A Brief History
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church
On April 20, 1904, twenty Swedish immigrants chartered Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Salem Parish in Sandwich, Illinois. Membership grew in spite of a lack of a permanent church building and an irregular schedule of worship services. A building on Second Street in Sandwich was purchased in 1908. A variety of pastors who served Grace Lutheran Church in Aurora presided over occasional worship services. In 1949 the first full-time pastor was called, the congregation changed its legal name to Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sandwich, Illinois; and a parsonage was purchased. Ground was broken at Main Street and Pleasant Avenue in 1956 for the building which presently houses the congregation. An education wing was added to the building during the 1960’s. Another extensive building addition and renovation was completed in 2008.
Salem has been served over the years by full-time pastors Theodore Peterson, Howard Palm, Palmer Nestander, Edvin Holmer, Arne Peterson, Philip Lund, Gregory Mayer, Carol Gates and Wayne Derber. Following Pastor Derber’s retirement in 2021, the congregation is currently seeking a new pastor through the call process. Throughout its history, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church has maintained its association with Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church (1904-1960), Lutheran Church in America (1962-1987), and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1988-present).
Our Church Buildings
The original building (1908-1956)
Architect drawing of the current building, 1956
Service of entry into the current building, 1956
Current building with additions