The Connecting Place at Greater Salem is the second oldest African-American church in Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, NC. Established in 1874 as Salem Missionary Baptist Church, it grew from a small group of former slaves and their families to become one of the cornerstones of the faith community in Charlotte.
On Sunday mornings, the church bell could be heard from miles around. Reverend Henry Barnes was the first pastor elected to serve the small community of Baptists from the Paw Creek and Hoskins communities. Land was purchased and a building erected at 3500 Rozzelles Ferry Road.
Reverend Barnes, Reverend Beams, Reverend Barnwell, Reverend Lindsey, Reverend Ranson and Reverend Pam served as pastors through 1899. Reverend R.D. Harris was elected as pastor in 1900 and served until 1915, when he moved the church to its present location. In that same year, Reverend McCauley was elected pastor and served until 1923. Reverend E.A. Steward succeeded Reverend McCauley and was elected pastor in 1923. It was during Reverend Stewart’s administration, that the church was destroyed by fire on June 6, 1934 and rebuilt the same year at the same location. Reverend Stewart served until his death in 1943. Reverend D.F. Moore was elected pastor of Salem in 1943 and served until 1969. In 1969, Reverend Mayhue H. Bostic, Jr. succeeded Reverend Moore and served faithfully until his death in 1980.
During Reverend Moore’s administration, a ministerial counseling program was established to render spiritual guidance to those who sought help and advice. The church celebrated its Centennial Anniversary and Homecoming in 1974 and membership increased to more than 350 members. A new sanctuary drive was launched and the unnamed road that led to Salem was named Salem Church Road. It was then, that the church obtained the street address of 5318 Salem Church Road.
Reverend Gregory Davis served as interim pastor, following the death of Reverend Bostic. In February 1981, Reverend A.L. Jinwright was ordained and installed as pastor of Salem, serving until 2011. Under his leadership, a new edifice was erected. The church became an independent Baptist church and the congregation grew exponentially. The name was changed to Greater Salem Church.
In 2008, Bishop Alan G. Porter was appointed and served as executive pastor. In January 2011, Bishop Porter was named the interim pastor. He was elected as the twelfth pastor on May 4, 2011 and was installed on June 4, 2011.
Under his leadership, The Connecting Place Leadership Institute (CPLI), The Living Legends (special recognition for GSC Members of 25 years or more), the Fathers in Zion and Midday Bible Study were established. Although faced with many challenges, Bishop Porter continues to lead with great tenacity and to exemplify courage, faith, grace and wisdom. To move this ministry forward, he adapted the mission of the church to its name, The Connecting Place at Greater Salem in 2016.
After 140 plus years in existence, The Connecting Place at Greater Salem continues to passionately advance God’s kingdom! Our goal is to reconcile humanity back to God and to build community through love. We remain committed to connecting people inward, upward, outward and forward; and to be a place where you may come as you are but leave as you’ve imagined!