On the 12th of August, 1943, a group of people from Bethlehem Baptist Church met to consider and discuss the establishment of a Baptist General Conference church in the western Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. A decision was made to start the Park Baptist Church and to find a temporary location to house the new work.
An old empty tavern was located [the former Swan tavern at 4649 Excelsior Blvd. at Natchez], and with great effort was cleaned up and made presentable for worship. Later this property was purchased for $62,000.00 plus $500 for an adjoining lot. Four families were responsible for the humble beginning. The first parsonage was built at 4624 Vallacher, a block from the temporary site, in 1945.
Thirty-two people attended the first meeting of this new church on Sunday, October 10, 1943. Dedication was held on October 31, 1943. This church was officially organized as a sister church by a Council of Twin City Conference Churches on April 3, 1944. The charter membership was 22.
During September of 1946, several lots were purchased on Vernon Ave. and 41st Street. In November 1946, two more lots were added. A basement church was built on these lots, which was dedicated on June 6, 1948. In the fall of 1952, work began on the superstructure of the church. Members of the church worked four days a week to do the finish work, such as painting, installing woodwork, and laying tile. The new church was dedicated on November 22, 1953, with Mayor Carroll Hurd on hand for the festivities. Membership was 120. The building was variously known as 4093/4095/4097 Vernon Ave. Its official address now, however, is 5450 W. 41st St.
Park Baptist merged with the First Baptist Church of Hopkins in October 1969 to become Cross of Glory Baptist Church. Cross of Glory met at the Park Baptist location until September of 1970 when that site was sold and the church moved to the First Baptist Church of Hopkins site. See Cross of Glory’s website for the continuation of their history.
From 1970 to 1996 the building was variously the home of the:
First Foursquare Gospel Church (1970)
Evangelic Missionary Fellowship
Messianic Jewish Congregation: Founded and directed by Norman Nelson, this was “a mixture of Christians and Jews who are dedicated to maintaining Jewish culture while retaining a belief in Jesus as the divine Messiah,” as explained by Nelson in the November 5, 1980 Echo.
Full Gospel Temple
Faith Assembly of God (1990-96)
In 1996 the building was purchased by the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church.
If anyone has any information to add about these congregations, please contact us.