Salem Plankroad UCC celebrates 150th year with special service

Salem Plankroad United Church of Christ is celebrating their 150th anniversary this year.

A special worship service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 10:30 a.m. Rev. Jane Anderson, the Associate Conference Minister, will be the guest speaker.

A meal will follow the service, and displays showing the history of the church will be available for viewing. The public is invited to participate in these events.

According to authentic oral traditions, the beginning of this church dates back to about the year 1860. However, the first written record is from 1867, so that is considered to be the year of the congregation’s organization.

The first group consisted of German families that formed an “Evangelical Church.” At first services were held in private homes.

In 1868 they bought three acres of land and a building which was moved to that land. It is believed that the building had been a cheese factory. That building was replaced in 1891. In 1869 a parsonage was built which is currently still there. Both buildings have gone through extensive remodeling over the years.

The first pastor of whom there is record is Rev. J. H. Bierbaum, who served until 1874.

The earliest list of members indicates 44 men’s names which indicates that women did not vote at the time. When they attended services, the men sat on one side and the women on the other.

In those early days many of the people walked to church while others used horses. The horses were tied to posts or else placed in one of several horses barns that were there.

Many changes have occurred over the last 150 years. At one time it was part of the Reformed Church, and later as an Evangelical and Reformed Church. In 1961 it changed to United Church of Christ.

Today the church is a family centered church that looks forward to planning for the future.

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