988
DeeWayne Koehn 1972-1980
Delton Wedel 1972-1989
Gilbert Nickel 1980-1997
Sam Unruh, Jr. 1989-present
Stanley Smith 1989-1995
Verle Yost 1989-2003
Steve Unruh 1996-present
Kelsey Unruh 2010-present

Membership at Salem Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1925 57
1933 121
1937 67
1957 175
1995 233
2000 201
2010 166
2020 183

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Enoch Schmidt. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 403. All rights reserved.

Salem Church of God in Christ Mennonite Church, located 8 miles north and 3 miles west of Copeland, Haskell County, Kansas, began in 1917, when the first members settled here, going to Montezuma for worship services until 1922. Jacob N. Yost was the first resident minister. In 1925 a new church was built, which was remodeled in 1947 to seat 300. Four ministers and two deacons have been ordained in the history of the church. Sunday school was started in 1922, and a sewing circle in the later 1920s. In 1957 the church had a membership of 175; the ministers were Vernon Nightengale, Orlan Wedel, and John Nightengale.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published January 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Salem Church of God in Christ Mennonite Church (Copeland, Haskell County, Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2021. Web. 22 Sep 2023.,_Haskell_County,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=169803.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (January 2021). Salem Church of God in Christ Mennonite Church (Copeland, Haskell County, Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 September 2023, from,_Haskell_County,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=169803.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.