Congregationalism in Minnesota 1851 - 1891
1851 = 1891.
1 By Archibald Hadden.
y good Christian shall be restored to liia right
church, and not excluded from sueb place of spiritual govemmeut as hi?
Christian abilities and his approved good character in the ej'e and testi-
tnony of the church shall prefer him tu, this and nothing sooner will
open his eyes to a wise and true valuation of himself, • * • Then
would the congregation of the Lord soon recover the true likeness and
what she is indeed, a holy congregation, a royal priesthood,
saintly communion, the household and city, of God."— John MUton,
"And still their spirit in their sons with freedom walks abroad;
TheBibleis their only creed; their only monarch. God!
The hand is raised, the word is spoke, the solemn pledge is given,
And boldly on our banner floats, in the free air of heaven.
The motto of our sainted sires— and loud we'll make it ring;
D A STATB WITKOVT A KING,"
y received its first impulse in the homely meeting houses
of Puritanism. Each little band of Pilgrims under its chosen shepherd
.a a free and independent state. There was assembled the future cau-
cuB-loving nation. There preached the future patriot and there listened
n army of liberty. In a century, behold the meeting bouse
has swelled into the capitol and the church members hove become cit-
. empire." OHver's Puritan Commonwrealtb,
"The Pilgrims brought with them to the New World a form of
Christianity which I cannot better describe than by styling it a demo-
: and republican religion. This contributed powerfully to the
establishment of a republic, and democracy in public affairs."
De Tocquevilh, Democracy In Amerka.
Cbarlea Sbe&o, siavlCi Jflutt
otbcr Dlonccrs into wbose labors wc bare cntcteD
ivboec (oiin&ation wc are builOina,
tbesc paflCB arc &eOicatc&.
The forty years since the first Congregational Church was planted in
Minnesota have been very eventful. In that period Congregation-
alism has discovered its own strength and learned to respect itself.
No churches in this country are more thoroughly American in principles,
history, sympathies and possibilities.
Impressed with the thought that Congregationalists in Minnesota,
owing to the lack of accessible literature, are unable to appreciate their
own history and the value of their own work, the material of this book
was collected. The State Association of Congregational Churches,
assembled at Duluth, approved it, voted $100 toward its publica-
tion and appointed the following committee to see it through the press
and circulated : Reverends A. Hadden, G. R. Merrill, J. H. Morley, J. A,
Chamberlain and Mr. C. W. Hackett. It need hardly be added that the
object of this publication is not to glorify a sect, but to help one branch
of Christ's Church to a clearer consciousness of its part in bringing in
the unity of the church and the kingdom of God on earth.
CONGREGATIONALISM IN MINNESOTA.
What Is It ?
CONGREGATIONALISM is the most simple, broad
and democratic form of organized Christianity.
Each church is a republic whose members are on perfect equality and
control their own affairs. As such it differs from the aristocratic organi-
zation of Presbyterianism or monarchical Espicopacy or Romanism. It
lias three great watch-words : Loyalty, Liberty, Fellowship, — Loyalty
to Christ, Liberty for the individual member. Fellowship between the
Historically this was the first form of organization of
the apostolic church; but later on by the end of the first
century a ruling class was developing and the Presbyterian methods
appeared, which in turn became Episcopal as centralization went on until
at length we find the Papal government fully developed in the fifth and
sixth centuries. This power ruled the church for the next thousand years.
In the struggle for spiritual, intellectual and political freedom and the
reformation of the church in the sixteenth century, the earlier forms of
church government reappeared, Episcopacy in England, Presbyterianivsm
on the continent and, towards the end of the century, Congregationalism
in England. But the old world was not ready for democracy in either
church or state, and so this "church without a bishop" was met by per-
secution and martyrdom, and fled, first to Holland, and in 1620 to the
new world, where it brought, in the Mayflower, not only a free church but
a free government and free schools. In the old world it was obliged to
fight for its life. In the new it had opportunity to grow in a congenial
soil and atmosphere. In England it has been allied with every move-
ment for freedom and such names as John Robinson, Sir Harr^^ Vane, Rich-
ard Baxter, Cromwell and John Milton, honor its roll. In America it
shaped the organization of the Republic, and gave us our school system.
More than any other factor, Congregationalism was potent in the making^
of New England. It has its martyrs, its prophets, its heroic leaders
and its great victories.
In the vast development of popular government during the past 250
years, the tendency towards democracy in church organization has Ix'eu
very marked. The various species of Baptist churches, the Friends, the
Advcntists and the so-called Liberal churches are all organized in this
way. Baptists differ from Congregationaliats only in their sacramental
cxclusiveness ; the liberal chnrehes in the failure to hold evangelical doc-
trines. It was estimated in 1886 that 53 per cent, of Protestant
Christendom was organiaed on the Congregational principle.
Congregationalism proper has made its greatest advances
wh«F It Is jjj England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, Aus-
tralia, the United States and Canada, and wherever the
missions of the London Missionary Society or the American Board have
been planted — in the Pacific Islands, Japan, China, India, Turkey and
Africa. There are now in all the world 15,000 Congregational churches
with 1,500.000 members, of which 5.000churchesand522,000membcrs
are in the United States.
