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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, Wayne Derber. Currently, the Salem Pastor is Rev. John Rothfusz. 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






800 Original Building Photo

The original building (1908-1956)



 800 Architect drawing of the current building 1956

 Architect drawing of the current building, 1956



800 Service of entry into the current building 1956   note dirt road

Service of entry into the current building, 1956



800 Current building with additions

Current building with additions

 Blue Calendar 150

 Truncated Salem Church 300

 gods work


NI Synod 200

newsletter 200

 pastor 200


Copyright 2024 Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church

1022 North Main Street - PO Box 105, Sandwich, Illinois, 60548. 815-786-9308