Declining numbers forcing Minnesota churches to face new futures

northcomoBy Frederick Melo

In St. Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood, the Knox Presbyterian Church at 1536 W. Minnehaha Ave. has put its 1914 building up for sale.

The congregation, which was chartered in 1890, grew to 900 members in the 1950s. But it recently has dropped to about 55 regular attendees, victim in part to national trends in church attendance emptying some of the oldest pews across the nation.

That doesn’t mean Knox is gone. Instead, most of the congregation is following the Rev. Riz Prakasim to North Como Presbyterian Church in Roseville, which was founded in the 1950s and also has seen membership decline over the decades.

The two churches, which are moderate to liberal in their theology, will merge and take on a new name — yet to be determined — under the joint leadership of Prakasim and the Rev. David Maghakian of North Como, at 965 W. Larpenteur Ave.