Doctrinally Congregationalism was originalh' allied to
Its Creed. the system of Calvin though it has always been
roomy enough for men of other schools. In this century
its Calvinism has been greatly modified, and now it stands on the broad
basis of the evangelical doctrines. In lt<83the National Council adopted
a creed which has l)een largely accepted by the churches, and which while
not claiming to be authoritative fairly eiprcsses the doctriual position of
the denomination. This creed confesseathe Trinity, God's providence and
man's freedom, human sinfulness, God's purpose of Redemption, the
authority ot the Scriptures, the atonement of Christ, the work of the
Holy Spirit, man's regeneration and direct relations to Christ, the
churches as free yet in fellowship, the Lord's Day, and the final victory of
Christ and the prevalence of righteousness. Congregationalismistiedto
no theological system, and while using the historical creeds as conven-
ient and valuable statements of truth, it regards them of value only in
proportion to their truth. It stands for the broadest and most catholic
form of evangelical Christianity.
And now. after 300 years of struggle, growth and
Its Features, achievement, we find the denomination characterized by
the following four main features that appear wfherever it
is well developed : Evangelical doctrine, missionary iea\, educational
enthusiasm, and strong desire for Christian union.
Congregationalism is not anchored to an ancient creed,
Evangelieal. but adhering to the Bible, loyal to Christ apd depending
on the Spirit that gives life and leads into the truth, it
is neither timidly conservative nor rashly progressive. It emphasizes an
intelligent faith. It welcomes every ray of light that breaks Irora God's
word and is bnsy apjilving Christianity to present jirobleins. Its tradi-
tttng practical and n
le evangelical positi
bent keep it with all its freedom ti
evangelical because it is evangelist
A true church of Christ must be apostolic, missionarj',
AliRBloaary. evangelistic. Its missionarj-zeal has been the life of Con-
gregational ism. In John Eliot the "Apostle to the In-
dians"it has the glory of thefirst Protestant foreign missionarj-. Except
the Moravians, it was the first church in America to reach the heathen
orld with the gospel; and in organizing the American Board in 1810, it
the mother of modern missions on this continent. It hait
produced such evangelists as Jonathan Edwards, Charles G. Finney and
Dwight L. Moody. It has been most fruitful in inventing new organiza-
tions and devising new wava of bringing Clirist to men and men to.
Christ. Among these have been the followiiig whiclf stand today
among the great agencies of missionary work at home and abroad:
The American Board of Commissionera for Foreign Missions, ISIO.
The American Home Missionary Society, 1836.
The American Education Society, 1816. The College Society, 1843.
Consolidated as the Am. Col. & Ed. Sodetj-, 1874.
TheCongregational Board of Publication, 18,'i4. The Sunday School
Society, J 832. Consolidated as the Congregational Sunday
School and Publishing Society, 1868.
The American Missionary Association, 1S4G.
The American Congregational Union, 1853.
The New West Education Commission, 1379.
Besidesthese, Congregationalistshave had an important part in start-
ing and maintaining nndencminational organizations, as the Bible Society,
tlie Tract Society, the Yonng Men's Christian Association, the Sunday-
School Union; and it was a Congregational pastor who originated audi
"fathered" the Yonng People's Society of Christian Endeavor. TheCon-
gregationalists in the United States gave last year over $4.50 per mem-
Aa modern Congregationalism began among tile intelli-
EducBtion. gent middle class of English people, with Cambridge meu-
as its leaders and I^yden as one of its first homes, it has-
naturally raised a high standard of education anc! taken a deep interest
in all edncational movements. An intelligent membership is essential to-
its proaperily. In 1640 it planted Harvard College, and it has been the
founderof Yale, Amherst, Williams, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Middlcbury,
Oberlin. Marietta, Olivet, Beloit, Ripon, Illinois, Iowa, Drury, Washbume,
Carleton, Yankton, Fargo and many others. It has seven finely equip-
ped theological seminaries. It maintains one hundred and twenty-
schools and colleges in foreign lands, sixty among the Freedmen anil
thirty-one among the Mormons. Xo church has a prouder educational
Finally, Congregationalism looks toward Christian.
Chnstlan Union. Itslieartia inthatanditisbuiltforit. Practically
in its actual workings it ia found to be remarkably adapt-
ed to be the meeting-place of Christians of many types and names. The-
church which shall gather all Christians into its bosom, must be demo-
cratic in organisation, strong in intelligence and thonght, simple in
creed and full of evangelistic force and fire. And such isaCongregation-
al Church. Congregationalism has just held in London its first inter-
national council. No subject there discussed awakened such interest as-
thatof Christian Union or Federation of the Churches. And thisconncil
led the way by voting for "a fraternal federation, without authority, of
all Christian bodies at such early date as the providence of God will per-
mit." In the past forty years there has come the "Renaissance of
Congregationalism." It is realizing as never before its place and mission
in the world.
Tf from some Pisgah-height one could see Minnesota,
View. -L what would the vision be ? A plateau, lying nearly
at the center and in the highest part of the continent,
83,000 square miles in extent, dotted with 10,000 lakes and drained into
three great river systems, the Red, the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi.
Our observer, glancing to the northeast would see vast pine forests,
25,000 square miles in extent, mineral lands, with untold wealth of
iron, reaching around Lake Superior, and, crowning it all, the seaport city,
of Duluth with its 40,000 people. Following the three trans-continental
lines of railroad, the Northern Pacific, the Great Northern and the Soo,
he would see in the central region 5,000 square miles of hardwood tim-
ber, called the "Big Woods," and hundreds of beautiful lakes. To the
northwest would be seen the alluvial expanse of the Red River valley,,
level as the sea, of matchless fertility, bounding the state for 200
miles. Southward, from west to east, he sees the older settled parts,
of the state, cultivated prairie, well stocked farms, flourishing towns and
cities abounding in comfortable homes, churches, schools, colleges and
But the eye naturally turns to that point on the eastern central border
to w^hich a score of railroad lines converge, and where the modern
miracle of city-building has taken place, where in twenty years the twin
cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, have grown from provincial towns with
a combined population of not over 40,000 to a great commercial in-
dustrial, religious and educational center of at least 350,000 inhab-
This is Minnesota, peopled by 1,300,000 inhabitants, made acces-
sible with 5,000 miles of railroad and the great lakes and rivers,.
with its army of 10,000 educators, and its 1,800 churches. Clearly a
great future is before this commonwealth. In the building up of this
state Congregationalism has had a worthy part, and in shaping its
future it has a great responsibilit}'.
