After Bro. E. Foster Braley was saved and surrendered his life to preach, he knew that the Lord did not want him to pastor an established church. He believed that it was the will of God for him to plant a church. He did not know the location where the Lord would have him to begin a church so he patiently waited on the Lord and enrolled in the old Cincinnati Bible College, which was led by Norman Wells, who was the pastor of Central Baptist Church.
One evening while attending this Bible School, Hazel Viggors asked for prayer for Mt. Washington and Anderson Township. It was her request that the students and faculty would pray for God to rise up a man to plant an independent fundamental Baptist church in that area. As Bro. Braley heard this testimony of how there was not a church in that part of greater Cincinnati, the Lord began to burden his heart.
Bro. Braley led the church to start supporting Bro. Bill Jackson as their first missionary in 1962 at $15.00 per month.
One day, shortly after hearing this prayer request, Bro Foster Braley was driving to work from his home in Amelia, when he saw two men (Thomas Braley and Howard Carter) praying beside Beechmont Avenue.
Bro. Braley stopped an enquired of them what they were doing. These two men related to him they were praying about a laborer to come and plant a church in the area. And it was then and there, beside Beechmont Avenue, that God led Bro. Braley to start the Independent Baptist Church of Mt. Washington as a mission church out of the High Point Baptist Church in Cincinnati.
After this event Bro. Braley began visiting and soul winning. God blessed his faith and effort by providing a people to begin the church with, and also by providing a place to meet.
Granted, under the State Liquor Store was not the most ideal place to meet, but it was where God provided. And it was in this place that a small group of believers met and began a fledging church.
On February 25th, 1961 an official organizational service for the Independent Baptist Church of Mt. Washington was held. It began with prayer! The church covenant was read by Bro. Ozell Pinson, pastor of Independent Baptist Church of Deer Park, who also served as Moderator of the meeting.
Upon a vote of the new church, Bro. E.F. Braley was elected as founding pastor. The church was then led in the organizational prayer by Bro. Norman Wells, pastor of the Central Baptist Church of Cincinnati. A message from the Word of God, Matthew 28:19 & 20 and Luke 1:1-4, was preached by Bro. Thomas Braley, pastor of the High Point Baptist Church of Cincinnati.
In 1961, the church was able to purchase the property on which the present building is sitting. Shortly thereafter, the property which is the parking lot was obtained. The church then added the part of the building which is now our sanctuary, using the basement for Sunday School rooms.
The church has been a mission minded church from the beginning. See, the church in 1962 couldn’t support their own pastor, yet in spite of that and by faith Bro. Braley led the church to start supporting Bro. Bill Jackson as their first missionary $15.00 per month.
When asked on February 25, 2011 about the founding of the church and the work that God did in those early years, Bro. Braley with tears in his eyes and a trembling voice said, “MY HOW GOD BLESSED.” He realized that Salem Baptist Church was not built upon himself or his ability, but was a direct product of the hand of God.
God continued to bless the church and its work for Him. Folks were being saved, baptized, and hearts were being stirred by God to righteousness.
In 1964, the name of the church was officially changed to the Salem Baptist Church.
In 1965 the parsonage was purchased. By the end of Bro. Braley’s eight year ministry, the attendance in Sunday school averaged 197 people.
In 2011, the Lord blessed the church once again with the ability to purchase another parcel of ground for future expansion.
The continued blessings of the Lord have been evident throughout the history of this church as hundreds have been saved and baptized, many have been sent to do missionary work, and others have gone into the pastorate.
Through the history of the church, we have been blessed with supportive and loving church members. All of our steps forward have called our church members to sacrifice and they have always risen to the challenge. This church was started and founded correctly and now, even after all of these years, we are still trying to move forward for the cause of Christ. Would you please pray with us that that God would enable us to have a future that is even more wonderful than our past?