Our History

In March of 1954, Rev. T.A. Robertson and Rev. Guy Terpe visited Harry and Constance Gough in their home and asked them to start a Wesleyan Methodist Church in Salem, Ohio. They began to search for a suitable building, but there seemed none to be found. But one day when Brother Gough was making a home delivery of his bleach product, he noticed the building of the Hughes Pottery Plant at 545 W. Pershing St. He decided to ask one of the neighbors about it and was told the owner might want to give up the business. They were able to get in contact with the owner of the building, Mrs. Richard Fenstermaker who showed them through the building and offered to rent it to them. At first the rent seemed high, but help was given from churches of the Canton District of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Converting a Pottery Plant into a church involved a lot of hard work. The back of the building had a big overhead door that trucks used to back through to bring in the clay materials. It had to be taken out and a new wall built. One Wesleyan Methodist family felt led to give a good donation of money which went a long way in the buying of chairs, electrical fixtures, curtains, paint and other materials. Used chairs were purchased from the Greenford High School. These same chairs were last seen years later and still in use at the New Franklin Wesleyan Methodist Academy. The first pulpit is of great interest. It used to be a large floor model radio. It was converted into a nice pulpit. It was later used in the Teen/College Sunday School Class of the church. Presently, it is stored in the attic above the nursery.

The first service was held on Sunday September 19th, 1954. That beautiful sunny day 22 persons were in attendance. In the evening, 21 were present. The Goughs, who conducted the first Sunday service in the newly formed Wesleyan Methodist Church at 545 W. Pershing St., reported that the response was very encouraging.

Sunday School convened at 9:45 a.m. under the direction of Charlotte Thomas, superintendent, and after the lesson period, Mrs. Thomas gave an interesting flannelgraph talk. Olive Driver, cradle roll superintendent, reported four names enrolled.

Appointed church treasurer was Kenneth Thomas.

An orchestra, which played for both services, was comprised of Daniel and John Gough and Ruth and Elizabeth Hawkins. In the evening, Gayle Parker of W. Pershing St. played her violin and the Hawkins sisters sang.

On May 12, 1957 the church was organized by Rev. H.C. Van Wormer with fifteen charter members.