Salem Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA)

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Salem Mennonite Church
Source: Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College, North Newton, KS: Photo Collection 2011-0123

The Salem Mennonite Church, Freeman, South Dakota, began in 1907 when the Swiss Mennonite settlement east of Freeman decided to divide as a congregation. The northern half of the settlement remained with the original Salem-Zion Mennonite congregation, and the southern half withdrew and became the Salem Mennonite Church.

The new Salem group built a church building at the present location, 2.5 miles south of the original church. These two congregations, known locally as the "North" and "South" churches, retained close fraternal relations through the years, though there was some original conflict over ownership of benches, hymnbooks, and record books. The first service in the new building was held on 12 January 1908.

The 1908 building was remodeled and enlarged in 1919 as the rural community grew larger. It also built a parsonage in 1920. It dedicated a new brick sanctuary and educational wing in 1965. When that building was destroyed by arson in 1985, the present church building was erected on the same foundations and dedicated in 1987.

As part of the realignment of the Mennonite Church (MC) and General Conference Mennonite Church into Mennonite Church USA, Salem Mennonite was among the congregations that joined the new Central Plains Mennonite Conference in 2000.

In 2023 the congregation was part of the Central Plains Conference of Mennonite Church USA.

Bibliography

"Our history." Salem Mennonite Church. 2023. Web. https://southchurchsd.org/about-us.

Schmidt, Diena, ed. The Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church 1891-1991. Freeman, S.D.: The Conference, 1991: 138-141.

Additional Information

Address: 28103 443rd Ave., Freeman, South Dakota 57029

Phone: 605-925-4553

Website: https://southchurchsd.org/

Denominational Affiliations: Central Plains Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Salem Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Christian Mueller (1842-1923) 1908-1911
1919-1920
Christian Hege (1878-1971) 1911-1919
Elmer J. Neuenschwander (1882-1959) 1920-1924
William S. Gottschall (1865-1941) 1924-1929
Peter R. Schroeder (1888-1941) 1930-1940
Willard K. Claassen (1911-1995) 1941-1952
J. Herbert Fretz (1921-2013) 1953-1963
Willard W. Wiebe (1917-1967) 1964-1967
Abram M. Wiebe (1922-2000) 1967-1968
Paul Roth 1968-1969
Wilfred D. Ulrich (1920-2015) 1969-1975
Walter Gering (1908-1996) 1976-1977
Roland Gering 1977-1985
Mike Bogard 1985-1986
Bernard Thiessen 1986-1987
Ronald A. Krehbiel 1987-1994
Ted Grimsrud (Co-pastor) 1994-1996
Kathleen Temple (Co-pastor) 1994-1996
Gordon Scoville (Interim) 1997-1998
Larry D. Hart 1999?
S. Roy Kauffman 1999?-2010
Stacey Waltner (Associate) 2002?-2011
George O'Reilly (Interim) 2010-2012
Nicholas Detweiler-Stoddard 2012-2020
Robert L. Engbrecht (Senior Ministries) 2013-

Membership at Salem Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1908 129
1930 368
1940 482
1950 539
1960 547
1970 578
1980 545
1990 480
2000 414
2009 377
2020 330

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By J. Herbert Fretz. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 406. All rights reserved.

Salem Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church), located at Freeman, South Dakota, had its beginning during the summer of 1907, when the Swiss Mennonite settlement east of Freeman decided to divide as a congregation. The northern half of the settlement remained with the original Salem-Zion Mennonite congregation, and the southern half withdrew and became the Salem Mennonite Church.

Land was purchased 2½ miles south of the Salem-Zion church and a meetinghouse was built, dedicated on 24 May 1908. On 2 January 1909, a constitution was adopted. In 1913 a cemetery was begun. In the fall and winter of 1916-17 the church building was greatly enlarged to its present size. In 1920 a large parsonage was erected south of the church. Ministers who have served the Salem church are Christian Mueller 1908-10 and 1919-20, Christian Hege 1911-19, E. J. Neuenschwander 1920-24, W. S. Gottschall 1924-30, P. R. Schroeder 1930-40, Willard Claassen 1941-52, and J. Herbert Fretz 1953-    . The membership of the Salem congregation in 1957 was 542.

The common names are Preheim, Waltner, Kaufman, Graber, Gering, Miller, Ries, and Schrag.

During the late 1950s missionaries from the congregation included Mrs. Orlando Waltner in India, and Mrs. Verney Unruh and Mrs. Raymond Reimer in Japan.


Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published June 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Salem Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2023. Web. 17 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Salem_Mennonite_Church_(Freeman,_South_Dakota,_USA)&oldid=175933.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (June 2023). Salem Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Salem_Mennonite_Church_(Freeman,_South_Dakota,_USA)&oldid=175933.




©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.