Mindekirken was founded in 1922, in a world changed by W.W.I. The elusiveness of peace helped turn the country inward, resulting in a great emphasis on all to be 100% American. Foreign language churches were rapidly converting to English-only services. However, there were those who saw the need to preserve their heritage, especially in their place of worship.
In the fall and winter of 1921, Rev. C.J. Eastvold, President of the Southeast district of the newly formed Norwegian Lutheran Church in America, asked 6 men and 1 woman to help form a Lutheran congregation providing services in Norwegian for as long as anyone would hear and understand it. On January 9, 1922 the congregation was formed with 22 charter members.
After several temporary locations, the cornerstone of our present church was laid in 1929. The dedication took place on May 4, 1930 with much fanfare and a large crowd overflowing the church. The official name of Den Norske Lutherske Mindekirke was adopted at about this time.
Difficult days came with the Depression. Bonds had been sold to build the church and as the economic situation worsened, making payments became all but impossible. After much time and effort,Mindekirken's pastor at that time, Rev. Rasmussen, was able to arrange to pay off the bonds at a reduced rate with a loan from the Sons of Norway.
Even at the beginning cultural activities were a natural extension of the congregation. Women's groups were organized early and have continuously sponsored events to support missions and the congregation. These continue today in several popular events surrounding food and crafts and fellowship that are well attended by those interested in the Norwegian heritage ties to be found at Mindekirken.
Over time Mindekirken has continued as a gathering place for people who wish to celebrate their Norwegian and Scandinavian cultural ties in a Lutheran setting. Today the church also serves as a link between the Midwest and Norway, and we are visited by any number of Norwegian dignitaries throughout the year, especially on Syttende Mai and during the Christmas season.
Mindekirken has also developed a reputation for its music programs, including The Leiv Eriksson Festival in October, which features Norwegian artists working in a variety of media, particularly music.
Mindekirken remains true to its original mission as a living church in Norwegian, but has become so much more to those who belong and visit by being a lasting and tangible link to their past and current cultural identity, as well as being a guide in their spiritual lives.
Today, Mindekirken is the only church in the Twin Cities (and one of only two in the United States) where Norwegian is used in worship services and has continued as a gathering place for people who wish to celebrate and maintain their Norwegian and Scandinavian ties.
Visit the Mindekirken website: www.mindekirken.net