Salem Mennonite Church (Kidron, Ohio, USA)

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Salem Mennonite Church, 2017
Source: Maxine Hershberger

Salem Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church), located 4 miles southwest of Dalton, Ohio, and 2½ miles northeast of Kidron, Ohio, was organized 20 May 1886, with 18 charter members, of the Sommer, Kirchhofer, Lehman, Zuercher, Moser, Steffen, Amstutz, and Geiger families, as a schism from the Sonnenberg Swiss congregation.

At first, the church met in the Sonnenberg schoolhouse until they were denied use of the building. They then met in an old house at the foot of Schneck Hill. Their first meetinghouse, a 30 x 40 foot building constructed across the road from the Sonnenberg schoolhouse, was dedicated on 28 November 1886. A. A. Sommer was chosen as the first regular pastor.

In 2023 the congregation still occupied the original 1886 structure. Many changes have been made to the building, and additional land has been purchased. In 1951 the Sonnenberg schoolhouse was purchased and used as a Sunday School annex. The most significant change to the building prior to 1970 was the addition of an education wing to the north side of the sanctuary in 1967. A parsonage was built in 1972, and a new chancel was built in 1974. In 2016 construction began for a ground-level fellowship hall and kitchen. The addition also provided additional Sunday School rooms, a meeting room, and a large welcoming gallery for informal fellowship. A picnic pavilion was also built beside the children’s playground area.

Important threads in the church's history include prayer, Sunday School, education, and missions. In 1992 Salem began a vision to make prayer, scripture, and evangelism central to the life of the church. The majority of the congregation's service opportunities have been with Ohio Conference congregations and MCC (Mennonite Central Committee). Individuals and small groups have engaged in short-term service through MCC Connections Thrift Shop, World Crafts, the annual MCC Relief Sale, and meat canning. Cooperation among the three Kidron area Mennonite churches (Sonnenberg, Kidron, and Salem) in these efforts have fostered much-needed healing and unity. Partnership with MCC and the Tanzania Mennonite Church has been formed in the fight against AIDS as well as in support of evangelism and new church plants.

From the Fall of 1887 to the Spring of 2014, Salem Mennonite Church was a member of the General Conference Mennonite Church (later Mennonite Church USA). Salem was first part of the Western District Conference. Within a year, the reorganization of the denomination's districts put Salem in the Middle District Conference, which was later called Central District Conference (CDC). Salem remained a member of the CDC until 2012, when the congregation decided to break ties with the CDC over differences in doctrines and the disregard for some aspects of the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. It joined the Ohio Conference in March 2014.

Bibliography

Huber, Tim. "Ohio Letter Urges Mountain States to Reverse Decision or Face Discipline." Mennonite World Review (17 March 2014). http://www.mennoworld.org/2014/3/17/ohio-letter-urges-mountain-states-reverse-decision/.

Lehman, James O. Salem's First Century: Worship and Witness. Kidron, Ohio: Salem Mennonite Church, 1986.

Salem Mennonite Church. "Saving & Sharing Salem's Story: A Brief Historical Sketch of Salem Mennonite Church." Web. 15 March 2014. [broken link]

"Salem Mennonite Church--Kidron." Salem Mennonite Church. 2018. Unpublished paper.

Additional Information

Address: P.O. Box 7, Kidron, Ohio 44636

Location: 3363 Zuercher Road, Dalton, Ohio

Phone: 330-857-4131

Website: Salem Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliations:

Central District Conference (until 2014)

Ohio Mennonite Conference (2014-present)

Mennonite Church USA (2014-present)

Pastoral Leaders at Salem Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Abraham A. "A. A." Sommer (1864-1946) 1886-1893
1900-1912
Frederick C. Zeller (1820-1903) (Interim) 1889
Joel Lehman (1862-1942) 1890-1902
P. E. Penner (Interim) 1912
Samuel P. "S. P." Preheim (1881-1952) 1912-1915
Adam W. "A. W." Sommer (1885-1958) 1915-1919
Menno A. "M. A." Niswander (1878-1959) 1919-1923
Austin R. Keiser (1897-1993) 1923-1938
Arthur S. "A. S." Rosenberger (1898-1968) 1938-1948
Grover T. Soldner (Interim) 1948
Irvin E. Richert (1918-2008) 1948-1954
James R. "Jim" Reusser (1929-2017) 1954-1963
Heinz D. Janzen (1927-2011) 1963-1969
Lester Hostetler (1892-1989)(Interim) 1969-1970
Benjamin P. "Ben" Rahn (1913-2004) 1970-1977
Larry J. Wilson 1977-1987
William "Bill" Tschiegg (Interim) 1987-1988
Visiting Speakers 1988-1989
Jeff Davidson (Interim) 1989
Darrell L. Ediger (Pastor)
(Visitation)
1989-2010
2018-
Bob and Enid Schloneger (Interim) 2010-2011
Kevin S. Himes (Music)
(Pastor)
2001-2008
2011-
Hank Unruh (Family Life) 2022-

Membership at Salem Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1900 130
1909 156
1922 165
1930 220
1940 195
1950 219
1960 198
1970 225
1980 237
1990 226
2000 194
2010 205
2022 190

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Ivan L. Badertscher. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 405-406. All rights reserved.

Salem Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church), located 4 miles southwest of Dalton, Ohio, and 2½ miles northeast of Kidron, Ohio, was organized 20 May 1886, with 18 charter members, of the Sommer, Kirchhofer, Lehman, Zuercher, Moser, Steffen, Amstutz, and Geiger families, as a schism from the Sonnenberg Swiss congregation. At first the church met in the Sonnenberg schoolhouse until they were denied use of the building. They then met in an old house at the foot of Schneck Hill. Their first meetinghouse, a 30 x 40 foot building constructed across the road from the Sonnenberg schoolhouse, was dedicated on 28 November 1886. A. A. Sommer was chosen as the first regular pastor. The present building is a result of additions and four remodeling programs.

The congregation made continued additions and renovations to the church in 1895, 1936, and 1948. In 1951 the Sonnenberg schoolhouse was purchased and used as a Sunday School annex. A parsonage was built in 1972 and a new chancel was built in 1974. Further renovations were made in 1980, 1997, 2001, and 2001.

The congregation in 1957 had 204 baptized members, with James R. Reusser as minister.


Author(s) Maxine Hershberger
Date Published March 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hershberger, Maxine. "Salem Mennonite Church (Kidron, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2023. Web. 16 Jul 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Salem_Mennonite_Church_(Kidron,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=178482.

APA style

Hershberger, Maxine. (March 2023). Salem Mennonite Church (Kidron, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 July 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Salem_Mennonite_Church_(Kidron,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=178482.




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