Our History


First Salem Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1927, the humble congregation set a foundation that would share the Word of the Lord for decades to come.The church was organized as Antioch Baptist Church at 304 Hamblin Ave., in the home of Annie Bradley and led by Pastor Gaines. 

By the 1950s the church moved from the home of Sister Bradley to its own buildings at 147 Parrish St., 323 Hamblin Ave., and to a new church at 70 River St. (the former Free Methodist Congregation). Its name also underwent changes as Antioch and Shady Grove until 1949 when it became First Salem Missionary Baptist Church. 

On April 9, 1978, the members celebrated 51 years of service in a new church at 370 Capital Ave. Throughout the years, various pastors have been called to lead the church. 

In September of 2018, the church soon voted and called Leon Coleman III as its new Senior Pastor. Pastor Coleman is supported in his ministry by his wife, Elder Nicole R.S., and their daughters, Layla and Nia. Together they bring new energy to the First Salem family with a vision of “Greater”. Greater efforts are in store as they work to serve the Lord, liquidate loans, renovate the nursery, and take the church into the 21st Century through technology that would allow the Word of God to be heard throughout the world.