Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 21, 1954

Only Ten Congregations In Minnesota

Murray Marshall, Dallas, Texas

Minnesota, 11th largest state in the Union, where some three million people live, bounded by Iowa on the south, South and North Dakota on the west, Wisconsin and Lake Superior on the east, and Canada (Ontario and Saskatchewan) on the north, has only ten congregations of the body of Christ. And yet, in state government, roads, farming, education and other secular realms it is a very progressive and advanced state. Minneapolis and St. Paul, its largest cities, sitting side-by-side on the Mississippi river, are larger than Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. Called the Twin Cities, with a combined population of almost 900,000, there are only two congregations there, one in each city, the largest being about 90 members.

This state, famous for lumbering, 10,000 lakes, Paul Bunyan, International Falls, Duluth harbor, the Arrowhead country, good fishing, headwaters of the Mississippi river, Mayo Clinic and Rochester, good farming, Indian reservations, flour mills, Mesabi iron range and other iron deposits, and other outstanding features, is a ripe field for the gospel. There in ten years the cause has increased 1,000 percent in number of congregations and members. From one congregation ten years ago to ten now.

The first work was in Minneapolis, that is, this side of the digressive split which carried most of the Cause in the north into digression. This dates back to about 1910. In 1943 Harvey Childress was supported to do full-time work in Minneapolis, and in 1944 Guy Southern, Jr. joined him to work in the Twin Cities area. These two men are still in the Twin Cities, and doing a fine work.

The second congregation was in Wadena, in west central Minnesota. Jimmy Jividen is doing a good work there. Park Rapids, just north of Wadena, is another good congregation. Wayne Mickey did a good work in Rochester, southeastern Minnesota. Don Kern is there now. All these men are fine preachers. Pine City, where I recently held the first meeting in their new building, is in the east central part of the state.

Don Kern worked in Mankato beginning about 1949, a year after the work was started. And recently Arthur W. Francis, Jr. has moved there. He has done effective mission work in other fields in the midwest and northwest, and is a valuable addition to the full-time preachers in this area.

Among recent congregations, established in the last few years, is Hibbing, in the iron mining district, where Arthur Stumne and wife live; he was one of the two who helped get the Cause going in Pine City. (More about him in another article.) He is not a full-time preacher, but active in the Cause. Another new work is at Duluth where Brother Crumri preaches. He needs more support, as he is only being partially supported at this time. He went to the "field "on faith," as his brother did to Sault St. Marie, Michigan. Winona, in the southeast, on the Mississippi river is another new work. Time and space fail me to go into detail about these good congregations and the good people who make them up and the faithful preachers in the state.

For the past several years, since 1951, Leslie Diestelkamp, a pioneer preacher in the north central states, has been preaching at Minneapolis the first self-supporting congregation in the state, and while there, he has helped a lot in the work in the state. These men I have named are great workers in the field, and I think I have forgotten the names of one or two more who are at present in the field. Since this is not a history, but a brief report on present conditions, I have not tried to name the faithful workers in former times.

Most of these congregations are small. Pine City with eleven members, before my meeting there (now with 13, two being baptized since the meeting; two more were added during the meeting, but they live in Minneapolis), is now the smallest congregation in the State! Minneapolis, with about 90, is the largest! Between two hundred and three hundred brethren today in that state, dominated by Catholics and Lutherans.

When you make your vacation trip, try Minnesota one year, with its many lakes, lovely paper-bark birch trees and sky-blue waters, a great variety of types of land, north woodlands, southern farming areas, and all. And before you go, write ahead and inquire further about the work there. Leslie Diestelkamp and Guy Southern Jr. supplied me with the information from which I condensed this article. Guy may be contacted through the church at St. Paul, Minnesota, 10 S. Grotto at Summit Avenue, phone DALE 3607. (Next article: The Church In Pine City, Minnesota.)