Indian agent, the soldier and tl
only white people in the
thrilling than that of the
Kiggs, the Ponds and the
Wilhamsons, who met the
war-like Sioux with the
story of divine love by
the Falls of St. Anthony
.and wherever their tepeea
were pitched in this land
of "sky-tinted water." In
1835, thirteen years after
Fort SneUing was built,
and twelve years after the
first steamer had sailed
up the Mississippi to the
fort, these missionaries
began their work of mast-
ering the Dakota lang-
uage, reducing it to writ-
ing and preaehing in it the
everlasting Gospel. The
record of their work be-
longs to the history of
among the Ind-
the State of Minnesota.
In 1849 the territory of Minnesota was adraittei
Its Advent. settlers were appearing aloug t he eastern borde
this time Congregation alists in this country we
"Volved in the "plan of union." They had accepted the fallacy
Congregationalism could not flourish west of the Hudson river, i
the interior states they were dallying with Prcsbj-terianism, and ii
of org:ani2ing Congregational churches in New York, Ohio and IHinois
were going into the Presbyterian fold. It was a mistake for which they
Tiad only themselves to blame. Hence the earliest annals of the denom-
ination in the state reveal a confused blending of the two polities,
¦hich continued (br the first ten years. But "the renaissance olXongre-
gationalism" was at hand, and alread.v there were clear-headed leaders
on the ground who appreciated their heritage and believed in the Con-
We may date the advent of Congregation alism among
The Pioneers, the white people of the State from the coming to Minne-
sota of two young men under commission of the American
Home Missionary Society, the Sev. Richard S. Hall and the Rev. Charles
Scccorabe. Theformcrwasafterwards, and till 1874, our superintendent of
liomemiBsions; the latter was the founder of the First Church of St. An-
thony, now the First Congregational Church of Minneapolis, and the first
to lie organized in the state. Both of these pioneer leaders arestillliving
and bearing fiTiit in an honored old age. Their work and that of others
¦who soon came into the state was of very great value.
This was the pioneer period when the territory be-
,. "^^^ came a state, when its 6.000 people became 172,000,
isoo-BU ' when the population settled along the eastern bordera,
in the southern part of the state and up the river
"valleys, asfar west as Glencoe, and as far north as Sauk Rapids, before rail-
roads had reached the state. Then our churches grew from nothing to
Jbrty-three, and some of the strongest of them were planted, as Minnc-
jipolis First (St. Anthony) in '51, Excelsior in '53, Winona in '54, Fari-
bault, Northfield, Lake City, Spring Valley in '56. Austin, Minneapolis
Plymouth, Glencoe, Owatonna, Wabasha. Zumbrota in '57, Rochester,
St. Paul Plymouth in '58, and others. The "hard times" of 56and'7,
"the great revival and the anti-slaverj* agitation were the events of
prominence. We may call this period that of the planting and training
of our churches in Minnesota.
This brings us to the time of darkest shadows and
V" brightest lights. The years '61-5 were made tragical by
lwfio-70 ' the CivilWar andthe Indianoutbreak. When the troops
were mustered out in 1865, there were 250,000 people
in the state; yet one in every ten, or .25,000 men had sen-ed in the
ivar. We do not expect to find much church growth in this time. But
the next five years were exceedingly prosperous. Immigration was re-
sumed ; new towns sprang up, and ever>" kind of business was rushing—
in fact, too much so. By 1870 there were over400,000 people here. The.
records show a number of important churches started, such as Plainview
in '63, St. Cloud in *64, Alexandria, Fairmont. MinneapoliBSecond(now
Park Ave.l and Waseca in '68, Mankuto, Gleuwood and Hutchinson
The most important event for Congregationalism in
Carlcton CollcKc. this decade was the founding of Carleton College, by
the State Association at Faribault in 1866. It was
literally the child of the churches, born in a revival; and its etiuipnient
waa the prayers and small gifts made with great selfsacrifice of tlioBC
pioneers and home missionaries. The preparatory school was opened
in 1867; but it was not tUl 1870-71, after many struggles that the col-
lege department waaorgaiiized and placed in a position to licgin its be-
neficent work, when Dr. J. W. Strong was made president, and Wm. Carle- J
ton of Massachusetts gave it ¥50,000, and it received his m
^(,j An epoch of inflatet! valnes followed hy financial prostrM
Third Decade, tion, of the grasshopper scourge, of continued ir
1870-80. tion and of returning prosperity. The population i
moat reached 800,000. Railroads were built across the state and eburQ
extension followed them; for the bulk nf the immigratio
the newer jmrts of the state, west and northwest. In IS74 Rev. L. |
Cobb, D. D., took charge of the home missionary work and new orgal
ij^tions Ix'gan to multiply. By 1880, 130 churches were enrolled. 1
are too numerous now to specify, but we see the growth reach n
Duluth, Brainerd and Glyndon, westward to Morris, Montevideo, (
tonville, Marshall and Worthingtoii. The state is now fairly opened n
for settlement ; government lands arc becoming scarce, the frontier li
has disappeared and the immigration is flowing over into tlie Dakota
The The great features of this recent period a
Fourth Detade, and enlargement of our city churches and
18SO-U0. respond with the great growth of the cities, the Ixgi
nings of work among the foreign population, the Scondin.
mians and Germans, and the great development of our Sunday Schoi
work. No decade has seen such all-around increase, not less thaneighfl
churches having been planted. But as the great growth in populat
has been in the cities there we find the church growth. Winona
Congregational churches, Duluth with its suburbs has three.
