Our History

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church was conceived in the minds of the Wisconsin Synod (WELS) pastors of the Valley who saw a need to establish a WELS church in Scottsdale, Arizona.
          Two acres of land were purchased at 67th street and Osborn Rd. Seminary candidate John Gaertner accepted the call to the Scottsdale mission and was ordained on July 21, 1963
Salem’s first service was held in the Scottsdale Boy’s Club on September 8, 1963. The new congregation met at the Boy’s club for two years.
              The first service was held in the new chapel at 6701 E. Osborn Rd. on August 22, 1965.
              In 1966, the first Lenten services were held, and the ladies formed a group called the “Mary-Martha Guild”.
              The first Salem choir formed in 1970. That same year, the Mary-Martha Guild gave a gift of gold and white chrismon ornament to decorate the Christmas tree. With many additions, we are still decorating the tree with these symbols for CHRIST.
              Salem has indeed been blessed with five wonderful pastors in its fifty year history.
              Pastor Hugh Reaume became the second pastor at Salem in 1968. In 1968 Vicar David Palmquist joined Pastor Reaume who worked with him to help establish Paradise Valley Lutheran Church. Pastor Reaume served the congregation faithfully until his retirement in 1994.
              In 1994, Pastor Thomas Schulz became our third pastor. Pastor Schulz worked tirelessly in both the neighborhood and at positions within synod and district. Pastor Schulz served faithfully until 2004.
              In 2004 Seminary Candidate Andrew Retberg became our fourth pastor. Pastor Retberg worked tirelessly in the neighborhood working with the transient population in areas near the church. Pastor Retberg worked with the kids in the area starting “Christmas for Kids and Easter for Kids, to share the word of God to the Children. Pastor Retberg served faithfully until September 2008.
              In July 2009 Pastor Joshua Stahmann arrived from Japan. He and his family had been missionaries for nine years in Japan. He is our current and fifth pastor. Since his arrival, Pastor Stahmann has worked very hard at getting to know each member individually as well as the demographics of the surrounding areas. He has focused on outreach by continuing with the Christmas and Easter for Kids, and adding a Living Nativity every year in December. Come visit us and Meet Pastor Stahmann.
              In 2007-2008, a new building was added to the property. It was to connect the old fellowship hall and church building. It now is where Bible class is held, as well as special functions. The Church office and cry room were also added. The cry room has a window so that mothers or fathers with children in the cry room can see the altar area. It also has a speaker.
              The ladies of Salem are members of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary society, at both the local and national level.
              The Church council is composed of dedicated men who oversee outreach to the community through Easter for Kids, Family Bible School, Christmas for Kids, and the Living Nativity at Christmas.
              Salem is a member of the Arizona Lutheran Academy Federation of churches that support the local area high school, which is accredited, serving grades 9 through 12.  A.L.A. is located in Phoenix.
              We offer a warm welcome to all.