Our church was founded in 1836, one year after the town of North Salem, Indiana was chartered. It all began when a small group of settlers met in the house of Charles and Mary Fleece. The church was chartered by the following members and their wives: Charles Fleece, John Zimmerman, Smith Russell, and George Givens. Members met at each others homes until a place of worship could be constructed. The first church was a simple log structure,16x24. The building had no pulpit. Seating was rude, slab benches. It was lit only by sunlight through the windows covered with greased paper.
First service held was believed to be on July 30, 1837. The first minister of the church was Nathan Waters, while the first elders were Charles Fleece and Thompson Farmer. This building was used until the early 1840's.
A low small framed church built in town replaced this building out in the country. It was built with a pulpit and better seating. This building was lit by candles. It also served as a school and one of the ministers P.T. Russell, was a teacher.
They did not always have regular preaching, but did have services when a preacher was in town. In the 1850's the church experienced a three year decline. Then in 1854 the plans for a new church were developed. On June 21,1854 Absalom and Martha E. Hurt deeded the land to the trustees of the Church of God for $150. This is the same lot where the church stands today.
Urban C. Brewer, a teen at the time, preached the first sermon in this new church while it was still under construction, even with saw dust still on the ground. His boyhood days were spent in the community and with encouragement of good brethren, and he later became a minister, being one of many visiting ministers in the years to come. In 1859, with his help, several members were added to the church. The first regular minister employed by the church was Oliver P. Badger. His ministry began the second Sunday of 1864. Another influential member of the church was Jacob H. Fleece. He served the church longer as an official than anyone has to date. He served more than half a century characterized by patience, tact, and Christian ideals. He died in 1910 leaving behind a service as an elder for over 50 years.
During this time span preaching days increased from once a month to twice a month to finally full time. In 1903 the wood frame building was replaced by a brick building. Lelah Duncan, a member of the church, remembered the wood structure was moved into the street so church services could continue during construction. Construction of the new building was completed in the fall of 1903. A dedication service was held on Nov 1, 1903. Zach T. Sweeney of Columbus, preached the dedication sermon, a great day in the history of the church.
In 1914, Sunday School rooms were added in the basement. In 1927, the basement was remodeled to meet increasing needs for Sunday School. Later plans were created, by the building committee which was appointed by the board, to add an education and social unit to rear of church.
In 1936 the church celebrated 100 years.
On July 22, 1956 the church broke ground for a new education building and fellowship hall. These were dedicated on July 27, 1958 and included a pastor's office, Sunday School rooms, nursery, kitchen and a large all purpose fellowship hall. On July 17, 1967 the new church parsonage was dedicated after its construction in 1966. This parsonage was paid for by people working together to farm available land. The remaining indebtedness was paid off by a generous gift at the death of Murty Kent. The church celebrated it's Sesquicentennial in 1986.
A sad day in the history of the church and the hearts of everyone came on Feb 24, 2002, when the 99 year old building was destroyed by fire. According to officials, the fire started due to faulty wiring in the sanctuary and quickly spread throughout. All that remained was the bell tower as it stands today. Construction on the new building began in the fall of 2002. The basement of the old building was filled in and a one story building was erected with access to all. Construction of the new worship facility and multipurpose room was completed a year later with the first service being held on Nov 23, 2003.
This service was signaled by the ringing of the 100-year-old-bell. The years have brought on hardships, but most importantly, progress, but through it all the members carry on. This is not only a place to worship, to develop friendships, and to share the love we have for God, but also a place to call every member, family.