Historic Records Digitized

At the Home-Coming a few years ago, Salem was invited to partner with the St. David’s Society of Pittsburgh through a project of theirs called the Wales-PA Project.  That partnership is doing so much for preserving Salem’s history and broadening our community.  The Project set up an internship with Duquesne University dedicated to digitizing Salem Church’s historic records, so they would be preserved for all time and anyone with a connection to the Internet could enjoy them.

We were very fortunate to find a Duquesne student majoring in both History and English, a woman named Julie Mozelewski, who was perfect for the job.  Julie was diligent and caring about the preservation of Salem’s documents, and scanned and repaired over 1,000 pages in over a hundred total documents spanning the Association’s history, from the first Home-Comings in the 1920s to current reunions. These documents were uploaded to the People’s Collection Wales website, an initiative of the National Library of Wales. Julie told us, “It was a pleasure reading through and preserving the rich history of the Salem Church and I hope that people will enjoy looking at the documents for years to come.”

Check out all these great documents that are available to us all, any time and anywhere, thanks to the efforts of so many caring people dedicated to preserving the Welsh culture.

Getting to Salem

This year’s Home-Coming is less than a week away.  As you prepare to make the trip out to visit us, please take a minute to review the following.

If you need help coordinating a ride, please email us at info@salemhomecoming.org, with the subject line “Transportation.”

From Ebensburg (intersection of High Street and Center Street), take Center Street north. After 6 blocks (~0.25mi), turn left on W Highland Avenue (heading west). W Highland becomes Colver Rd. Continue on this road for about 4mi, then turn left on SR 4002/Tripoli Rd. In 0.7mi turn right onto Lute Rd (sign for Bracken Auto). After about a mile, Salem Church will be on your right.

If you are driving south to Salem on 219, turn right onto Ridge Rd/PA-553 W.  In 1.6mi, turn left onto Brawley Rd.  In 1.5mi, continue onto Stevens Rd/T494.  In just less than a mile, make a slight left on Vetera Rd.  Then, after 0.8mi turn right onto Lute Rd.  In about a fifth of a mile, Salem Church will be on your left.

NOTE: You can enter “1400 Lute Rd, Ebensburg, PA 15931” into your GPS and it should get you nearly there.   If you can use Google Maps, so you can just click the link below and fill in your starting location for directions.

Proposed Bylaws Updates

Although Salem’s history goes all the way back to 1839—when the church was founded—the Salem Home-Coming Association itself was organized in 1920.  That’s when attendance was dwindling, but members and friends wanted to keep alive the traditions of the Old Salem Church, so they decided to form a group to host a celebration once a year.

The Association adopted its By-Laws in 1927.  They have not been amended once in the 89 years since.  Two years ago, Salem realized it needed to file for 501(c)(3) status, which required submitting the organizations bylaws.  Needing to update By-Laws language anyway to meet IRS requirements, Salem membership asked the By-Laws Committee to take a look at the whole document and recommend changes.

After 2 years of review, and thanks to the hard work of several dedicated Salem members (Jan Davis, Shirley Longnaker, Ann Makin, Bill McHenry, and John Rhoades), the By-Laws Committee plans to ask for the membership’s approval of several amendments to the organization’s By-Laws at this year’s Business Meeting.  These changes will incorporate many necessary updates including language that helps Salem’s operations and satisfies our non-profit status requirements.

Click on the links below to find 3 versions of the By-Laws:

There are a few points worth explaining.  First and foremost, Salem is an institution of tradition.The By-Laws Committee takes that very seriously. So, when they decided to take on the task of reviewing the Association’s Bylaws, adopted in nearly 100 years ago, they carefully considered any changes and needed good, sound reasoning for whatever changes they propose.

That said, the Committee also wanted to imbue a bit more of the Welsh culture into the organization.  Thus, when the committee made adjustments to the document’s governance language to meet practical needs, they also incorporated a new Welsh word to refer to the Association’s board: Gwarcheidwaid, Welsh for ‘Keepers, Guardians, Warders,’ pronounced ‘gʊərḵˈādwˈīd’.

In keeping with the spirit of promoting history and the Welsh culture, the committee also came across an objective of the organization that is listed in the Association’s charter, but somehow never made it into the By-Laws.  So, under Article II, Objects, Section 1, we added a fifth object of the Association in language borrowed directly from our founding charter:

To serve as a Literary and Library Association whereby the knowledge of Literature, secular as well as religious, may be advanced, and the traditions and memory of the Salem Calvinistic Methodist Church may be preserved and perpetuated.

There are several other changes, such as job descriptions for each of the Association’s officers and dissolution language required by the IRS.  But reviewing the document yourself is probably the best way to gain a proper understanding of the changes being proposed.

The Association plans to vote on these recommended changes at the Business Meeting at this year’s Home-Coming.  There will also be paper copies at the meeting for you to review.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here, or email us.

Big Wins for Salem members at NAFOW!

Nic Schumer regales the congregation with a history in the crucial role that churches played in preserving Welsh culture, as Carol Ellis, Gamanfa Ganu leader, looks on.

Nic Schumer regales the congregation with a history in the crucial role that churches played in preserving Welsh culture, as Carol Ellis, Gymanfa Ganu leader, looks on.

We are proud to count among our membership two Eisteddfod winners at this year’s North American Festival of Wales (NAFOW). And, another Cymry (‘Welsh person’) among us is the newly elected president of the Welsh North American Association (WNAA)!

We are lucky to have all three of these champions of Welsh culture in our midst.  They not only make our reunions richer, but they spread the beauty of Welshness everywhere they go!

It came as a delight—but no surprise—that our outstanding Gymanfa Ganu leader, Carol Ellis, won the WNAA Past Presidents’ Award in Hymn Singing.

A happy win came to Nic Schumer, who illuminated the congregation at this year’s Salem reunion.  Nic won the award for Welsh Learner’s Recitation.


Ian Samways at the Eisteddfod in Wales

As president of the WNAA, Ian Samways, who joined us in 2014, but was in Wales during this year’s reunion, will be helping to keep Welsh traditions alive across nations.

175 Years!

This is a momentous year for Salem. 175 years ago, a group of Welshmen and Welshwomen met in the North Ebensburg home of Thomas and Rachel Davis to found this Calvinistic Methodist Church. Immigrants, who had traveled from the coal country of South Wales to settle in the coal county of Cambria County, PA, founded a church called Salem that would keep their old country traditions alive, but enable them to create new ones for their new life. The enduring Cambrian traditions laid down by the founders and the faithful who have carried this congregation forward over so many lifetimes continue to be renewed today!