History of the MN UM Builders

History of the MN UM Builders

The Minnesota United Methodist Builders is proud of a rich and diverse history of supporting Methodist churches and congregations. As early as 1888, their mission was to help the denomination grow just as the city of Minneapolis was growing. Their first project was to assist in the building of Minnehaha Methodist Church at the corner of 40th Avenue and 52nd Street in Minneapolis. In those early years, the majority of loans and grants went toward buying land and erecting new church buildings and parsonages.

As Minneapolis grew, the Methodist Builders supported church development in the suburbs, and helped established churches repair and improve their properties. Although the majority of projects in the early years involved buying land and building churches, supporting ministries was also important to the organization. Some examples include providing funding for a workhouse chaplain, the purchase of a tent for evangelistic work, and sponsoring a competitive choir concert for Methodist churches. Starting In the 40’s and 50’s and extending into the 70’s support included providing buses to bring more children to church school and summer youth programs.

At first, funds for church extension came primarily from congregations. Later some estate gifts made a revolving loan fund possible, and then the base of support was broadened by organizing the Builders Club to involve individuals directly. Persons who joined the Builders Club committed to giving to two special “Calls” per year. Today those “Calls” are providing resources to churches in new ways. Over the last 20 years, the organization has helped churches shore up aging buildings, meet accessibility codes, repair leaky roofs, enhance church school areas, update a playground, and improve fire safety, among other projects.

For 133 years, starting as the Methodist Episcopal Missionary and Church Extension Society of Minneapolis and its successor, the Minnesota United Methodist Builders have made hundreds of loans and grants to build and repair churches in our area. In December 2020, the Board of the Builders took the bold step to merge their mission and assets with the Minnesota United Methodist Foundation. This exciting new chapter in the history of the organization ensures this vital ministry will continue building and repairing churches.