There is nothing like going to a place where everyone is welcoming and there are many happy faces and delightful moments to make you feel like you’re at home.
“The Old Salem Church brings out the best of everyone who attends,” one community member shared.
Built in 1885, Old Salem Church has also been known as the Salem Methodist Church, Meadow Creek Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church. Its sign on the front door, “Old Salem Church,” certainly holds true.
Jean Bradley consistently organizes the annual picnic with the help of many who tend to different parts of the planning, which include: mowing, cleaning the church, decorating and making sure the Johnny house is ready as well as the afternoon program. The smorgasbord of food always seems to overflow the tables.
“I am sorry this is late getting out to each of you; but as many may already know, my brother, Sam passed away August 3, 2018,” Jean Bradley recently shared. “I was part of his care team when he came home from the hospital on March 1.”
“The first service was probably held in 1885, the year the building was finished, and the deed was written giving ownership to the church,” Bradley, an active member of the church since she was a small girl, added.
Over the last several years, there has been much work completed on and in the church. “On August 2000, those who still loved the little brick church got together and decided to start repairs so the church could once again have services inside,” Bradley said. “For some time the interior of the church was in such bad shape that services had to be held under the trees or under the picnic pavilion.”
Today, the church has a new ceiling, refinished floors, new windows, new paint job and a new piano – just to name a few.
The homecomings and annual picnics have been going on since the 1970s after it was closed as an active church. Bradley has been spearheading the yearly organization since 2001.
The charming little church, located approximately six miles west of New Castle, on Route 42 on Cumberland Gap Road, will open its doors to yet another homecoming potluck picnic and get-together this Sunday.
“The potluck picnic begins at 1 p.m., and everyone is encouraged to attend so bring a dish and enjoy the day,” Bradley said.
After everyone enjoys their time of eating and fellowship, they are encouraged to go into the church for some special music at 2:30 p.m. by Junior Christian, Robyn Foster and Rob Givens.
There are still two services, which are held each year (weather permitting). The third Sunday in August is Homecoming, and the first Sunday in December is the Annual Christmas Candlelight Service.
“I am sure we will have a good time as we always do, so please come and share this day with everyone,” Bradley said. “It may be quickly put together, but I’m sure everyone will leave feeling blessed.”