Salem United Methodist Church was organized in 1822, five years after Mississippi became a state. The church first met on the west side of the Pascagoula River with services held in homes by circuit-riding preachers. Matthew Carter wrote that the Salem Campmeeting was held “In our meeting house in 1826. We now have a Society of nearly 30 members.”
Historical records indicate that in 1842, the arbor and the church building were destroyed by fire. A recording from 1880 shows, “But, the good people, nothing daunted, set to work, built from the original one, and have kept up continuously an annual Campmeeting ever since, with probably one or two omissions.”
On September 27, 1906, there was a severe storm that destroyed the tabernacle, several tents, and the church building. The following year, the church building and the Salem Campground was rebuilt. Some of the lumber from the old church building is still in tents at the campground today.
Salem Church remained within the Salem Campground until November 19, 1958, when the church moved to its present location. Salem United Methodist Church and the Salem Campground and Campmeeting are historically connected but are officially separate entities.
Today, Salem United Methodist Church continues to minister to the people of the community as it seeks to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.