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History

The First Karen Baptist Church, formerly known as Karen International Gospel Fellowship was established in 2000.  It was birthed by the First Baptist Church of St. Paul, MN.  In 2000, many Karen refugee families were resettled by the United States government in cooperation with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) from Karen refugee camps in Thailand to St. Paul, Minnesota.  The majority of the Karen refugees were Christians and most of them were Baptists.


When we first arrived in St. Paul, we were warmly welcomed and supported by the First Baptist Church (FBC).  In the beginning, we joined the worship service of First Baptist Church.  However, because of the language barrier most of the Karen people did not understand the sermons given in English.  Since language became an obstacle, we started discussing the issue with the pastor and deacons of FBC and requested an option of worshipping in the Karen language.  The pastor and other leaders of the church sincerely accepted our request and provided us a room to be used as a worship space.  This became the founding of a new congregation named “Karen International Gospel Fellowship.”  We felt we were so blessed that we could worship in our own language and receive full support from the pastor of First Baptist.


Four years later, the Karen population in St. Paul increased and the number of our congregation also increased.  We no longer fit into the room that FBC had provided us.  We had no choice but to look for a new worship place.  We kept praying every day asking God to provide for us a new space.  A few months later, God answered our prayers and we were able to secure a worship space in the basement of 1159 Selby Ave., St. Paul for $1000 a month in November 2005.

While worshiping in Selby Avenue, we looked to purchase a building.  By the grace of God in 2007 we found an old building that used to be a funeral home on 400 Oxford Street North, the current location of our church.  The building was so old that it did not even have its original blue print so it took us two years to get a city permit to remodel it.  Although we purchased the property, we could not use it right away.  Our lease on Selby Avenue was only for a year and we had to move out by May 2007.

After moving out from Selby worship center, we rented a place at the United Cambodian Association of Minnesota building on 1101 Snelling Ave. North.  We conducted our worship services there until June 2008.  The remodeling of our church was not yet completed, but we were told that we could no longer use the space at the Cambodian Association so we decided to worship in the park until we could move into our new church.  We were finally able to dedicate our new church building on July 2008 and be able to worship there freely without worrying about moving out again.

              
When we finally moved to our own building at 400 Oxford Street North, we named our church the First Karen Baptist Church of St. Paul.  The church has its own 501 C (3) registration and is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA denomination.  Although we had to move from place to place, God has always been good to us. We trust and believe God will open doors for us as we look for a larger building that can house the needs of our growing church.

Five years later we have found seven and half acre of land including the Church building for sale in Oakdale city at Minnesota.

 After we make the decision we all agree to submit the proposal to purchase the new Church which is located at 3000 Hadley Avenue North, in Oakdale.

The closing was scheduling on October 31st 2012.

We had started the services on Sunday the first week of November 2012.