Church: Dorchester, Salem Methodist (1882-1973)

Contact: Janet



----Source: Historical Sketches of Dorchester, Wisconsin.


Dorchester, Salem United Methodist Church (1882-1973)


Dorchester, Wis. Salem United Methodist Church


In the year of our Lord 1882, the Salem Evangelical congregation of Dorchester was organized to forward the Kingdom of God. The organization took place in a log school house located one block east of the present church site the Rev. William Kolander serving as pastor. Charter members were Mr. and Mrs. Herman Will, Mr. and Mrs. John Reimer, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Buzer, Mr. and Mrs. G. F. Schmidt, Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Schmidt and George Mueller. Officers elected were: G. F. Schmidt, class leader board of trustees: John Reimer, president A. F. Schmidt, secretary G. F. Schmidt, treasurer.

In 1883 logs were hauled to the mill and a church was constructed. The early pastors were Rev. Charles Berg, C. W. Wilson, Otto Berofsky, Sam Erfmeyer and G. H. Goetz.

Dorchester was then taken into the Marshfield Mission, and was served from there. The ministers were A. Lutz, D. Schneider, A. W. Zillmer, F. Nehs, Jacob Schmeller and John Marks. During the pastorate of Marks the Marshfield Mission was divided, giving Dorchester a separate pastor.

An addition to the church to accommodate the Sunday School was built during the pastorate of the next pastor, Rev. W. W. Kreuger. Following him were Pastors G. L. Bursack, E. W. Marks, P. F. Walters, L. G. Thiel, James LaCount, R. Browe, V. Miller and Rev. G. T. Vieth.

In 1946 the church united with the United Brethren in Christ Church and became Evangelical United Brethren church. Upon retirement of Rev. Vieth, whose son Reuben is a present member of the congregation, Rev. Harold Welch became pastor in 1952. Rev. Sherman Bushendorf and Rev. L. L. McCormick were the next pastors serving.

Over the years remodeling and many changes were made to the church, including stained glass windows to add to the beauty of worship.

In 1966 all Evangelical United Brethren churches united with all Methodist churches. The Dorchester church became the United Methodist Church.

Early pastors of the church resided in the Peace Parsonage, being rented until 1936. That year the home of R. Krause, Jr. was purchased and served as parsonage until 1945. In that year, during the pastorate of Rev. Miller the present parsonage was purchased. Rev. Henry Bahrenburg is the present pastor. Organizations of the church are the Sunday School, Youth Fellowship and United Methodist Women.


(Note - Following is additional information provided by Crystal Ludwig; church email address -  )


Church history from 1882 to 2006

Under the leadership of Rev. William Kolander, the Salem Evangelical congregation was organized in 1882 at a meeting held in a log school house one block east of the site where the present church now stands for the "promotion of the Protestant witness among the German speaking residents of the community". Charter members were: M/M Herman Will, M/M John Reimer, M/M Jacob Buzer, M/M G. F. Schmidt, George Mueller, and M/M A. F. Schmidt. The congregation was part of the Marshfield mission and services were held in the school house until a church building was erected in 1883. Between 1906 and 1911, the congregation separated from the Marshfield mission and became an independent congregation. Since then the "little white church" had usually been part of a two or three point charge, sharing pastors with churches from Athens, Holway, Chili, Rib Lake and Medford. In 1911, the first organization to be formed was the Ladies' Aid. The objectives were to promote God's kingdom, to promote love of Christian service and to aid the church in its financial
responsibilities. In 1946, a merger of the Evangelical Association and The United Brethern in Christ Churches was consummated on a world-wide basis, creating the Evangelical United Brethern Church. In 1968, the Evangelical United Brethern Church united with The Methodist Church and the church became the Salem United Methodist Church. In 1988, a joint venture and/or partnership was entered into between The United Methodist Church of Medford, The United Methodist Church of Rib Lake and The Salem United Methodist Church of Dorchester, thus the creation of the Medford Charge. In 1999, The United Methodist Church of Rib Lake separated from the Medford Charge, leaving the Medford and Dorchester churches as part of the current two point charge.

Changes to the building

The original building was erected in 1883. Between 1911 and 1915, a Sunday school room was added on the south side of the building thus changing the spire and the main entrance. In the summer of 1931, building improvements included reshingling the roof and painting the exterior, redecorating the interior and constructing a balcony in the Sunday school room. Additional improvements were made from 1950-1952 to the basement, installation of a new heating system, a new stained glass window, a new automatic furnace and an electric ,rgan. In 1973, a new entry was added to the east side of the building as well as a ceramic mosaic which covered the original east window in the sanctuary. Through memorial contributions, a public address system was installed. In 1982, the building was resided, a new roof was installed and a new electric piano, a Christ candle with stand and banner was purchased.

In 1936, a parsonage was rented from the Peace Church but later that year property, one block west of the church, was purchased for a parsonage. In 1945, the present parsonage just north of the church was purchased. This house is no longer a parsonage and is used as rental property.


List of pastors from 1882 to Present

1882 Charles Barker

1887 O. H. P. Smith

1890 H. B. Brenneman

1893 J. W. Speer

1901 W. F. DeLap

1903 P. J. Stair

1905 S. W. Ingham

1906 J. A. Hall

1907 R. D. Dunn

1910 John I. Sainty

1912 J. Wilkenson

1913 J. B. Gibson

1914 Thomas Haris

1916 J. F. Morgan

1918 J. H. Chatterson

1920 Nelson J. Alderson

1923 David LaVinn

1926 James A. Moats

1930 Donald Mills

1933 Peter Holms

1935 Calvin Graves

1936 A. Langendorff

1942 Henry Halverson

1949 Douglas K. Marks

1957 Gordon Welch

1962 William Warner

1967 Henry Bahrenburg, Jr.

1974 Ray Gurney

1976 Clem Dozer

1982 James Rowlette

1987 Bob Linaberry Charis

1994 Calmer Overlien (interim)

1994 Terry Erickson

1997 Henry H. Hall

1999 Irving W. Case

2006 Dennis E. Govier

2009 Dr. Clem Dozer (interim)

2009 Michael Adedoken

2012 Kyochul Shin

2016 Angel Rosario



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