Our History


In the Spring of 1958, home Bible studies began with several families. Glenwood Busbee came as Mission Pastor in July 1958 and remained until June 1959. Under his leadership, the first Sunday School and worship services were held in the old Assembly of God Building at Third Ave. and Fourth St. SE. In 1959 a house was purchased as a parsonage and worship services were held there led by Southtown Baptist Church (Minneapolis) laymen.

In December 1959, Bill Williamson was called as pastor. He served until July 1964, when he resigned to enter full-time chaplaincy at the Mayo Clinic. While he was pastor the church was officially constituted, services were moved to North Hall, Mayo Civic Auditorium, and in 1960 the church purchased 2.5 acres at 2911 18th Ave. NW. Groundbreaking for a building was in 1961, and it was occupied in June 1962.

Over the years we have had nine other pastors. In 1975 a larger sanctuary was built and the first service held there was in 1976. A 10,000 sq. ft. education building was built in 1991, with an additional education building added in 2000, and the sanctuary was remodeled at that time. Special ‘Together We Build’ programs were held to raise money for the construction. The parsonage was remodeled in 2005 and opened as the Baptist Hospitality House, currently managed by the Serenity House Network.

Emmanuel has provided English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for over 30 years. Hundreds of IBM, Mayo, and other employees and their spouses have improved their English skills while socializing with other ESLers from around the world.

Several mission congregations have been sponsored by Emmanuel over the years. They include congregations in La Crosse, Austin, Marshall, Mankato, Red Wing, Byron, and Rochester, and congregations in Hmong, Lao, and Spanish languages. The Emmanuel Lao Church continues to meet in the Emmanuel building.

Emmanuel Baptist Church was associated from its beginnings with the Southern Baptist Convention. We also associate with the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention and the Southern Minnesota Baptist Association.