By Peter McPherson
The “Western Reserve” is rich in early “Restoration” history. Walter Scott preached throughout this area in the early 1800’s. Churches were established in New Lisbon (now Lisbon), Warren, Youngstown, Sharon, (PA ), Salem and in many other places. Nearly all of these churches fell into digression ranging from the extreme modernism of the Disciples of Christ denomination to the somewhat less liberalism of the Christian Church. In some of these localities, sound churches of Christ were established over the years and, as history so often repeats itself, they too accepted centralized cooperative machinery and human institutions to do the work of the local church: thus “liberal” churches of Christ resulted. But once again in some of these areas doctrinally sound congregations have been planted and Salem is just one such place.
In 1962 Bill Wallace helped to start a congregation here in Salem. Bill only stayed two months. For three years the church here struggled to grow by the help of “appointment speakers” from other places (mostly Akron). Preachers that followed to date are Billy Farris, Jim Loved, Marvin Noble, Larry Chaffin, Morris Hafley and myself.
From meeting in an old budding on 2nd St. (which they literally outgrew), they moved into a lovely new meeting house in 1982 (Made largely possibly from an estate inheritance). Having extra finances because of this inheritance the church has not only been able to support their own preacher but have helped others also, as well as done local benevolent work.
The attendance is running around 80 on Lord’s day morning. With the inheritance money nearly gone, the membership has been informed that they will have to dig deeper if we will continue as a self-supporting church (the area has been financially hit hard and some of our people have had it difficult in this regard). Hopefully within a few years elders can be appointed as we have many good families developing.
Cooperation, peace and unity as well as zeal characterize this church presently. The future of this congregation looks bright as regards spiritual and numerical growth. One of our senior members, H.W. Eddy (81 years and still teaches the senior high class) has been heavy on education . . . reading material, special meetings and topics, etc., and this has contributed greatly to the work. His zeal, life and dedication have been outstanding. And because of a number of other very fine class room teachers and dedicated families, this church is what it is today . . . sound spiritually and growing.
Personal evangelism has been one of my main targets. We have been converting our young people as well as bringing in “new blood” (new families from the community). Such has not been easy . . . rather slow and discouraging at times, but progress has been made. When one contact turns sour or falls by the wayside we just look for others. I have been having about a half-dozen outside classes a week. And thus we have been baptizing one here and one there, sowing the seed and letting the Lord give the increase. The church here has mailed out about 20,000 Bible courses and from this we have converted a few.
In 1984 we had meetings with Bob Waldron (special on singing), Jim Needham (special on humanism) and Lewis Willis (special on first principles). In 1985 we will have Bob Waldron (special on Bible-Geography) and Gene Frost (special topic not yet arranged). A host of other gospel preachers have held meetings here and to them we are grateful.
One more final thing. The teenagers asked for a special class! So, on Monday nights at my home we conduct a special young people’s class. It is made up of quizzes, variety, etc. So far they have loved it. If anyone has any good, ideas along this line, let’s share, okay? We must not forget the young people . . . help them and work with them. Families must provide outside “get together” times for them also.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 7, p. 204
April 4, 1985