Minneapolis is a city that was founded by religion, a city where citizens showed pride in their community by building churches in the 1800s. A city where the first basilica in North America was built.
Minneapolis is home to one of the most diverse religious landscapes in the whole nation. What once was a predominately Christian atmosphere has morphed into a city that has more than 52 denominations and faiths representing most all of the major religions in the world. Minnesota is home to some 2,500 Tibetans and has the second largest concentration of Tibetans in the United States, and Minneapolis has the largest Somali population in the United States. We're a melting pot of ideology, weaving and fusing together to paint the vibrant picture you see today.
The convergence of faith has brought out the best in the communities, including accolades highlighting safety, good health, diversity and volunteerism. And along with our faith-based community, we're a top-flight destination in the nation because we make our visitors feel like family. Hold a meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center and they'll go the extra mile to make you feel at home. Take a kayak tour on the mighty Mississippi River and the guides will show you around like you're a long-lost family member. Minneapolis has personality, and the people that make up this city are personable beyond belief.
Your next faith-based conference belongs in Minneapolis. Read on to see why.
The history of Minneapolis as a city goes hand-in-hand with the development of religious migration. Missionaries like early explorer Father Louis Hennepin were instrumental in the advent of Minneapolis. The occupations of the missionaries included preaching, farming, writing, linguistics, and compiling of dictionaries. He was part of the exploration and cultivation of the land that would become the modern-day Minneapolis.
1823 came about and, with it, the first organized Christian gathering was at Fort Snelling. In 1834, missionaries Samuel and Gideon Pond received permission from Major Lawrence Taliaferro, who was the Indian agent at Fort Snelling, to work with a Dakota band that summered next to Lakes Calhoun and Harriet.
By 1840, Rev. Samuel Pond transitioned to become the minister at Fort Snelling. In 1849, his brother, Gideon, reorganized the church and it became known as the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church. In 1862, the name was changed to the First Presbyterian Church of Minnesota.
New Englanders like the Ponds brought with them their religious traditions to Minneapolis. Methodists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Quakers, Universalists, and Presbyterians formed congregations that had roots in New England. As new immigrant waves arrived, churches were established that offered the familiar religion of the home country, including religious organizations for the Germans, Irish, Poles, Swedes, and Norwegians. The first formal movement to establish a synagogue in Minneapolis was begun in 1878 by Western European Jewish immigrants who settled in Minneapolis.
In the early 1900s a significant Jewish population took root in Minneapolis-St. Paul, particularly in the neighborhood of St. Louis Park. The Twin Cities became home to several synagogues serving the Jewish population, which is concentrated in the western Minneapolis suburbs of Golden Valley, St. Louis Park and Minnetonka.
Although a few Muslim families made their home in Minneapolis in the early 1900s, it was in the late 1960s that immigrant students founded the Muslim Students Association, an organization that today has chapters around the country. By 1969, the Islamic Center of Minnesota was born.
Since the mid-1970s, Minneapolis-St. Paul has become home to one of the largest populations of Hmong and Hmong-American residents outside of Southeast Asia. In 1992, the Twin Cities' Hmong community proudly claimed the country's first Hmong priest, ordained to serve the growing number of Hmong Catholics.
After nearly four decades of worshiping in homes and repurposed church buildings, the Hindu community completed a 43,000 square foot temple in the suburb of Maple Grove. Dedicated in 2006, the Hindu Temple of Minnesota currently hosts the Jain Center of Minnesota, an organization that dates to 1989.
Recently, with the immigration of major Tibetan groups to the United States, there are now over thirty Buddhist centers in the Twin Cities metro area, yet another reflection of the impact of immigration on the diversity of the Cities' religious landscape. These include the Tibetan Buddhist Gyoto Wheel of Dharma Monastery in Minneapolis.
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Venues and Groups
Basilica of Saint Mary
The Basilica of Saint Mary is a Roman Catholic minor basilica. It was established as a minor basilica by Pope Pius XI in 1926, making it the first basilica in the United States. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
In 1856 a church building was begun at 21 S.E. Prince Street in St. Anthony. It was built of limestone quarried on Nicollet Island. In 1877 a French Catholic congregation formed and bought the church and renamed it Our Lady of Lourdes. It has the distinction of being the oldest church building in Minneapolis.
- Minnesota Council of Churches Strong communities are made up of meaningful relationships and guided by its deepest values. The Minnesota Council of Churches is a partner in living out your faith in your community.
- Campus Outreach Minneapolis Campus Outreach Minneapolis is a ministry targeting college campuses in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches Since 1905, the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC) has battled poverty in Minnesota.
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Founded in 1878, Temple Israel was the first synagogue in the Twin Cities. Today, the Temple is one of the ten largest Jewish congregations in the United States.
Beth El Synagogue
Beth El Synagogue is a conservative Jewish community in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The synagogue reaches out to its 1,250 households, and the building was formally dedicated on March 14 – 21, 1926.
- Minneapolis Jewish Foundation The Minneapolis Jewish Federation builds the community, cares for the welfare of Jews everywhere and maximizes participation in Jewish life.
