Salem Baptist Church has been sharing the gospel for over 215 years! Founded in 1802 by a body of believers, church members met in an arbor until a wooden frame building was constructed about two miles southwest of Alps, Virginia. In 1818 another group started Mount Calvary Church at Sparta. These believers met in a large log house. In 1852 it was replaced with a brick structure, which is Salem’s present sanctuary. In 1846 some members of Salem at Alps came to Mount Calvary because of the temperance issue. In 1854 Andrew S. Broaddus, nephew of Andrew Broaddus I, led a wagon train of 200 people from the Sparta area to Texas. Two years later the remaining members of Mount Calvary dissolved their constitution and joined with the Salem group near Alps. They met at the Salem Meeting House on the second Saturday and Sunday, and the Mount Calvary Meeting House on the fourth Sunday. Then by 1865 with the end of the Civil War, members of Salem helped their black members establish Jerusalem Baptist Church. This church is located off the Newtown Road about two miles south of Sparta.
In 1869, members began to exclusively use the better meeting house in Sparta, then three years later the name was changed from Mount Calvary to Salem. In 1912, Sunday school rooms were added. The parsonage was built in 1927 on three acres of land donated by Samuel E. Pitts. Then in 1952, the educational building with six classrooms, fellowship hall, and kitchen were completed. The present sanctuary was extended and renovated in 1972 to provide a choir loft, a larger pulpit, and additional rooms. In 1984, the original Sunday school rooms were replaced by an addition that included offices and a choir room. In 1999 Salem Baptist Church marked the dedication of a new two story building with 12 classrooms, a large choir room, a kitchen, and fellowship hall that seats about 250 people. In December 2004, renovation began on the sanctuary and was completed the summer of 2005. There are new heating-cooling, sound, and lighting systems. The pulpit area was expanded. None of the outside was altered and much care was taken to preserve the 19th century character of the building. Since our start in 1802, our congregation has been blessed with 14 pastors. Our most current pastor, Kevin James, has served our church since 1989.
Salem Baptist Church is located in the beautiful, rural countryside of Sparta, Virginia near the Mattaponi, Pamunkey, and Rappahannock rivers. Our church is closest to the Town of Bowling Green, and we are centrally located between the suburban areas of Mechanicsville and Fredericksburg. Further, many locals commute to work in the cities of Richmond or Washington, D.C. Our church membership consists of individuals of all ages with a cross section of socioeconomic status.
Prior to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we held two services every Sunday morning with Sunday school. Our church offered an 8:30 a.m. contemporary, family friendly service with an average attendance of 140 individuals. We also offered Sunday school in between the two worship services for all ages with over 12 options for classes and an average attendance of 150 individuals. A traditional service held at 11:00 a.m. was also offered with an average attendance of 50 individuals. In addition, our church was a hub for Wednesday night activity, which included dinner, AWANA, “Set Apart” teen ministries, bells, choir, and multiple Bible studies for various age groups. Also, Vacation Bible School and the CenterShot Archery program was offered for children, as well as various summer youth programming.
Since COVID-19, we have offered a variety of ways to attend our blended 10:00 a.m. Sunday service and Sunday school classes. Service has been offered in our sanctuary according to state guidelines in person, drive-in with radio access in our parking lot, streaming on Facebook live, and YouTube uploads of service. This service has been a blended service that has incorporated contemporary and traditional music. Some of our Sunday school classes continued to meet through small group or Zoom technology, and we now offer Sunday school for all ages that meets at 8:30 a.m. until our service starts. In addition, our “Set Apart” youth group has actively met each Wednesday evening, and youth have participated in small group activities and community mission projects.
Salem Baptist Church is affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia. We are a mission oriented church, supporting missions locally in our community and abroad. Prior to COVID-19, our church was very much involved with missions in our local community (e.g. Habitat for Humanity, Inflatables Outreach, Easter Egg Hunt, Trunk-or-Treat, Thanksgiving Community Dinner, Glory Outreach, Young Lives, CenterShot Archery, Prayer Shawl Ministry, Southwest Virginia work teams, Baptist Association crisis work teams, and collegiate ministry teams). We also support various missions internationally (Operation Shoebox, Feedmore, Ghana & Ivory Coast, Haiti, and Thailand). Salem Baptist Church has a coach bus and a passenger van, which are used for mission and non-mission activities. Our church family members continually complete a lot of mission work within our community that is behind the scene for the glory of God.
Salem Baptist Church’s objectives include:
- Open our doors and welcome all who enter.
- Reach out and share the gospel with all and teach them of the redeeming love of Jesus Christ our Savior.
- Minister to spiritual and physical needs.
- Help each individual develop a close, loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
- Grow as a family through caring, sharing and building up one another in the faith
Some of the things that set Salem Baptist Church apart from other churches in our community include our willingness to work together like a family with each other, our community, and other church families! Our love and focus on our youth and children, as well as a supportive, solidly active senior base, truly sets us apart from other local churches. We treasure the legacy and continued input of our senior adult church members, and we are always willing to be the hands and feet working for the glory of our Lord!
