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Church History

The New Salem Baptist Church of Memphis, Inc. 1928-Present


The emerging theme of "God is good all the time, and all the time God is good" is clearly evident throughout the history of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church (the original name). In the spring of 1928 at the home of Will and Sylvester Wadell, the foundation was laid for a new church and what would become one of the greatest church fellowships of this present age - the New Salem Baptist Church of Memphis, Inc. 


In the fall of 1928 with the dedication and determination of the organizing committee – Rev. and Mrs. Bridgewater, Phillip Hubbard, Julia Smith-Ransom and others, property was purchased on Tillman Street. Under the leadership of Pastor Tyler, a small white-framed structure was built. The New Salem Baptist Church was formed and destined for greatness with such leaders as Rev. Tyler, Reverend Hayes, Rev. J.B. Hooker and Rev. O.C. Reed, making it necessary to expand the seating capacity and add a choir loft.


The church flourished during the 1940's under the energetic pastorate of Rev. A. Harrison Banks and Rev. T.L. Tipton, and more property was purchased. Under the guidance of Rev. L.A. Blake in 1947 and for two decades, the New Salem congregation continues to grow both physically and spiritually. The church added many ministries, the existing ministries grew, and the church gained membership in the National Congress of Leadership Training seminars. 


In February 1972, there was a move of the Holy Spirit, and as a sprinter passes the baton on to the next runner, so did Rev. L.A. Blake. He passed the New Salem Baptist Church congregation on to Reverend Frank E. Ray, Sr. Under this anointed and electrifying preacher, the church grew and was propelled to another spiritual level, adding more members to the congregation, new church programs and ministries. The New Salem congregation was on the move. God continued to bless the ministry as the congregation outgrew their existing structure.


On August 19, 1978, Pastor Frank E. Ray, Sr. led the New Salem church family from 682 Tillman Street to 2231 South Parkway East, to a larger more spacious sanctuary. Through the dynamic preaching of Rev. Ray via radio and television, evangelism and outreach ministries began to produce exceptional growth. With a desire to build for the kingdom of God, the property west of the existing facility was purchased and later dedicated as the Earmon Terry Educational Building in the loving memory of Brother Earmon Terry, a faithful deacon, trustee, and one of the oldest and most beloved members of the New Salem church family. 


Through the leadership and vision of Pastor Ray, the New Salem church continued to buy the surrounding properties, and with governmental cooperation, was able to restore the property across the street, "Salem Manor," and provide housing for many families. In 1994, the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church was destined to expand once again, and at a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new super structure to be built on the east side of the existing structure. To the glory of God, Pastor Frank Ray has led the New Salem ministry to build and develop a full-time, multi-purpose ministry. 


After a long and challenging building project, a new magnificent edifice was completed. The super structure houses a sanctuary, banquet hall, Family Life Recreation Center, prayer center, audio and video media ministry, bookstore and classrooms. The total purpose is to meet the needs of the church congregation and community as it continues to take the leadership role in local, national, and international evangelism.


This majestic edifice is a testimony of the power of faith and prayer and stands as a beacon of light and a monument of hope to all who will seek the Lord, obey His word, and come to know of His unlimited power-saving grace and mercy.


With great expectations, enthusiasm and excitement, the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church family continues to move forward as New Salem Baptist Church of Memphis, Inc.; under the divine leadership and vision of an anointed, Holy Ghost-filled, Bible-believing, scripture-quoting, faith-walking servant of the living God - Reverend Dr. Frank E. Ray, Sr. He is one who stands and proclaims salvation for the lost, hope for the hopeless, and healing and deliverance for the sick and demon-possessed.


"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here I am; send me." - Isaiah 6:8

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