Religion and Charity
The Dakota people, the original inhabitants of the area where Minneapolis now stands, believed in the Great Spirit and were surprised that not all European settlers were religious. Over fifty denominations and religions and some well known churches have since been established in Minneapolis. Those who arrived from New England were for the most part Christian Protestants, Quakers, and Universalists. The oldest continuously used church in the city, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in the Nicollet Island/East Bank neighborhood was built in 1856 by Universalists and soon afterward was acquired by a French Catholic congregation. Formed in 1878 as Shaarai Tov, in 1902 the first Jewish congregation in Minneapolis built the synagogue in East Isles known since 1920 as Temple Israel. St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral was founded in 1887, opened a missionary school in 1897 and in 1905 created the first Russian Orthodox seminary in the U.S. Edwin Hawley Hewitt designed both St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church on Hennepin Avenue just south of downtown. The first basilica in the United States, and Co-Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Basilica of Saint Mary near Loring Park was named by Pope Pius XI in 1926.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Decision magazine, and World Wide Pictures film and television distribution were headquartered in Minneapolis for about fifty of the years between the late 1940s into the 2000s. Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye met while attending the Pentecostal North Central University and began a television ministry that by the 1980s reached 13.5 million households. Today, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in southwest Minneapolis with about 6,000 attendees is the world's largest Lutheran congregation. Christ Church Lutheran in the Longfellow neighborhood is among the finest work by architect Eliel Saarinen. The congregation later added an education building designed by his son Eero Saarinen.
Religions outside the Judeo-Christian mainstream also have a home in Minneapolis. In 1972, a relief agency resettled the first Shi'a Muslim family from Uganda. By 2004, between 20,000 and 30,000 Somali Muslims made the city their home. In 1972, Dainin Katagiri was invited from California to Minneapolis—by one account, a place he thought nobody else would want to go—where he founded a lineage which today includes three Sōtō Zen centers among the city's nearly twenty Buddhist and meditation centers. Atheists For Human Rights has its headquarters in the Shingle Creek neighborhood in a geodesic dome. Minneapolis has had a chartered local body of Ordo Templi Orientis since 1994.
Philanthropy and charitable giving are part of the community. More than 40% of adults in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area give time to volunteer work, the highest such percentage of any large metropolitan area in the United States. Catholic Charities is one of the largest providers of social services locally. The American Refugee Committee helps one million refugees and displaced persons in ten countries in Africa, the Balkans and Asia each year. In 2011, Target Corp. was #42 in a list of the best 100 corporate citizens in CR magazine for corporate responsibility officers. The oldest foundation in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Foundation invests and administers over nine hundred charitable funds and connects donors to nonprofit organizations. The metropolitan area gives 13% of its total charitable donations to the arts and culture. The majority of the estimated $1 billion recent expansion of arts facilities was contributed privately.
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