Salem Church to hold first ice cream social in 30 years

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 8/4/98.

The brick church north of Paynesville will be hosting Salem Fest on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8 and 9.

The Salem Church celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. This year for its 101st anniversary, they have added a traditional ice cream social on Saturday, Aug. 8.

The ice cream social will begin at 5 p.m. on the church grounds. The traditional full meal (barbeque hamburgers, beans, potato salad, canteloupe, ice cream, fruit pies) and refreshments.

Included in the entertainment will be the GUM puppets from the Grace United Methodist Church and the Northern Lights, with LeRoy Miller on piano, Charlie Sparks on drums, Clark Budd on trumbone, Al Sogge on banjo, Louie Eichhorst on accordian, and Art Voss on guitar. Vocalist with the group is Elaine Boyd.

At 8 p.m. Salem: A Story of a Country Church will be presented, followed by an evening with documentary narrator Bill Holm, of Pioneer Public Television. The author will read from his works, tell stories, play the piano and sing.

Admission is free to the ice cream social and program, however, a ďfree- will offeringĒ will be taken for the Salem Church Building Restoration Fund. Documentary producers will also be present for the filmís presentation.

ďIt has been more than 30 years since Salem has held an ice cream social,Ē Curt Wegner, former member and organizer of the event, said. ďCustoms have changed over the years. The ice cream social used to be held after 8 p.m. when farmers were through with chores. Today, we get started at 5 p.m. and wrap things up around 8 p.m.,Ē he added.

On Sunday, Aug. 9, the annual potluck dinner will be held with a program at 2 p.m. Taking part in the afternoon program are: Lon Moon, Marshall, emcee, Rev. LaVern Snyder from Kentucky, Linda Liestman with a musical number, Carolyn Lauer with a religious pantomime, Bill Schultz and Carol Heitke performing a duet, a menís chorus, Senior Citizenís Harmonica Band under the direction of Bill Schultz and a choir consisting of former church members and friends under the direction of Carolyn Swyter, and accompanist, Myrtle Liestman.

The two programs are set to help raise funds to restore the old church structure. Men have been busy remodeling the basement this summer with new ceilings, wiring, and more. Since the centennial program, new furnaces were installed.

ďThere has been a lot of structural damage to the building over 100 years. Our first priority was to restore the foundation,Ē Wegner said. The church still needs to be tuck pointed and the belfry reinforced.

Salem was the first Evangelical church to be built in the Paynesville area. Members of the Salem congregation were close knit and have kept the church going since its closing in 1967. Salem Fest has been held at the church on a yearly basis, bringing together former members and friends of the congregation.

The Bob and Diane Lieser family have kept the lawns mowed at the church all summer. Tending to the flowers around the church have been Doris Monson, Delores Heitke and others.

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