(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church will celebrate 150 years of sharing the good news of Jesus with the people of Owosso with special services on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 8 and 10:30 a.m.
During the late 1850s, a number of Lutheran families settled in the Owosso area. In 1861, a missionary and circuit riding pastor from the Michigan Synod was assigned to come three times a year to meet with them. The first meeting was held in the Exchange Hotel in Owosso in 1862. On Nov. 8, 1867, this Lutheran society purchased a small frame building and the property where the current church resides from Mr. and Mrs. L Struber for $850.
On Sept. 13, 1869, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Owosso was formed under the leadership of Pastor Johann Haas.
On July 9, 1893, the cornerstone of the current church was laid. Pastor Paul Kionka was the pastor at the time. The 46-foot by 80-foot church was dedicated on Dec. 17, 1893. The bricks used to build the church were from the Frieseke foundry (Mr. Herman Frieseke was a member of Salem). The high steeple was destroyed during the Nov. 11, 1911 tornado that did extensive damage to parts of Owosso. A new, shorter steeple was erected.
In 1948, the Owosso Lutheran Hour began broadcasting on WOAP. The service aired for 50 years before being off air for a short period of time. The Owosso Lutheran Hour is now broadcast each Sunday at 10 a.m. on Z92.5 the Castle.
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church has had many updates in her 150 years. An educational wing was added to the back of the church in 1964. The interior of the church went through changes in 1964, as well. The pipe organ was moved from the front of the church up into the balcony and the chancel area was completely revamped. The walls and ceiling of the sanctuary were hand-painted in 1977. An elevator, with access to the main church floor and basement, was added in December 2001. The front steps were completely redone and taken back to the original platform design in 2002.
Pastor Jonathan Balge will be the guest pastor on
Sept. 8. Pastor Balge served at Salem from 1990 through 2002. Everyone is invited to the celebration services.