I used to think only tourists attended downtown churches. They were museums kept alive by long dead wealthy patrons.
Notre Dame in Paris, Westminster Abbey in London, the Cathedral in St. Paul. All have tours for tourists. 1pm every weekday for the Cathedral in St. Paul.
Funny how you only see what you are looking for.
Living downtown my interest in big, old churches has turned from history, art, and craftsmanship to actually finding a spiritual community for our family.
What I learned…
Downtown – Catholic churches dominate. We are Saint Paul after all.
Catholics have 4 churches to choose from
Church of the Assumption 51 West 7th Street
St. Mary’s Catholic Church 261 East 8th Street
Church of St. Louis King of France 506 Cedar Street
Cathedral of Saint Paul 239 Selby Avenue
Protestants have 2
Central Presbyterian 500 Cedar Street
First Baptist Church 499 Wacouta Street (They have services in 3 languages: English, Karen, and Burmese.)
Scientologists have 1
The Church of Scientology Twin Cities 505 Wabasha Street North
Clouds in the Water Zen Center moved spring of 2015 from Lowertown to a new location behind the Sears building at 445 Farrington Street. So not technically downtown anymore, but close.
Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Lutheran, Methodist, etc. are represented in St. Paul, but not downtown – at least that I could find.
Where we found a home
After a year jumping between the Buddhist Center and Central Presbyterian, we’ve decided to become Presbyterian. Hard to spell, fun to say, it feels familiar to our Lutheran roots. It’s a smaller congregation in a colossal setting. Traditional services, but modern themes of inclusion and service to others. Their motto “In the City for Good” could be our family motto. We love the music and growing kids’ program. Just 5 blocks from our home – 3 of them in the skyways – it’s a miracle we found a church that suits us so well so close to home.
Tourists do come to the historic churches downtown. They are lovingly called “visitors”. That way it still fits if you come a 2nd, 3rd or 100th time.
In 2016 we’ll give up our “tourist” status and become a member of a living, breathing downtown church community. We are looking forward to it!