- Minneapolis Jewish Federation The Minneapolis Jewish Federation raises more than 11 million dollars to fund local agencies and services, as well as much needed services to Jews in 58 distressed Jewish communities in Israel and throughout the world.
- Shalom Minneapolis Shalom Minneapolis provides Jewish newcomers with information about the Jewish community, exposes them to opportunities for involvement, and connects them to other newcomers and longtime Minneapolis residents.
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Masjid-Al Huda Center
The Masjid Al-Huda Center is located in Northeast Minneapolis. The Mission of the Masjid Al Huda/Islamic Cultural Community Center is, first and foremost, to serve the deen of Allah (the religion of Allah).
- Anjaman-e-Asghari In 1996, the Madressah Center was built. Their purpose is to educate young minds with Islamic knowledge in order to assure faithful individuals later on.
- Islamic Center of Minnesota The ICM operates a weekend school on Saturday and Sunday. ICM AbuKhadra Masjid holds daily and Friday congregational prayers.
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Hindu Temple of Minnesota
In 2006, the first Hindu temple opened in the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove. The centerpiece of this beautiful new facility is a huge, sunlit Prayer Hall with decorated pillars, polished granite floors and 21 ornate shrines.
- Gujarati Samaj of Minnesota Gujarati Samaj of Minnesota is a cultural, charitable, and educational non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Samaj is one of the largest cultural organizations in the Midwest.
- Marathi Association of Minnesota The Marathi Association of Minnesota is a cultural organization supporting the vibrant Marathi community in the state of Minnesota.
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Tibetan Buddhist Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery
The monastery is currently located in Columbia Heights, a northeast suburb of Minneapolis. This Geluk monastery was established with the blessing of His Holiness in 1994.
- Minneapolis Shambalha Center The Shambhala Center of Minneapolis offers a variety ofprograms and meditation instruction as well as teachings on Buddhism and the Contemplative Arts.
- Diamond Way Buddhist Center Diamond Way Buddhist Center Minneapolis belongs to an international non-profit network of over 600 lay Diamond Way Buddhist centers of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
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Rates and Services
When you look at our hotel rates, they aren't classified as "cheap." That's no secret. Our hotels are quality, and the prices reflect that.
But, if we may quote Aristotle, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
When you look at the entire attendee cost (entertainment, food and transportation), what Minneapolis offers as an experience is actually quite lower than similar cities like Chicago, Dallas, Denver and New Orleans. Plus, we've got tax-free shopping on ALL apparel, and Food + Wine called us one of the "Best Cost-Friendly Cities to Visit." Top it off with newly-renovated hotels that are consistently ranked nationally, and you've got an overall experience that gives you some unparalleled bang for your buck.
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Venues like the 480,000-square-foot Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) play host to many events year-round. The MCC alone hosts nearly 500 events per year. Other great local facilities include Target Field, Xcel Energy Center and Target Center, countless hotels, restaurants, theaters and museums. Minneapolis offers meeting planners a bevy of choices when it comes to choosing venues for any size group. Use one or fill them all, but no matter where your group ends up, it'll be in the middle of everything.
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Staying in Minneapolis is just as fun and luxurious as playing in it. Five-star, four-diamond and other award-winning hotels await, opening up the comfort and style of their abodes to you. After a full day of play, let our hotels offer you a place to kick back, relax and unwind. With more than 3,500 hotel rooms connected by 80 blocks of skyways, attendees and visitors can easily access their destination. From high-end to economical, massive to quaint, world-class accommodations await, ready to offer anything you need to make your visit to Minneapolis memorable.
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James Beard winners and nominees head some of our best restaurants. Three local chefs have earned the title Best Chef Midwest: Alex Roberts of Brasa Premium Rotisserie and Restaurant Alma and Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa. In addition, ethnic eats like those along Eat Street in Minneapolis keep world flavors at the forefront, while local pubs and neighborhood joints serve really good food in unique environments for affordable prices. Plus, with a dozen farmers' markets and nearby organic farmers, locally grown and sustainable food is at the fingertips of our chefs.
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Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River. Known as the Twin Cities, Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with approximately 3.3 million residents. The city is abundantly rich in water with over twenty lakes and wetlands, the Mississippi river, creeks and waterfalls, many connected by parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. And, average flight times to the Minneapolis Saint Paul metro area from around the country are just 2.5 hours.
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Only in Minneapolis can you step outside your hotel and kayak the Mississippi River, then watch a Broadway-quality show at one of our many renowned theaters. Rent a bike at one of the many Nice Ride stations and conquer "The Most Bike-Friendly City" on two wheels, then shop around at our fashionable stores and enjoy tax-free shopping on all apparel. Enjoy cuisine from James Beard award-winners, then get inspired at our world-renowned art galleries. No matter the season, the City by Nature is the premier year-round destination.
AS A MEETING DESTINATION
More than 18 million people choose to visit Minneapolis each year, and a high percentage of those visitors come here to attend meetings, conventions and events. With a Delta Air Lines hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and light rail that connects the airport and Mall of America to downtown, we're easy to explore. Best of all, in Minneapolis you get more meeting for less cost. Getting here is affordable and our world-class attractions are reasonably priced, making Minneapolis the perfect meeting destination.