Mar 18, 2024 | John W. Coleman

Salem UMC in Orwigsburg is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024. Organized as Salem Evangelical Church with its first 24 members in 1824, the church grew through several denominational mergers until it became Salem United Methodist in 1968.

For its bicentennial, new pastor the Rev. ShinAe Kim and North District Superintendent the Rev. Dr. Hun Ju Lee–both from South Korea–led the steadily growing congregation and guests in celebrative worship and a well-attended kick-off birthday party. Salem has also joined neighboring churches for worship during Lent, hosting the services twice.

Participants in Salem UMC Orwigsburg’s Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural ministry training

About 15 members participated in the church’s recent Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural ministry training, led by the Rev. Beverly Andrews and Mert Shane of the Commission on Religion & Race. “It was such a great training, and I’m hoping they will develop a future Laity Academy class that would apply to any congregation,” said Brenda Binns, “because we all have preconceived ideas about ourselves, our congregations and our community members.” 

Other events planned for the year include opening the 175th Time Capsule, Worship in the Woods, a picnic, block party, open house, celebration dinner and the church’s first-ever participation in Orwigsburg’s popular Holly Trail tour of Christmas venues in December. “We are grateful for God’s grace and mercy,” said church leaders, “for our 200 years of service to His Kingdom on Earth.” Visit Salem’s website.