Brief History of Salem Lutheran Church
MOUNT VERNON, WASHINGTON
Compiled by Bob Hart
1881 – Bethsaida Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church organized at the Olof Polson home. Missionary Pastor Peter Carlson conducted the first services. Grandparents of Rodney Olson and Al Polson were original members.
1892 – The Besthsaida congregation built their church at Pleasant Ridge.
1903 – Pastor G. A. Anderson was called as the first permanent Pastor.
1907 – Bethesda Congregation was formed in Cedardale of Swedish-Finnish pioneers. Pastor Anderson served this congregation also with the assistance of Pastor N. J. W. Nelson.
1913 – Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded. Members of the Bethesda congregation voted to become charter members. Pastor G. A. Anderson was first Pastor.
1917 – First English language service at Salem on the last Sunday of each month. Earlier, all services were in Swedish. Pastor G. K. Andeen joined Salem as Pastor.
1918 – Salem purchased property at Third and Snoqualmie Street, and began construction of church. All services were held either at the Norwegian Lutheran Church or Bethesda Hall.
1919 – First worship services were conducted in the basement of the new church.
1920 – The new parsonage was built.
1922 – Pastor M.L. Swanson was called as Pastor for Salem.
1923 – The church sanctuary was built.
1925 – Twenty- five members of Bethsaida on Pleasant Ridge transferred to Salem in April. By the end of the year Bethsaida had merged with Salem, bringing an additional 55 members.
1929 – Pastor Carl Lund became Pastor at Salem.
1936 – Last regular Swedish language service was conducted at Salem.
1943 – Pastor Oliver Nelson was installed as Pastor at Salem.
During this time the Education Building was built, the basement was renovated and enlarged, and the sanctuary was redecorated. A Boy Scout program was begun and a radio ministry was initiated.
1955 – Pastor Roland Swanson was called to serve Salem.
1956 – Ten interns served the congregation until 1967.
1968 – Janice Howell became the first full-time church secretary. Ruth Jensen-Norman became the second parish worker.
1973 – After Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church merged to form the Lutheran Church in America, our first lay congregational President, Dr. Earl Cammock, was elected.
1977 – Pastor Walter Boss was installed as Pastor at Salem.
1978 – Rev. Gordon Young was called to serve as Associate Pastor.
1982 – Deaconess Karen Waschkies joined the Salem team and became Associate Pastor in 1986.
1985 –Pastor Dean Wigstrom is installed as Pastor at Salem. During this time Salem decides to seek a new site for Salem’s ministry. Bill Franklin becomes organist.
1992 – Revs. Lewis and Debra Benson join Salem in a team ministry as Associate Pastors.
1994 – Salem purchases property at Hoag and LaVenture Road.
1996 –Construction begins on new church. Thirty families transfer from Trinity Lutheran. Scott Rittenhouse becomes choir director.
1997 – First services held at new sanctuary in December.
1999 – Mary Pat Lorente becomes Church Secretary.
2000 – Pastor Kevin Forquer installed as Pastor at Salem. Dennis Jensen takes lead of Youth programs.
2002 –First Life Keys training is held.
October, 2008 – Pastor Jennifer Schultz joins Salem staff as Associate Pastor.
2013—Salem proudly celebrates 100 years of ministry in Mount Vernon and looks to the future with faith and confidence.
August, 2016 - Pastor Marc Hander joins Salem staff as Pastor