The annual Midwest Undergraduate Geography Symposium (MUGS) was held at Macalester College on Saturday, April 28, 2013. Gustavus Geography Professors Drs. Bjelland, Versluis, and Bergstrom attended along with eleven Geography majors. Senior Matt Bye gave an excellent presentation on the spatial distribution of Twin Cities evangelical church members, a study he has conducted with Dr. Bjelland.
Parishes without Borders: Congregational Geography in Minneapolis and St. Paul
by Matt Bye
Christian churches are called to serve their communities and the world, but what exactly is their area of ministry? Catholic and some Lutheran churches use parishes to demarcate their areas of ministry, but what about other protestant denominations? This research focuses on the perceived and practical area of ministry for evangelical churches in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. In a case study of three protestant evangelical churches, I examine the perception of area of ministry and compare it to the spatial distribution of church attendees. The three churches in this study provide a cross-section of the Twin Cities; I focus on a city church in Minneapolis, a transitory suburb church in the suburb of New Hope, and a developing suburb church in Woodbury. These three churches offer data on a wide range of social demographics in the Twin Cities. Churches have a great impact on the social landscape; understanding different areas aides in understanding the churches’ ministries. Multiple geographical theories are used to analyze primary interview and observational data; density and distribution of addresses aides in better understanding the churches’ areas and extent of influence.