Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church History


A Brief History


Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church – Jarrettsville

Salem was incorporated as a mission congregation of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) on October 27, 1967, and was begun as a daughter congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sweet Air, MD.  Rev. Partee Bollock, who was pastor of St. John’s in 1967, recently (summer 2015) noted that he had suggested the name “Salem” for the new church because of the former German congregation of the same name that had existed about 1 mile north of the new Salem Lutheran.  That older congregation has been designated as “Lutheran” on some old maps from the 1800’s, but apparently was affiliated during much of its existence with the local Methodists according to some accounts.

Pastor Wayne M. Dornbirer II was called to serve as the first pastor of Salem in May 1968.  Together with parish worker Joan Christman, he visited families in the Jarrettsville area to invite them to this new congregation.  The first pastoral act was conducted in September 1968, and the first service was celebrated on October 13, 1968., at Jarrettsville Elementary School.  The congregation was formally organized on February 9, 1969.

As the congregation grew, the Salem Lutheran Children Center was established in 1974 as a nursery school, and was later expanded to include a day care center with before and after school care for elementary school students.  Over the years, the program has grown and in recent school years has provided care and instruction for about 200 students.

Just as Salem had begun as an ALC mission congregation and daughter of St. John’s, Salem became the “parent” of another congregation.  Salem’s request that ALC form in mission congregation in the Delta/Cardif area was accepted and Jerusalem Lutheran was formed in 1979 with 20 Salem families as the nucleus.  Then-Pastor Lindsay served both congregations for two years.  In 1983, Holy Communion Lutheran Church was formed as an ALC mission congregation in Falston and 25 Salem families transferred there.


8/22/68  –  1/1/72               Wayne M. Dornbirer, II

8/25/72  –  8/25/92             William L. Lindsay

7/11/93  –  3/6/11               David H. Myers

1/1/12  –  7/2/17                 Bette Jeanne Larsen

1/2/19 – present                  Betty Lou Deuchler

Church Facility

Ground was broken for the original sanctuary on April 28, 1968.  The building was dedicated on May 18, 1969.

Ground-breaking for the educational wing was on March 20, 1977.  The new building was dedicated on November 22, 1978.  Since that time there have been at least two additions and other modifications to the church and educational complex.

Salem Lutheran Children Center (SLCC)

Salem first began its outreach to the children of the Jarrettsville community in September 1973 when the congregation voted to establish a nursery school, which opened in the fall of 1974.  In 1981 Salem added the Daycare Ministry to its Children Center program.   SLCC now provides education and day care to about 200 children during the school year, and conducts a variety of summer programs for children in the area.