Salem Methodist Epis­co­pal Church plans homecoming

Record Observer - - Religion -

CENTREVILLE — The 81st An­nual Homecoming Ser­vices will be held in Salem Methodist Epis­co­pal Church on Mary­land Route 213, four miles north of Centreville, on Sun­day, Sept. 11. The church will ob­serve the 188th an­niver­sary of the re­port to the 1828 An­nual Con­fer­ence of the found­ing of a Methodist Class in the Salem com­mu­nity af­ter a re­vival was held there in 1827.

At that time, form­ing a Methodist Class was the first step in found­ing a lo­cal church. The church was closed for reg­u­lar ser­vices dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion, and the an­nual Homecoming Ser­vices were be­gun in 1935. The church is open only this one day ev­ery year. There is no con­gre­ga­tion for the church, but for­mer mem­bers, their chil­dren and friends still gather each year on the sec­ond Sun­day in Septem­ber to hold Homecoming.

At 2 p.m. there will be an old­fash­ioned Song Ser­vice and Tes­ti­mony Meet­ing. The Tes­ti­mony Meet­ing will be opened by Henry Conving­ton Sr., a church trus­tee. The singing of clas­sic re­vival hymns and spir­i­tual songs will be di­rected by Nancy Cook, the di­rec­tor of mu­sic at Centreville United Methodist Church. The or­gan­ist will be Robert Payne from Sal­is­bury.

The af­ter­noon Preach­ing Ser­vice will be held at 3 p.m. The Rev. K. Wayne Grier, a re­tired El­der in the Penin­sula-Delaware Con­fer­ence, will preach dur­ing the af­ter­noon ser­vice. Grier was pas­tor of the Centreville United Methodist Church for a num­ber of years. De­ceased for­mer mem­bers and friends of Salem Church will be re­mem­bered by name dur­ing this ser­vice.

Salem M.E. Church is one of the old­est sur viv­ing Methodist meet­ing houses in Queen Anne’s County and was built in 1845. There are ap­prox­i­mately 90 graves in its ceme­tery, but many are not marked by tomb­stones. Much ef­fort has gone into com­pil­ing a record of the buri­als in the church ceme­tery and the names on the list now ac­count for al­most ev­ery grave.

The build­ing’s in­te­rior has hardly changed since the church was closed in the 1930s, and the build­ing and its ceme­tery are lov­ingly cared for by for­mer mem­bers of the church and their de­scen­dants. Be­cause it was closed as part of the for­mer Wilm­ing­ton Con­fer­ence of the M.E. Church be­fore the 1939 Uni­fi­ca­tion of the three for­mer Methodist Church de­nom­i­na­tions and be­fore the 1966 Merger of the Methodist Church with the Evan­gel­i­cal United Brethren Church, Salem Church has never been af­fil­i­ated with the Penin­sula-Delaware Con­fer­ence of the United Methodist Church.

Salem Church Homecoming ser­vices are al­ways held on the sec­ond Sun­day in Septem­ber and are among the first in a se­ries of Home­com­ings held on Sun­day af­ter­noons in Methodist Churches ev­ery fall in Queen Anne’s County.

A cor­dial wel­come is ex­tended to any­one who would like to join the friends of Salem Church in this once-yearly wor­ship ser­vice and to see a glimpse of Methodist his­tory in this area.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Arthur Leiby at 410-648-5586.

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