St, Paul had 4.1,473 people with one Congregational church, while 8
1890 it had 133,156 people and eight Congregational churches a
ten missions. Minneapolis in 1880 had 46,f:87 people and four Col
gregational churches. In 1890 it had 164,738 people, sixteen Congreg
tional churches, and twelve missions. During tbistime there has also 3i
veloped a flouriBhingchurch in Stillwater. Ofthet\
state having a population of 2.000 and over, there are Congregatioitt
churches in ail except Albert Lea, Hastings, Moorhend, Red Wing and S
Peter. We need not emphasize the importance of the dt3' v
of the rapid centra iiiation of population the world over.
This is a very important phase of the new Congregj
The Foreign tionalism that Mi eves in itself and has courage and ei
'^"'^- gy. In 1S81 Dr. L. H. Cobb was called to another p
sitiou and the Rev. M. W. Montgomery became the superintendent 8
home missions. He was no sooner fairly at work than he discii\
the close connection lictween our work and the great Evangelii'nl n
ment in Scandinavia, kiimvii ns the Swetlish Mission Friencla. In history
polity, doctrine and purpose thej- are esaentially CoagregationalistB.
In 1884 Mr. Montgomery was made superintendent of Scandinavian
work in this country and the Rev. J. H. Morley took his place in this
state, and is still at the helm. This work among the Scandinavians is
one of great promise. There are now eleven Scandinavian Congrega-
tional churches in the state. There is a flourishing Bohemian church nt
Silver Lake, end a mission in St, Paul. Work has also l)een started
among the Germans.
The ^° aggressive denominational Sunday school work had
Sunday School liecn done previous to this decade. But new life has
Work. come into this department resnlting in the appoint-
ment in 1S88 of the Rev. R. P. Herrick as superintendent of state Sun-
dayschool work. An assistant is now working with him. Our schoiils
more than doubled their enrollment during this period am
number 273 schools with S."), 645 members.
IV. THE CHURCHES LOCATED.
-*VRKIKG to the work now in hand, we shall best
p the present situation by studying the fol-
wing maps, diagrams and figures. Assuming that the
reader knows the general geography of the state and cities, these sketch
maps are intended only to locate the churches approjcimately.
Conference boundaries are marked with heavy lines and are desig-
nated by Roman numerals. In each conference the counties are given
and the churches denoted by Arabic numerals. The population is given
with each county.
I Anoka Oonterence. * \'mr. i Sandstone )Sn-ediiih).
Don El as
New Richland. I
rv nana. Valley Oonferenos-
(S« n"p. Conf.)
(s5 N. P. Conf.)
Hn ™ey" '
4 Maple Bav.
B Mentor. ¦
Redwood, 1 Lamlierton.
1 Dnluth, PUgrim.
Total Population, 57,404.
1 Berth a.
(if« Central Conn
Vm Winona Conference.
Goodhne, I Cannon Falls.
"VI OwatoiuiR Oonferenoa.
Olmatead, 1 High Forest.
18,434 2 Rochester,
a Dodge Center.
Wabasha, 1 Elgin.
ia,fi70 2 LakeCitv.
2 SprloB Valley.
, t SE-^„^
Winona, 1 St,'charles. °'
4 ¦' 2nd.
Total Population, J 33.823.
1 Cannon Citv.
PacifiS 34 ;;
"VH WoBtern Conference.
One Congregotional church to e.BOO
There are IT conntiea with a com-
3 Lake Stay.
bined population of J40.5HT In which
there is no Congresational chorch.
Comparing the Ye
ar Books for 1891 of the five leading
nations of Minnesota, we reach tbe
riitlan.. following result, a
at the end of last
allowing their comparative strength
1. Methodists, - - 287 Chnrches. - - 20,270 Memliers. |
2. Baptists. - - - ',97
- - - 14,073
3. PresbytmimH, - - 184.
- - 13,028
4. Congregatioiialists, - 182
- - - 13,250
5. Episcopalians. - 132
- - 9,(U7
THE CHURCHES ORGANIZED. 19
In the United States there is one Congregationalist to less than one
Bpiscopalian, more than two Presbyterians, eight Baptists and nine
Methodists. In Minnesota the ratio is somewhat different, viz.; one
Congregationalist to three-fourths of an Episcopalian, one Presbyterian,
one Baptist and one and one-half Methodists. The data are not at
hand for a comparison with the Lutherans. The Roman Catholics claim
a constituency of 300,000 in Minnesota, but their method of computa-
tion reckons families where we reckon individuals. The Year Book for
1890 reports over 10,000 Congregational families. We have over 14,
000 church members and 25,645 in our Sunday schools. We may safely
say that the Congregational constituency of Minnesota is not less than
60,000 On this basis the Roman Catholics outnumber us five to one.
As a Congregational state Minnesota ranked last year twelfth, in the
Union, in the number of churches, eleventh in church membership, tenth
in Sunday school enrollment and fifth in benevolent contributions.
V. THE CHURCHES ORGANIZED.
The ry^O learn more definitely the features of church work
Local Church. J^ ^^^ organization in the local churches, circulars
w^ere sent out to the pastors asking a number of questions. Re-
plies were received from eighty-two, which may be taken as thoroughly
representative, if not complete. . From these it appears :
1st. That the greater part of our churches are incorporated without
an ecclesiastical society. Fifty-four churches are incorporated and
tw^enty-four have ecclesiastical societies. Only three rent pews and two
of them are in the larger cities.
