ABOUT SALEM SDA CHURCH
A Brief History from 1972 until… today
All began in autumn of 1972, the year of grace, when under divine inspiration Brother Lemercier Montrevil sought to undertake the work of evangelism. A member of Hebron French-speaking Seventh-day Adventist Church, Montrevil recognized the growing need for a church of the same creed and capacity in his neighboring state, New Jersey. He was acquainted with many Haitians who had not the opportunity to hear the word of God, and in this sense, he, along with fellow members of Hebron’s missionary group, organized themselves with the intent of spreading the gospel of Christ in New Jersey’s Haitian community. As they traveled, preaching from door to door, their primary purpose was to secure souls and a location to establish this new church.
This work produced its first fruit in March 1973 when the Damusca Adventist family, living in Montclair, opened their doors to accommodate the members of the newly developed church. In the spring of this same year, Sister Marguerite Humbert became the first earned person to the cause of Christ.
Thereafter, thanks to the continuous work of the members, approximately fifteen persons met in the house of the Damusca family. However, with the church’s growth and swift progression, it became imperative that its members search various local areas for another building to accommodate its growing membership. They then entered into negotiations with a minister from a church in Montclair, who willingly furnished the congregation a room allowed for praise and worship. At the end of 1973, the congregation held its first elections, which would change its dependency on the Hebron Church of New
York City to the Allegheny East Conference. It was during this time that the Hebron missionaries saw it best to allow the new found congregation to be organized underneath the Allegheny East Conference.
Many contemplated, with assurance, the future of the church and the name that it ought to be given. While the end result was Bethsaîda, this selection, along with dissention among the congregation led to the formation of many other Seventh-day Adventist churches in New Jersey. Nonetheless, the remaining members were resolute and optimistic about the impending, official inauguration and opted to rename the church SALEM. Blessings continued to flow as members subsequently obtained a permit to use the Trinity Temple School gym as a place of worship. This partnership with Trinity Temple American
Seventh- day Adventist Church further solidified God’s promise of peace and prosperity.
Three years later (1979), Salem found itself once more in the precarious position of looking for an alternate location. After countless weeks of this search, they arrived at a church on Madison ave, where they encountered Minister Joseph Charles, who was described as kind, good-natured, humble, and unequivocally charming.
Under his leadership, Salem continued to flourish. Membership grew to an unprecedented number. Evangelism swept throughout the community. Youth and adults alike fearlessly praised and worshiped the Lord for his wondrous works, and members had now considered Salem as their second home. Unfortunately, this period of joy was transitory, as the announcement of Minister Charles’ death on April 15, 1985 left the congregation stunned in utter desolation. Today, he is remembered for his “positive attitude and great deeds.”
He is also remembered for his legacy, this steadfast resolve to uplift his congregation. Before his untimely death, God saw fit to make manifest Minister Charles’ greatest dream of securing a permanent location for his church. And by His grace, Charles’ prayer had been answered in 1984, when Salem French-speaking Seventh-day Adventist Church opened its doors at 37-39 William St. Newark, New Jersey. As the preeminent Haitian church in the vicinity of Newark, Salem prospered throughout the community. For 26 years, it served as the principle worship center for members and guests alike, and with Daniel B. Sejour as pastor, Salem had climbed toward the very top of the Hymn of Praise.
Today, under the helm of Pastor Ezechias Jean, Salem has maintained its rich heritage of evangelism, praise, and adoration; in all of its acts and accomplishments, God has remained ever present. Indeed, the church has endured its fair share of setbacks, but in the midst of destruction and defeat, its members have always cried “VICTORY.” In turn, God has bestowed upon this chosen flock, blessing after blessing. Salem has not forgotten its founding brothers and sisters, nor the lasting principle, that with Christ, all things are possible. Praise the Lord.