University Baptist Church: Inclusion, Peace, and Faith found in Dinkytown
University Baptist Church has roots going back to 1850, when the First Baptist Church of St Anthony was organized, but they didn’t make their home in Dinkytown until 1890 when they bought a building at the corner of 13th Ave & 4th Street SE (where the Pourhouse is now located). This location is also where the Minnesota Dance Theater began in the 1960s — but the building was lost to fire.
In 1921, the church changed it’s name from Olivet Baptist Church to University Baptist Church to reflect their important work with students and the University community and land was purchased to build a new church on the corner of University Ave and 13th Ave where the church is located today. They are the last remaining green space in Dinkytown with an expansive lawn and gardens.
The mission of UBC is:
~ to be a loving and inclusive community
~ seeking faith, joy and action
~ nurtured by the biblical traditions, the teachings of Christ, and God’s continuing revelation
They are one of the more progressive churches in the area, with an emphasis on inclusion, peace. & justice. They welcome all people and last spring they voted to be a sanctuary church for immigrants. They also are known for their strong music program, and have an active group of Sacred Harp Singers.
The building is buzzing with activity beyond the church itself. The building has been an incubator for different organizations over the years, including a home to a k-12 school, a co-op, and has provided offices for therapists, musicians, artist, and other non-profits. The church is home to four faith congregations as well. They are also a drop-off site for Sylvan Hills Farm CSA.
The church has a large gym that has it’s share of activity as well. Nearby Lincoln International School buses kids over for gym time. Youthlink uses it for indoor soccer. And it has also been rented for people to practice fencing and stage combat.
Pastor Doug Donley came to UBC in 2001. Doug’s favorite part about being in Dinkytown is the food, where there are plenty of options for whatever you may be craving. Doug lives in Mounds View with his wife Kim, a music therapist. He regularly bikes into Dinkytown and even makes maple syrup in his backyard. His college aged kids love coming to Dinkytown to hang out at the local restaurants with friends.
A few years ago they also launched the Roots Cellar Concert Series, which hosts folk music concerts on select Saturday nights from Sept – April. The concerts bring in between 50-120 people each and tickets are usually $15, 75% of which goes to the artist and 25% goes to the church. Pastor Doug Donley knows a lot of folk music and hand selects that artists for the series, and is also a nod to Dinkytown’s long connection to folk-music.
Funding for blog series provided by: City of Minneapolis’ Great Streets Program