2nd. That the Sunday School work is improving in quality as well
as in quantity. Teachers meetings are held in thirty-two churches.
Normal work and Inductive Bible study is increasing.
3rd. That the Christian Endeavor Society has taken a strong rhold
in our churches and is being extensively utilized. Of the 457 Endeavor
Societies in the state, 123 are in Congregational churches. Of the
eighty-four replies, seventy-five report Endeavor Societies, and twenty-
one have junior societies. To the question, "Are your young people do-
ing any work outside of the prayer meeting?" forty-one report, Yes,
Twelve pastors say their societies are doing missionary work. Five are
in temperance work, one sustains a cottage prayer meeting, one keeps
¦up a reading room, several have literary societies. To the question,
"Have you any criticism on the society?" the answers are almost
unanimously "No." The few criticisms are very guarded and do not
touch the central work and principle of the societ3'.
-ttb. That (.he women's organizations are indispensible to n
¦church work. Twenty churches report woman's Foreign Missionary
societies, aeventeen liHVe Home Missionary societies and forty-four com-
Ijiiie their organization for both home and foreign work. The Ladies'
Aid Society is everywhere, seTenty-two being reported. No well regu-
lated church can do without it. Forty-two children's missionary socie-
ties are reported and eighteen young peoples.
,5th. That of the eighty*two churches heard from, seventy-seven con-
tributed to the American Board, eighty-two to home missions, sixty-four
to the American Missionary Association, sixty-eight to the Congrega-
tional Union, fifty-sis to the New West Education CommisBion, forty-
six to the College and Education Society and seventy to the Sunday
School and Publishing Society, while thirty-five say they give to other
6th. That three maintain n local church paper; thirty-iii
¦denominational jiajiers are largely taken in their churches. Fifteen b
literary societies, or boy's clubs, or young men's societies. Sixteen fa
7th. Among the special fixtures of the churches we note: Faribi
supports a pupil in an A. M. A. school. Medfbrd sustains four SniMi
schools. Owatouna matntainsamissionaryin Japan; Glyndonast
in India. Many churches in the cities have mission schools. Elk
has a branch church. The First Church and Plymouth, Minneapo
THE CHURCHES ORGANIZED
and Pilgrim Church, Duluth, have missionaries in foreign lands. Pilgrim
Church, Duluth, has a club for young men; a mid-week church night,
vrhich is a combination of an evening for church business, social enjoy-
ment and the prayer meeting. The First Church, Minneapolis, is espec-
ially strong in its social organization and in Bible study. Plymouth, Min-
neapolis, is thoroughly organized. The young men have a club ; the
various branches of women's work are unified through a central organi-
zation; free kindergarten work is maintained in connection with
its missions. The church at Wabasha helps support a teacher in Japan.
Magazine clubs and paper exchanges are in several churches. Many
churches district their parishes and put calling committees over each
GROWTH OF CONGREGATIONAL
CHURCHES IN MINNESOTA.
Note. — The apparent standstill from
1880-5 is due to the effort made then
to drop some churches, that were
not active, most of which are still
On the whole there is here a live and as a rule well organ-
ized body of churches. The organization must depend of
course on local needs and the strength of the church. In general,
even the weakest church must have a Sunday school and Ladies'
Aid society. The only excuse for not having an Endeavor society is the
lack of young people. By no means all the efficient work is in the larijc
cities. Some exceedingly successful service is being done by churches in
the smaller towns. Not a multiplicity of intricate tools, but the use that"
is made of the ordinary ones, proves the workman's skill. Nothing re-
veals more the intelligence and consecration of a church than the use it
makes of the Sunday school, the Endeavor society, the Ladies' Aid so-
ciety and the missionary organizations. The seven l)enevolent societies
stand ready to help the weakest as well as the strongest churches to
preach the gospel to every creature, and very many churches contribute
to them all. The door of opportunity is open and the pressure of the
world's need is very intense on the strong and weak alike. Dare wc j-et
say, we are doing the best we can?
For purposes of fellowship and mutual helpftilneas, the
Confc^uea. elmirhcs are banded together in district conferences and
also in a State Association. Of the eight conferences a
few words may he said. At the head of the column and first in wealth,
members, gifts and responsibilities, because embracing the "twin
cities," is the Anoka conference. It has forty-eight churchcsandtwenty-
two missions or Sunday schools. A proposition to divide this body is
now Ijefore the conference. The two oldest and best trained conferences
are the ones lying in the sontheastern quarter of the state, and known
as the Winona, reaching along the river from the southern state line to
Lake City, and the Owatonua reaching from Austin on the south to
Northfield on the north. In many respects, the strongest and best de-
veloped churches are in these conferences.
Central conference covers a large region in the northern central part
cifthestate. Ithassomeoftheoldeat churches, as Princeton, Clearwater,
Sauk Centre and some of the newest, as Pillabury. It has five self-
supporting clinrches. We have now reached the home missionary fields,
which are to be found pre-eminently in this and the four remaining dis-
tricts. The Northern Pacific conference reaches from Duhith to Breeken-
ridge, embracing the vast, partially developed iron, pine, hardwood and
jirairie lands and nuinbering thirtynine churches of which but five arc
si'lf-supporting. South of this are the three remaining conferences, the
Minnesota Valley covering seven countiea and numbering fifteen chnrclies,
¦only two of which are self-aupporting; the Western ¦with five counties
and fouriieen churches, but one of which is unaided, and the Mankato
at the aouth-west comer of the state, embracing twelve counties and
twenty-three home missionary churches, with six unaided churches.
