News

NEW SALEM CHURCH CELEBRATES 225TH ANNIVERSARY

Posted September 13, 2022

New Salem Church, near Midland, Pennsylvania, is a thriving, small country church filled with history. Founded in 1797, the history goes back to the time of our nation’s birth. The first president of the United States was busy making important decisions to establish a new government.

Also, President Washington, having visited this area earlier in his life, was well aware of the unsafe conditions that existed on the northwest side of the Ohio River. He took steps to protect the frontier settlers from the Indians by convincing Congress to provide a trained army in 1794. General Anthony Wayne was appointed by the president to train the army well before he led it against the Indians who had been the first inhabitants on the northwest and south sides of the Ohio River. The success of the army helped to make it safer for families to move into the area.

In 1797, a handful of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians found their way from Westmoreland County, PA to what is now known as Ohioville, Pennsylvania. Fond memories of the Salem Church in Westmoreland of which they were members probably led them to call their new church by the name, New Salem, which is of Old testament origin.

At a meeting of the Presbytery of Ohio at Chartiers church near Canonsburg, PA in 1796, the Reverends John McMillin and Thomas Marquis, the 5th great grandfather of current Pastor Jeff Marquis, were appointed to supply on the northwest of River Ohio two Sundays a month. At the beginning services were held in a tent, but then the land where the church currently is located was donated and a rough-hewed log church was built. 

The current building was reoriented due to widening of the road in 1957 and set on a basement. Eventually the basement was concreted and restrooms were added. In 2007, the upstairs had a major renovation. The original pews were removed and new carpet and pews were installed. Some of the old pews were bought by church members for use in their homes, but not before many were refurbished, planed down, and sanded to be made into wainscoting that still graces the sanctuary. The basement was also finished allowing offices to be added and the kitchen remodeled. 

In 2018, an elevator, a much-needed and much appreciated improvement, was installed in a new addition to the basement entryway. In 2019, air conditioning was added making the building much more comfortable in the hot summer months.

In 2020 during the COVID 19 pandemic, Pastor, Jeff Marquis, kept in touch with the church family via the internet. Bible Studies and Sunday morning worship services were attended virtually on FaceBook. Music Director, Mike Nelson, contributed recorded music to the services. 

The church’s “one call” phone system sends out prayer concerns and information about upcoming events to the congregation. A weekly newsletter keeps members informed.

New Salem Church has a “Porch Pantry” to reach out to the community by providing canned goods and non-perishables for anybody in need of them. Characteristically, members have kept the pantry well stocked.

New Salem Church is celebrating 225 years of worshiping our Lord and Savior. A special service was held on Sunday, September 11 with guest speakers, special music from the Street Side Saints and the sharing of the items from the 200th anniversary time capsule. On the Saturday before, a Fall Festival also celebrated the anniversary with a car and tractor cruise. Other activities included a cake walk, apple pie contest, craft vendors and food.

The devotion of the past members established New Salem Church as a registered Historical Landmark with Beaver County. Down through the years, the strong foundation of the church’s forefathers remains The Bible. Members can be proud of their hard work and dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ by keeping up old traditions and advancing into the modern world to share their inherited faith to future generations.

Beaver-Butler Presbytery congratulates New Salem Church on 225 years of ministry.