Often referred to as 'The Red Church,’ Minnekirken, or The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, is proud to adorn the vibrant and diverse Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago. One of the area’s local landmarks, this Lutheran congregation has celebrated its Norwegian roots for more than 100 years.
It is important to the congregation that everyone feels welcome here. The single most important focus at Minnekirken is Gud er kjærlighet (trans. God is love) painted in beautiful letters above our altar space, as a reminder of this core Biblical message.
Our church is widely acclaimed for its architectural beauty, both inside and outside. It traces its origin to ten Norwegian immigrants who met on June 29, 1905, in a private home in the strongly Norwegian neighborhood of Logan Square. The meeting was the result of the initiative of Pastor Johan B. Meyer, a onetime deep-sea sailor, born in Helgeland, Norway.
The cornerstone for the church was laid in 1908, and the congregation worshipped in the Festsalen while the main sanctuary was being built overhead. The building was completed in 1912. Pastor Meyer is quoted in the church‘s inauguration booklet:
It has been seven hard years of hard work and difficulty. The task and work to build this expensive church, with our small and poor conditions, along with trying to gather people for worship has given us more than enough with which to contend. And at times it seemed that our courage and strength would completely fail, but then our belief in and love for the work was a persisting factor.
The first Congregation struggled during the 1920s and was ultimately forced to close the church in 1928. The church became known as Minnekirken when the forebears of the present Congregation took over the Church building in 1932. Dismayed at the fate of the first congregation, Pastor Meyer returned and reopened the church in 1934 under its new name: The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church.
For the Next Century
Minnekirken has been the center of Norwegian culture in Greater Chicagoland. Members of Minnekirken have taken the lead in:
• The annual Norwegian Syttende Mai Parade (17th of May Norwegian Constitution Day)
• The Norwegian National League of Chicago
• The local Norwegian Chamber of Commerce
• Promoting Norwegian arts through concerts and events
Whether you grew up with the church, attend the annual Taste of Norway cookie sale, or simply enjoy seeing 'The Red Church' on the square, we hope you will consider helping us as we strive to preserve the church building for the next century. Please go to our Campaign page to read more about the challenge and how you can help.