These conferences are the picket line of our force. Nowhere in the state
is more needed or better work being done than in these home missionary
Meeting once a year is the State Association, with a
state ^jjjj, purpose^ hut larger scoi>e and numbers than the
district conference. Each church is entitled to represen-
tation by its pastor and one delegate, and one additional delegate for
¦every fifty members after the first hundred.
ItiO J too jr- ,0 .t- g^j ^- ^j^^
Besides this there are other lines of organization, as the Minnesota
¦Congregational Club, meeting monthly in Miniicapohs or St. Paul. Its
•ohgect is, to iiromote the spiritual, intellectual and social welfare of its
members and to help the Congregational churches of Minnesota and
the kingdom of Christ at large. The woman's state Missionary So-
brieties, are two in number, the Foreign, auxilliary to the Woman's
Board of the Interior, and the Home, lending its aid to the six benevo-
lent societies that ai-e working in this country. There are local organ-
izations as the St. Paul Cougregational Union, which has dom
promote the spread of our work in St. Paul, by fostering home mis-
sionary churches -and mission Sunda}' schools at favorable points.
Several of the newei- churches have felt its efficient influence. "Church
"Work," a local paper, is published in its behalf The Minnesota Home-
Missionary Society was organized in 1S7S. It is ausilliary to the Ameri-
can Home Missionary Societj-. Its office is at 408 Nicollet Avenue,
Minneapolis, where the auperinteniient may lie found.
This is a distinctive feature of the Congregational polity
charch Conncils. that is extensively Used. The ecclesiastical council has
no authority except advisory. It meets, does its work
and dissolves. But in expressing fellowship, in settling trying cases oC
church discipline, in ordaining or installing ministers, and in other im-
portant matters of church lile, it is of very great value, and Minnesota
Congregation alists make large use of it.
VI. THE CHURCHES AT WORK.
TO THE question, what is now the pccuUarmissionof Congregation-
alism, we have only to say. To be true to its traditions and to con-
tinue to be an evangelical, missiimary, educating and unity-loving"
church. And such we believe is true of Congregationalism ia Minne-
On this point there is not much to be said except to call
EvaaK»licnl. nttention to the fact lliat we have had no heresy trials
and httle or no heresy hunting in Minnesota, and that
not because of indifiercnce, but because the churches have been better em-
ployed. There have been very few detections from the ranks of the
ministry. This region has never been a theological storm center. The
churches have demanded and have had an intelligent and able ministrj'.
and in the rapid development of the state the burden of work has been
so heavy and so constant as to demand a strong faith and firm grasp of
the fundamentals of Christian truth. Without boasting of our ortho-
doxy, we are glad to state the fact that our churches are evangelical.
Only an intelligent and working faith could have done the work that
the denomination has done in the Northwest. The creed referred to on
page 6 is the doctrinal basis of tbe majority of churches organized in
the past seven years. Bat the best proof of faith is its works. Churches
do not give their money and their children to missions except as they
arc loyal to Christ as the Son of God. That our churches are doing-
this the following ijaragra])hs will show.
THE CHURCHES AT WORK. 25
The relation of Minnesota Congregationalism to mis-
Missionary. gions may be best understood by considering its relations
The Amencan , , . ^ , ^
Board. ^^ ^*** seven benevolent societes. What have they done
for Minnesota ? And what has Minnesota done for them?
Starting with the oldest and most world-wide society, we find
that the American Board began work among the Indians of Minnesota-
in 1835, and continued it until about ten years ago when it trans-
ferred all its Indian w^ork to the American Missionary Association.
On the other hand, Minnesota has given twenty-seven of its sons
and daughters to the foreign field, as follows: Turkey, Rev. and
Mrs. Americus Fuller, Charlotte D. Spencer, Mrs. Martha A. Ball^
Susan Hawley Olmstead, Lizzie Emma Kirtland, Newton H. Bell^
Mrs. Emily H. Bell, Daniel M. B. Thom, M. D., Helen Louise Dewey,.
John A. Ainslie, Henry K. Wingate; North China, Mrs. Isabella Riggs
Williams; Shansi, Miss D'Etta Hewett; Dakota, John Page Wil-
liamson, Thomas L. Riggs, Margaret Louise Irvine; India, Anna
Love Millard, Mrs. Abbie Snell Burnell; Japan, Franklin Bassett^
Emily Marie Brown, Susan Annette Searle, Nina Stewart; Micro-
nesia, Lillie S. Cathcart, Mrs. Mary* Goldsbury Channon ; East Central
Africa, Mrs. Ida Clary Wilcox; Persia, Hannah M. Griffith. The con-
tributions to the American Board from this state, from the first gift in
1849 of $2.50, to the $10,839.68 given this year, amount in all to.
$109,707.07, including $5,921.12 in legacies.
American It may be news to some that Plymouth Church, Minne-
Missionary Asso- apolis, began its life in 1857 under the fostering care of
ciation. ^^jg societ}', and was its beneficiary to the amount of
$800, which it has repaid many times over. This society was oper-
ating here at that time because the American Home iMissionary Society
w^as then in covenant with the Presbyterians to organize no Congre-
gational church where a Presbyterian church already existed.
Thirty-six Minnesota people have worked or are now working-
under this society. In the field today are the following: North Dakota,.
Lillian Smith, Roanna F. Challis, Fort Berthold. Kentuckj', Mr. and
Mrs.H.E. Sargent, Mary A. Bye, Williamsburg. Tennesee, Mr. and Mrs.
