Bravery, ingenuity, and creativity
Mindekirken in Minneapolis kicks off its celebration of 100 years of community
LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American
On Jan. 9, 2022, Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minnesota will be 100 years old, and already now, activities are underway to fund a year-long commemorative celebration.
Mindekirken was founded by Norwegian immigrants in an effort to preserve their language and heritage after World War I, a time when new Americans were discouraged from speaking the languages that they brought from their home countries. A congregation was formed, monies were raised, and the cornerstone to the church was laid in 1929 and was dedicated on May 4, 1930. Until this day, it stands as a Minneapolis landmark and national treasure with its magnificent stained-glass windows, sweeping ceilings, and its beautiful and inspiring altar painting, “He is Risen.”
Mindekirken continues to be a gathering place for the Norwegian-American community in Minneapolis, with Sunday services held in both Norwegian and English. With its outstanding acoustics, it is home to a celebrated choir and a host of musical offerings, and throughout the year special dates in the Norwegian calendar year are celebrated, with Juleaften and Syttende Mai always high points. An active language and cultural program help to keep Norwegian traditions alive, and the church’s proximity adjacent to Norway House have strengthened its outreach into the community.
After Sunday services on Aug. 1, the centennial celebration was given a jumpstart with an art exhibit by Kari Fosse, who came to Mindekirken in 1964. Described as Mindekirken’s “Norwegian Grandma Moses,” her original watercolors on display in the basement hall of the church depict the history and congregation at Mindekirken throughout the years. Each original art piece is available for purchase for $100, with 100% of the proceeds going to support the centennial celebration. They can be viewed online at www.mindekirken.org and can be shipped, with additional cost for postage.
Fosse’s artwork in also available in a special commemorative calendar that calls out important dates in the church’s history and marks the celebrations planned from now until the end of the centennial celebration in January 2023. It is a story of bravery, ingenuity, and creativity. The commemorative calendar offers an opportunity to learn more about the Mindekirken, both past and present, and is available for purchase by phoning (612) 784-0716 or emailing Kaia Knutson at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is only $25 plus about $10 shipping and handling. All proceeds will benefit the centennial events, all of which are open to the greater community.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 3, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.