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Following are those who recieved their early religious training in the Salem Church under the leadership and training of Pastors and Sunday School leaders.  They ultimately gave their lives to Christ and received the call to serve in the ministry. 

Dr. Lowell Gess

Dr. Lowell Gess was a medical missionary in Nigeria and Sierre Leone, West Africa.  He is a direct descendant of a charter member and one of the first trustees of the Salem congregation.  It was at Salem Church as a boy of 12 years while kneeling at the altar rail that he committed himself to serve Christ in a special way according to his own statement, "It was under the leadership and training of the people in Salem and their pastors that I became interested in Christ's work." 


Lowell was born on July 13, 1921 and grew up on an 80-acre dairy farm 4 miles north of Paynesville MN not far from the Salem Church.  His father was Arthur and he had one sister, June.   They had a herd of thirty-three purebred Guernsey cows and each one was named.  After grade school in a one-room country school, he attended his freshman year at Paynesville High School.  At that point, his parents sold the farm and they moved to St. Paul.  He graduated from Central High School, Macalester College and Evangelical Theological Seminary at Naperville Il.  Later he furthered his education in Ophthalmology at the University of MN.  In 1945 he began his preaching career at St. Cloud, MN, then Mayer, MN in 1946.   While at these two chuches, he took his pre-medical courses.  He met the love of his life Ruth Bradley, and they were married on December 29th, 1945. In 1952 he was commissioned to serve in the foreign field as a medical missionary after graduating from Washington University at St. Louis, MO. and interning at Ancher Hospital in St. Paul MN.  


While serving in Africa he was instrumental in establishing the Kissy United Methodist Church Eye Hospital in Freetown, Sierre Leone as well as at least two other eye facilities in Nigeria and Zimbabwe.   His years as medical missionery spanned 52 years but his retirement years were not quiet.  He worked on writing at least 3 books about his years as a missionery and also made many trips back to Africa as a consultant well into his 90's.  In 2014 at the age of 93, he felt called again to cross the ocean for the 185th time to his beloved Sierre Leone to help in any way possible in the midst of the ebola crises.  He went with thousands of dollars of medical supplies and his own offer of moral support.  

Rev. LaVerne Snyder

Rev. LaVern Snyder was born in Paynesville MN December 16, 1930, the son of Alvin & Minnie Kohler Snyder. His early religious upbringing was at the Salem Church which was close to the family farm. Rev. Snyder had pioneered many churches in Kentucky,  including Hartford, Versailles, Lexington and Salem Assembly of God in Pewee Valley where he pastored for 39 years. He was a 1953 graduate of North Central Bible College (now North Central University in Minneapolis, MN.) and had served on the Kentucky District Presbytery Board for 43 years along with many other memberships, appointments and achievements.He was an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God church for 59 years.  


Rev. LaVern H. Snyder, 83, husband of Peggy Snyder, died Saturday August 9, 2014 at his residence.  A service celebrating Rev. Snyder’s life was held on Tuesday August 12, 2014 at Salem Assembly of God Church with burial at Louisville Memorial Gardens East

Dr. Nobel V. Sack

Nobel Sack, WWII 

Nobel Vernon Sack was born on Feb 20, 1908 on a farm near Roscoe, MN, the son of William August Sack and Martha Othelia Miller Sack.  He attended a one-room German-speaking country grade school and then Paynesville High School 1921-1925.  In 1929, Nobel graduated from Western Union College in LeMars Iowa, where he met Wilma Hyink, his wife of 65 years (they eventually had 5 children).  He was a direct descendant of one of the charter members of the Salem Church.  


He went on to study at Biblical Seminary in New York City, graduating in 1932.  Nobel first pastored Evangelical churches in LeSueur, Rush River, and LeCenter, MN before moving to pastor the church in Sleepy Eye MN.  After WWII broke out, Nobel felt called to the military, and served as an Army Air Force Chaplain from 1942 to 1946.  After discharge from the service, he returned to the mid-west to pastor the Congregational church in Kingsley IA while teaching part-time at Westmar College (formerly Western Union).  


He felt called to teach in a seminary and decided to pursue a doctoral degree in theology.  In 1944, the famiy moved to Peotone IL where he pastored the EUB Church and pursued his graduate studies at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago.  In 1948, he brought his family to Portland, Oregon where he became a professor at Western Evangelical Seminary, teaching church history and philosophy of religion, as well as serving as director of admissions and librarian.  He retired from the Seminary in 1980, but continued to fill the pulpit as an interim pastor of several Mennonite Churches for the next 10 years.  He passed away after a short illness in 1997; Wilma followed a year later.  

Rev. Roy S. Heitke

Rev Roy Samuel Heitke, the son of Gustave Robert & Clara (Weber) Heitke was a descendant of two charter members of the Salem congregation.  He was born on November 20, 1907 and died on January 12, 1993. He graduated from North Central College, Naperville IL and the Evangelical Seminary.  He pastored churches in Kasson, Worthington, Morristown, Fergus Falls, Fairmont and Cherry Grove MN.  

Rev. Chester (C.B.) Frank

Rev. August Ferdinand Reeck

August Reeck was born July 24, 1861 at Schoenfeld Province of Brandenburg Germany.  In 1882 he came to America with his parents & family and located on a farm near Paynesville MN.  In order to learn the language he attended public school, not disdaining to be in a class with small children.  He made commendable progress.  The whole family attended Salem Evangelical Church.  He was converted in 1885 and soon after perceived the call to ministry.  He considered himself unqualified for this high calling and continued at manual labor.  At the conference session in Salem, Rev. Linse spoke to him about the Divine Call and shortage of ministers.  Finally he was licensed to preach in 1889,  He was ordained as a deacon in 1890 and as an elder in 1892.  He served in Farmington, Mankato, Fairmont, Rochester, Renville, St. Charles, Wells, and Waseca.  On April 26, 1888 he married Martha Nehring in St. Cloud.  They had 1 daughter and 4 sons.  August died April 8, 1912 at the age of 50 yr., 8 mo., 14 days.  He is buried in the Waseca cemetery.  Later his family moved to the state of Washington.  Pg. 306-308 'History of the MN Conference of the Evangelical Assn.'  1856-1922 by Albert H. Utzinger

Rev. Frederick Moede

Rev. Frank R. Plantikow

Rev. Herman Plantikow

Rev Ferdinand F. Arndt

Rev Albert Zable

Rev. William Sack

Rev. Michael Miller





Salem women who became minister's wives:  Wilhelmine Plantikow Gongoll, Auguste Arndt Schmidt, Matilde Arndt Plantikow, Martha Nehring Reeck,

Hulda Helmer Riedel, Lydia Sack Herzberg, Martha Miller Sack,

Alyce Reeck Moede


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