Salem Baptist Church’s staff consists of a senior pastor, a minister to students and families, a music director, and a church secretary. These are all paid positions. Our numerous church members volunteer in various ways to support our staff and programming. There are a variety of church committees that are active and designated to support certain programming.
Sparta and Caroline County, Virginia
Included in this community profile is the Caroline County Visitor’s Guide, which will be referenced throughout this document. It will provide valuable information as needed.
Settings: Salem Baptist Church is a rural church located in the Sparta area of Caroline County, Virginia. Lots of options for commuting to nearby resources are available.
Age: This information is from the most recent census was in 2020, as well a church sponsored demographic study. The community has the highest percentage of members within the age ranges of 65-74 (35%), and the second highest age bracket with ages 45-54 (11%). The third highest age bracket was ages 15-19 (6%). Conveniences: The Visitor’s Guide includes a listing of local services and businesses within the areas of the Route 301/207 Corridor. Within close commuting distance, the towns of Bowling Green and Tappahannock offer grocery stores, pharmacies, hair studios, and various local restaurants. The cities of Richmond and Fredericksburg are also within close commuting distance.
Schools: The area offers public school options through Caroline County. Public Schools, as well as several private school options like The Carmel School and the Fredericksburg Christian School. Preschool and daycare programs are offered at Round Oak Baptist Church and in the private settings.
Real Estate: Excellent opportunities to buy and rent individual houses and apartments are available in Caroline County. Low cost of living and affordable housing make Caroline County an ideal place to live and work. Housing choices range from developments, such as Lake Caroline and Lake Land ‘Or, to condominiums, town homes, and delightful farm homes with acres. With substantial realtors located within the county, assistance is available in the Verizon phone directory and a local real-estate directory. The average cost to purchase a home is within the $245,000 range, and the average cost to rent ranges from $1000-$1400 monthly.
Chamber of Commerce: A complete business directory can be found in the Visitor’s Guide on pages 3-15.
Safety: Caroline County is a very safe environment. Both Caroline County and the Town of Bowling Green have their own police departments. Bowling Green is the county seat. The Caroline County Fire and Rescue is well equipped, and these departments continue to engage in training. When necessary, units from surrounding counties of Essex, Hanover, King George, and Spotsylvania. In addition, our county includes the United States military base, Ft. A.P. Hill.
Map: See the Visitor’s Guide on page 2.
Caroline County: https://co.caroline.va.us/
Town of Bowling Green: https://www.townofbowlinggreen.com/
Town of Port Royal: http://thetownofportroyal.com/
Caroline County Public Schools: https://www.ccps.us/
U.S. Army Garrison-Ft. A.P.Hill https://www.army.mil/aphill
Caroline County, VA
Caroline County is located between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. It encompasses 537 square miles, which includes the U.S. Army Garrison Base-Ft. A. P. Hill covering 78,000 acres. With a population of just over 30k, Caroline County is bordered by the Rappahannock River on the northern boundary and the Pamunkey River on the southern boundary. Our county is located approximately 20 miles south of the city of Fredericksburg and 35 miles north of the city of Richmond. The public school system includes one high school and one middle school, both of which are located on Rt. 207 just west of Bowling Green in Milford. There are three elementary schools located in the Bowling Green and Ladysmith areas. In addition, there is a private Christian school located in the Carmel Church area, as well as another private Christian school bordering the county line with Spotsylvania County.
Our county offers various recreational and historical features. Some active programming includes Caroline County Little League, Parks and Recs opportunities, and YMCA facility in the Ladysmith area. There are various walking trails located throughout the county, as well as wildlife management areas with boat ramp access to the Mattaponi and Rappahannock rivers. Several golf courses are situated throughout the county. In addition, Kings Dominion theme park is located on the borders of Caroline and Hanover counties. We are also home for the State Fair of Virginia, which is held yearly at the Meadow Event Park. There are several historical points of interest from the Revolutionary War and Civil War within and near the county. Outdoor activities, like hunting and fishing, are available within the county.
Bowling Green is the county seat and where the courts are located. The county has agricultural and tree farming, as well as many subdivisions for housing. Grocery stores are located within the county, as well as medical facilities.
Salem Baptist Church
Salem is looking for a pastor who has a growing, transforming relationship with Christ and has a genuine passion for sharing God’s love with others. Being a part of the community, as well as our church members’ lives outside the walls of our church, is necessary and rewarding. Our next pastor will lead in the development of our vision of ministry, which includes administering, recruiting, and equipping. We do not expect our next pastor to do our ministry for us but to lead us by example. Our congregation is searching for a pastor who will walk beside us as we serve, grow, and live the work God calls us to do. We believe our pastor is the shepherd of the flock, and we expect him to be a student of the word. Our pastor should be regular in prayer and seeking the Lord’s guidance with sermons, teachings, and ministry. We are seeking a pastor who will come along beside us during the rough spots of life and provide comfort, direction, and encouragement. Most importantly, we are seeking the person that God is calling to serve at Salem Baptist Church!