The Evangelical Lutheran Salem Church was organized April 2, 1916 by the Rev. August P. Sater.
The first Swedish service ever held in Flint was held shortly after our first Swedish people had arrived in the city. This service was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Olof Olson, 821 Dewey St. in October 1911; 16 people were present at this service to hear Rev. Sater. The second Swedish service was held in the Oak Park M. E. church, December 5, 1916 at 3 p. m., when Rev. Sater was encouraged to see 111 people present in response to his invitations. Of these 4 were Danes, 17 Norwegians and 90 Swedes. Miss Carrie Anderson (now Mrs. Gunnar Pearson) served as organist at this service. Rev. Sater continued his visits here, the result of which was the organization of our congregation on April 2, 1916 with 50 communicant members. Mr. Olof Olson was elected secretary of the congregation. The following were elected to constitute the Church Board of Administration:
As Deacons: Adrian Anderson, Oscar Olson, Andrew Hanson, Oscar Gustafson, Gust Lindstrom and John Markstrom.
As Trustees: Jonas Sandstrom, Victor Erickson, Oscar Markstrom, Oscar Eksten, Adrian Anderson and Gust Lindstrom.
The trustees elected Victor Erickson as treasurer. Rev. Sater (then in Bay City, now in Lansing, Mich.) was engaged to hold Swedish services every other Sunday afternoon. ' The congregation then assembled in Oak Park M. E. Church on North Saginaw Street.
During the summer months of 1916 Rev. Anton Bomgren, then a student of Augustana Theological Seminary at Rock Island, Ill., was engaged. Swedish services were held every Sunday. At this time the present church-home was purchased from the St. Paul Lutheran Church for the sum of $4,500 on very favorable terms. The new congregation quickly gathered $500 among its members to make the first payment. In October, 1918, when the St. Paul Lutheran Church vacated the church for their new home, $1,500 additional was paid. Since then $250 plus interest was paid annually until the whole debt was paid in the autumn of 1923. On Mr. Bomgren's return to the theological seminary in September Dr. Johannes Telleen served the congregation for two months.
The young congregation, now ten years old, has had a steady growth—from 45 confirmed members, when Rev. Swanson came, to 237 confirmed members and 110 children today. At the beginning of this year the congregation became self-supporting. We are grateful for the financial support received from the Illinois Conference prior to this year. The congregation has made several improvements to its church property during this brief history, most of these through its organizations, such as the purchase of a piano, baptismal font, bullentin board, rugs, gas stove, etc. A wooden floor was laid in the church panor last year. Strangers remark of the attractive appearance of our church and of the home-like atmosphere felt at our meetings. We are one happy, harmonious church-family, growing as tne years go by. The various organizations in the church are active —the Sunday School, the Choir, Luther League. Dorcas Society, Woman's Missionary Society, and the Men's Sick-Benefit Society.
Of the charter-members 28 are still members of the congregation. One of these, now 85 years old, is the oldest member of the congregation. Four of the charter-members have been called away through death. Ten later members and three children have received the same final summons. They draw us closer to the Triumphant Congregation above, whither we all hope to meet and be together around our Jesus forevermore. Twenty-nine children and twenty adults have been confirmed. Eighty-one children of members have been baptized. Eighteen male and seventeen female members of the congregation have been married by the present pastor. The youngest confirmed member is 14 years of age. The average age of all the members of the congregation is 36 years. The members are thus in their very best years, and quite naturally we are looking forward with high hopes towards a bright future teeming with great achievements. In looking over the birthdays of the confirmed members we find that more members were born during the year 1892 than in any other year; the month of December finds more birthdays among the members than any other month; and more have their birthday on the 24th day of the month than on any other day. Four members were born on Christmas Eve, and therefore came as real Christmas gifts. There is a reason why our church-family is a happy one. Of the present confirmed members 110 were born in Sweden, 14 of Swedish parents in Finland, 6 in Norway, 2 in Denmark, 1 in Canada, and 104 in U. S. A. Of those born in U. S. A. 64 were born in Michigan, 12 in Illinois, 10 in Pennsylvania, 5 in Minnesota, 4 in Wisconsin, 2 each in Iowa. New Jersey and New York and 1 each in Massachusetts, Ohio and Kansas. Of those born in Michigan only one was born in Flint or Genesee County.
God has been good to us and blessed us during our first decade as a congregation. To Him be all praise and glory for blessings received and enjoyed. To Him we shall look for continued blessings as well as guidance through decades to follow. The promise of our Lord and Savior stands secure: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:20). "His truth is marching on."
1. "Historical Sketch 1916-1926", Year Book and Directory 1926, The Salem Lutheran Church, Flint, Michigan, pages 3-4.
See AlsoSalem Lutheran Church 1926 Year Book and Directory