W. F. Cameron, Crossvillc; Mrs. Julia B. Nelson, Jonesboro; Pres. E.^
M. Cravath, Fisk University, Nashville. North Carolina, Ida Wells,
Wilmington; Miss C. P. Lewis, Beaufort; Annette Jackson, Blowing-
Rock; Walter P. Rogers, Saluda. Alabama, Rev. E. M. Sloan, Nat;
Chas. P. Stevens, Mobile; Miss L. S. Downs, Athens. For over twenty
years Minnesota has been giving to the A. M. A., the first gift being-
$971.86 in 1871; its largest contribution being $3,84.8.90, in 18S6;
and its last year's offering being $2,336.44. Total for twenty ycars^
New West "^^^^ latest born of the societies that labors to o
Kdueation Monnouisin and Jesuitism hy means of Christian ednca-
Commlaaion. tion, and whose field is Utah, Kew Mexico, Indian Terri-
tory and adjacent regions, has employed a number ol'iady teachers from
Minnesota, as Etta F. and Julia A. Hunt, Ellen A. Martin, Lydia Sedgers,
Josephine and Bertha Heginan. It has received since 1880 from this
state, $15,431.38, including $1,520.63 given this year.
College AsanoT^anisatiou to help struggling colleges and young
and Education men preparing for the ministry, this is doing a large and
*"" often unappreciated work. Nineteen students in Minne-
sota colleges, and other young men from this state studying in the theo-
logical seminaries, thirty iii all, were on its list last year. It has given
uur students, in all. $5,715, and Minnesota has contributed to this
work $2, 123.36.
snndav School Besides furnishing denominational literature, this organi-
and Publishing nation has done some very virell planned and eiecuted
sodety, Sundaysehool missionary work. Itisbutlittleoverthree
years since it began to assist us in Minnesota, and a glance at the dia-
gram on page 22 shows the result. It has put into Minnesota about
$7,000, and has received from us about $3,000.
Ameriean ^^ ^^^P P"' the roof over churches by gifts and loans to
Congregational those that need help, and to assist in building parson-
Union, ages, is this society's mission. It began work in Minne-
aotainl855and '6. It has helped build 122 meeting houses and twenty-
seven parsonages at a cost of $87,454.61, of which $8,881 was for par-
sonages. In return it has received from our churches $47,500, $7,500
being for parsonage building.
American Home We come finally to what has well been called "the mother
Missfonarj- of us all." It is the great agency for home evangcliia-
society. tion. It has had the care of nearly all our churches and
helping much more than half of them. It is assisting in paying
e to Minnesota this j-ear $25,672.20.
In forty years it has placed in our
return $116,354.15. These figures
•st that Congregational! sts take in
the salaries of 121 ministers. It
and received $11,609.96 in retui
work $609,413.13 and received
iire eloquent in declaring the ii
We thus see that six of the seven societies have done
work in Minnesota. The totals given and received by
1 forty years are shown in the following
MINNESOTA'S GIFT TO MISSIONS IN FORTY YEARS.
Col. and Ed. Society, $2,613.36.
Cong. S, S. and Pub, Societj-, about $3,000.
N. W. Eti- Com., $15.431.3S.
.\. -M. X.. $36.2U.90.
A. C. U., $+7,500.00.
A. B. C. F- M„ $10;i,707,07.
.\. H, M,S,.$nO,.S5-t.l5
A. M. A., $«00,
Col. and Ed. Society, $5.7t.-..
S. S. and Pu1j. Socle
A. H. M, S., $609,413.13.
Not less than fifteen men have lieen called from the pastorate in
Minnesota to prominent places in general missionary, reformatory, edu-
cational or evangelistic TCork.
From these facts and the additional one that over 14,000 persons,
equal to our entire present membership, have been received into our
churches on confession of faith in forty years, sho'w plainly that Minne-
sota Congregationalists believe in a missionary gospel.
With New England people, love for education seems to
Edncation. Ije inborn, and so thej' have furnished a host of edu-
catcJrs. Minnesota being the newer New England, we
find here the traditional educational fervor. Congregationalists in
Minnesota, as in New England, are found to l)e closely identified with
the best school work. We find them on school boards, in president's
and protessor's chairs, in teacher's positions in city and country, and
their children are minieroiis in schools and colleges. Thej' are loyal
fritndsof the public schools aud are keenly alive to anything that affect*
their welfare. But to supplement, stimulate and elevate the public
schools they have from the beginning recognized the need of schools for
higher education on an independent and Christian foundation. Hence
there arose the Christian colleges and aeaderaies of Nevr England and
the western colleges that Congregation alists have fostered.
Hence Carleton College, at Northfield, was founded in
the early days, and its story is an integral part of the
life of Congregationalism in Minnesota. It has never
been a sectarian school; but the Congregationalista founded it and they
have been, and are today its natural constituents. It has now tehind it
twenty years of college work. Of its abont 160 grad nates, over forty are
doingcducational work; at least fifteen are preaching or preparingto; ten
are continuing their studies; five graduates and three others, formerly
connected with the institution, are in the foreign mission fields. One
graduate in the foreign field is entirely supported and another partly
snpported bycontributionsofthe faculty and students of thecoUege. Over
2,5CH) young people have been in attendance for longer or shorter periods,
audit is said that 90 percent of the students are Christians or become so
before leaving the school. In its t-aching force, buildings, equipment,
students and standards the college has grown with the passing years.
