In 1871, a small group of Swedish settlers came to Kandiyohi county and decided it was important to have a place to gather and worship. The first of these settlers was John Rodman from Varmland, Sweden. John Rodman gathered the new settlers together and built a church in an oak grove on the shore of a lake and named it Mamre Lund.
Later, John Rodman joined another church being organized by the veteran Covenant preacher, J.G. Sjoquist and this church was called Salem. But in order to not drive so far to church, John Rodman began organizing another church just two miles east of his homestead and called this place Lundby.
Nils Frykman served both Salem and Lundby (as well as 3 others) for many years. He arrived in the area to be the Pastor of the Salem circuit in 1889. Besides helping lead many people to Christ, some of the greatest hymns were written during Frykman's time of ministry at Salem. One most notably being "I Have a Friend Who Loveth Me", written in twenty minutes during Frykmans drive home.
These hardy pioneers withstood many hardships in those early years and exemplified perseverance and dedication in their effort to establish this church on the prairie of Mamre township.
I have a friend who loveth me.
He gave His life on Calvary;
Upon the cross my sins He bore,
And I am saved forever more.
At the time of Salem's centennial, a Pioneer Memorial plaque was included in the front sign of Salem Covenant. It reads:
" In grateful memory of those courageous men and women who crossed a thousand miles of storm-tossed ocean, subdued a frontier wilderness, and forged a living faith in the fires of adversity and those kindred souls who followed them in like precious faith giving substance to their dreams and shaping a holy heritage of spiritual life
for the church of tomorrow."
"Today the old country church is now but a fading memory in the shadow of the imposing house of worship that arrests the view of all who pass by. The spire reaching heavenward extends a welcome to the community and claims for miles around that Salem is a church alive and vibrant in the ministry of the gospel. The church remains the glory of the Fathers and a guide to their children."
- Pastor Jerry Stenberg