The Conference Mission

The purpose of United Methodist annual conferences is to make disciples for Jesus Christ by equipping their local congregations for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church, all to the glory of God. The Minnesota Annual Conference leads in this through what it identifies as its “Gospel Imperatives”: Reach New People (the Great Commission, Matt. 28:19-20), Cultivate Spiritual Vitality (the Great Commandment, Matt. 22:37-40), and Heal a Broken World (the Great Proclamation, Luke 4:16-21).

Starting new United Methodist faith communities and helping existing congregations reach out to their mission fields and are the two primary ways that the conference helps churches to reach new people.

Connecting churches to the ministries and resources of the United Methodist Church, and enabling them to support these ministries, are among the ways that the annual conference provides a connection for ministry beyond the local church.

Our beginnings

Our beginnings

In May 1837 Methodist missionary Alfred Brunson arrived in Minnesota to preach to the Indians. He and his party settled at Kaposia, a Dakota village at the present-day site of South St. Paul.

The first Methodist congregation, Market Street in St. Paul, was organized on Dec. 31, 1848. Under the auspices of the Wisconsin Annual Conference, more Methodist Churches were founded in Minnesota as the population grew.

In 1856, Minnesota was organized at Red Wing as a separate conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Minnesota Mission Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ was organized at Marion the next year, 1857. Edmund Clow preached to settlers in Winona County after his arrival in 1854 and, with John Fulkerson and John Haney, established the conference.

Andrew Tarnutzer, Minnesota’s first preacher of the Evangelishche Gemeinschaft (Evangelical Association), crossed the Mississippi near Winona in November 1856. He arrived in St. Paul the following February and organized two congregations. After several years of connection, first with the Wisconsin Conference, then with the Iowa, the Minnesota Conference of the Evangelical Association of North America was organized in 1868 at Emanuel’s Church, Castle Rock.



United Methodist historical societies

The United Methodist Historical Society of Minnesota is dedicated to promoting interest in the history of Minnesota United Methodism. Membership is $15 per year and is open to all. If you are a member of the United Methodist Historical Society of Minnesota you may want to join the Historical Society of The United Methodist Church or the World Methodist Historical Society.





Glimpses of the past that shaped our witness

<p>An artist’s rendering of the first Finnish Methodist Church in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Conference Archives</p>
<p>” width=”263″ height=”248″>  <span style=An artist’s rendering of the first Finnish Methodist Church in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Conference Archives





The Site of Kaposia

The Site of Kaposia

The First Methodist Mission in Minnesota was established in 1837 at Chief Little Crow’s Sioux Village of Kaposia, now South St. Paul. Two clergymen and a farmer, with the help of an interpreter, negotiated its beginning.

Driving through South St. Paul on Highway 56, you pass the original site of the village and the three mission buildings, since removed. The village was located between the bluffs and the Mississippi River. Behind the bluffs a mission farm of 150 acres was established.

The plaque commemorating the First Methodist Mission at Kaposia is part of the Dakota County Historical Society located at 130 Third St., South St. Paul, MN 55075, (651) 552-7548.


Red Rock and Missionary’s Log Cabin

Red Rock and Missionary’s Log Cabin

When trouble erupted with Chief Little Crow in 1839, two years after the founding of the mission, the pastor in charge moved part of the mission to the east side of the Mississippi River near the famous Red Rock of the Sioux, a sacred granite boulder painted with red stripes and worshipped for generations by the Indians. Pastor Benjamin Kavanaugh built a two story log cabin. The first floor became a school for children, the upper floor the pastor’s home.

Both the Red Rock and the restored cabin, the oldest Methodist building in Minnesota, can be seen on the grounds of the Newport United Methodist Church. Red Rock Camp Meetings were held near this site for many years.

Directions: Follow Highway 494 to Highway 61 going east. Turn left on Glen Road to Newport United Methodist Church.


District and Conference

The churches of the annual conference cooperate in five geographic districts: Big WatersNorth StarTwin CitiesRiver Valley, and Southern Prairie.

Every year, lay people and clergy come together for a annual conference session, where they determine mission priorities, ordain ministers, hear challenges to grow in faith and witness, and celebrate how they have brought God’s love to others in Minnesota and around the world.

Common Table and Volunteer Teams

Teams of lay and clergy volunteers (elected leaders) carry out the shared ministry of the Minnesota Annual Conference. Representatives of these teams meet about five times a year to direct conference outreach and mission between annual conference sessions.

The conference lay leader is the host (convener) of the Common Table.

As members of the Body of Christ, the Common Table and ministry teams carry out the vision and mission of the Minnesota Annual Conference through:

  • Creating avenues for collaboration;
  • Providing opportunities for telling stories;
  • Practicing the presence of God and being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit;
  • Being champions of the vision who speak the truth in love about current realities; and
  • Actively seeking new information that will shape our work for our primary task of making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Those interested in serving on a conference team should contact the Director of Ministries.


MN Annual Conference Logo

Northern Bytes Newsletter 


122 W Franklin Ave Ste 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404




North Star District

Mark B Miller, North Star District Superintendent;  email:

2203 Parkview Rd. NE, Alexandria, MN 56308



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