History of Salem Fellowship Church
Two centuries and 96 pastors later Salem is a thriving church in the 21st Century. Our history is rich in the beginnings of Methodism. Salem was one of the first Methodist Societies in Randolph County beginning in 1818 in Russell’s School House. John Wesley, an Anglican Priest in England is the founding father of Methodism. In America, Methodism was brought to different meeting houses via circuit riding preachers. One such preacher was Daniel Asbury a circuit rider from Virginia preaching at Russell’s School House as early as December 1793. Later Bishop McKendree, 4th bishop of The Methodist Episcopal Church, came and preached at the school house in 1822. That same year the first church building was built on the current property.
In 1824, Brantley York, a young local minister preached at a camp meeting held at Salem. Ten years later he preached again at Salem during its annual camp meeting services. Brantley York later founded Trinity College what is known today as Duke University. Camp Meeting was a joyous and spiritual time. Lasting a week with tents and hundreds scattered across the property of Salem, many were saved and lives changed forever.
In the winter of 1881 construction of the current church building began and was completed in the Spring that same year. Two Sunday school classes were added in 1953. In 2004, the sanctuary was updated. In 2006, a fellowship hall was added along with remodeled classrooms.
In 2004, the congregation broke from the United Methodist Conference, becoming an independent fellowship. While the congregation’s heritage had grown out of the Methodist traditions, it was clear that God was leading us from the past into a more spiritually prosperous future.
In 2012 Salem became affiliated with the Association of Independent Methodists (AIM) to be connected with other churches of like-minded faith, missions outreach and congregational support.