Salem-Berne United Methodist Church, a small church standing atop a hill at 292 Salem Church Road in Tilden Township, will be commemorating its founding history by holding two special services on Sunday, May 16.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary, the first service will commence at 10:30 a.m. with worship in the sanctuary. The second celebration will take place outdoors at 2 p.m. with music and a message from Bishop Peggy A. Johnson of the Eastern Pa. U.M. Conference.
Salem-Berne’s roots trace back to prayer meetings led by Benjamin Altenderfer in 1848. Inspired by the Holy Scriptures and prayer, many became followers realizing a need for change in their spiritual lives. Through revivals and prayer meetings over the next 23 years the numbers grew in their belief of true salvation, which at that time was frowned upon by the teachings of other pastors.
In March of 1871 a decision was agreed upon to build their own church and be associated with the United Brethren in Christ. In April of 1871 a two-story structure was built on land donated by John A. Loose. Unfortunately in 1906 the structure had become unsafe and was razed. This led to the erection of the current church building which included a Sunday school annex. Many of the bricks from the first building were cleaned by hand by the women of the church and reused in the rebuilding of their new church.
The year 1946 was the beginning of mergers and several name changes until the church was finally incorporated under the name of Salem-Berne United Methodist Church in 1985. Prior to 1987 the church shared pastors with Salem United Methodist Church in Shoemakersville. The Rev. Thomas W. Albert was the first to serve Salem-Berne as a single charge.
Over the years many building improvements were made. By 1944 the “wagon wheel” of kerosene lamps suspended from the ceiling of the sanctuary was replaced with electricity. Indoor plumbing was added in 1977. With the completion of a parking lot in 1984, parishioners no longer had to park their vehicles along the wrought iron fence in front of the church which still serves as a landmark today. And in 1986 an addition was built to house more Sunday school rooms, a fellowship hall and kitchen.
The church has been host to numerous community events. Just a few examples are the car show, pot-pie dinners, trunk or treat, and vacation bible school.
From its United Brethren beginnings until the present day, this church and congregation have been continuing to move forward with the message of salvation and exemplify a welcoming fellowship of faith, prayer, praise and service.
Come share in the celebration and view Salem-Berne’s history through artifacts, photos, interviews and conversations. CDC regulations apply for this event.