It has welcomed tlie "new education," and adopted the latest improve-
ments In methods. With its able teachers, broad nnd liberal intellectual
standard and earnest Christian tone. It is a worthy contribution of
Minnesota Congregatioualiats to the cause of Christian education. It
represents the best two featuresia college work, viz.: love for learning,
for purely scientific investigation, seen especially in its school of
pure mathematics and astronomy, and a strong practical bent
attested b3' its sending forth so many young men and women, enriched
and strengthened and Inspired with a purpose to be of use to their fellow
men. Carleton College still needs the prayers, gifts and patronage of
its constituents. Theyliavedealtgcnerously withherinthe past, and will,
no doubt, in days to come. From Minnesota $228,501.42 has been
given to Carleton, of which.$89,612.S3 came Irom Northfield. Besides
this there ai
Theological The time has not yet come for a theological school in
TrafQing. Minnesota, and so our students for the ministry attend
the eastern seminaries. Naturally the seminary at Chicago attracts
the young men from Minnesota. Minnesota funds have helped ma-
terially to build up this escellent school of the prophets. The recently
organized Scandinavian department, with its five teachers and fifty-six
students is closely related to the Scandinavian work in Minnesota
which is so fnll of promise. The SlavicdepartraentntOberlihalsotouclica
of the late Hon. William Wind om. An effort is now on foottosecureforit
an ample endowment, which will enable it to do a much needed work in
¦western Minnesota. Two classes have graduated, and its former stu-
dents are now doing college work at Carleton and elsewhere. Its field
is a large Scandinavian and American population.
chriBtian Since the coming together of divided Christendom has
Union. heen the dream and hope of earnest Christians, Congre-
gationalists have done what they could to hasten its approach. The
efforts and plans have moved along several lines. It was once thought
that it would be brought about by undenominational agencies— union
efforts outside of the churches — and into these went much of Congrega-
tional effort and money. It is a notable fact that all but two of our
benevolent organizations have the name American, not Congregational,
and that they were originally union efforts, but have been left to the
Congregationalists by the withdrawal of other co-operating churches
within the past thirty j'ears. But the Bible society, the Young Men's
Christian Association, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union,
the Sunday School Union and city missions do not do this work,
and this method of obtaining Christian union is a failure. The
hope then arose that by organizing Union Churches the sects would
disappear. In the nature of the case a Union church that gives equal
rights to all must be simple and broad in creed and democratic in polity,
which is really Congregationalism, Many churches have been so organ-
ized and with most happy results. We have a number of such churches
in Minnesota, as the churches at Hawley, Elk River, Glyndon and St,
Louis Park. Congregationalism is adapted to just this thing, and we
expect to see more and more of it. But it does not do away with the
evil, and something else must be done.
The plan now advocated is that of Federation. This asks no branch of
the church to commit suicide for tlje good of the kingdom. It demands
respect for each denomination's work and worth. It puts each of the
aisterhood of churches on perfect equality. Then it proposes a plan of
co-operation. In this federation no evangelical church la to trespass on
another's work. No sect is to feel itself indispensible to a community, if
that place is already supplied with evang-j.;a- churches. Believing that
there is enough for all the churches to do without crowding, this plan
would remove the evils of over-organized towns and villages, and ot
bitter feeling between Christians of different churches, and ofthe pitiful
struggle for existence on the part of small churches, by means Of mntual
concessions, fraternal conferences, arbitration of disputed points by
some mutually satisfactory committee. For such a plan as this the
Congregational] St s of Minnesota stand heart and soul, and have so
pledged themselves. In the conferences held in St. Paul and Minneapolis
in 1890 byVepresentatives ofthe leadingdenorainations. steps were taken
" s of 1S90 and '91 resolutions iu
favor of it were adopted and all other steps ta h en tli at were possible.
We wait now. for our sister denominations to do likewise. We are here
to stay. We are growing and fiill of hope and courage. But we are not
licre to tear down another's work or to make war on our brethren. Let
¦us have peace — a peace that is self-re9|)ectiiig, and that is the basis of
aggi-essive Christian wnrt. Our present hopeof Christian union is not in
auhmiasion to hierarchical authority, nor in the consolidation of all
churches into one, uor in all uniting on the restoration of some primitive
irustoms and forms, but in such a lederation of existing ehurches as shall
put all methods and polities itnd churches lidding to evangelical creeds in
practical, friendly working order. Before the union ol" the American
folonies came the federation of the colonies. Is not federation of the
American churches the next step ?
Ill conclusion, we as Congregational ists, looking back
Advance oyer our rapid but Solid development and forward to a
mighty work in this great state, may well remember two
things: First, that our polity is pliable and capable of many uses and
adaptations, as the needs for such shall arise. The true ring of Congre-
gationalism in individuals, churches, schools, or missionary societies, is
discovered by sounding tlie seven notes : Loyalty, liberty, fellow-
ship, evangelical faith, missionary zeal, educational enthusiasm and
love for Christian union. Any change not inconsistent with these
is allowable. Secondly, Minnesota, in more than one sense the high-
land of America, has a great service to render. It is a city set
on a hill. It is to lie Christianiied. There is to be built up here
ii Christian civilization. Christ is to be glorified by filling
churches, schools, homes, business and institutions with His Spirit.
A great responsibility in this work rests with Congregationalists.
Among the advance steps to be taken as soon as possible are; to push
forward evangelistic work in city and ouutry, not among a favored
middle class, bat with the highest and the lowest, Americans, Scandina-
vians, Bohemians and Germans, till all have been reached by His power
"who tasted death for every man;" to coiitiniie to increase the gifts to
missions, not only to the point of self-support, but as long as the world
needs our help; to endow our colleges and academies till they rank with
the best in the land in means and facilitien ; and to work for a practical
federation with other evangelical churches, that our Lord's prayer
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