Changes Within the Community

In 1978, Violet Anderson, a Baha’i in Minneapolis, compiled an early history of the Baha’i community in Minneapolis. Unless otherwise noted, the quotations are from Anderson.

By 1919, the community of Minneapolis had about 42 people attending meetings. When administrative bodies were established during Shoghi Effendi's leadership, a Local Spiritual Assembly was formed by Bahá'ís in Minneapolis in 1938. This establishment followed Shoghi Effendi's 1937 creation of a Seven Year plan, which called for the creation of Local Spiritual Assemblies in every state in the U.S. and in every country in Central and South America. In response to the Seven Year Plan “three stalward souls from the Minneapolis Community answered the call and moved to Siouz Falls, South Dakota . . . The community felt a great loss, but they were true pioneers.”

In 1950, “youth began to come into the Faith in greater numbers, which lent a fresh impetus to the Baha’i Community.” When Shoghi Effendi died in 1957, there were questions about the authority of the Faith, and “the Minneapolis friends weathered the storm.” Dave, a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly who has been part of the community since the 1970s, says that at this time, there were "waves of Bahá'ís escaping from Iran" due to the persecution. By 1979, there were about 80 Bahá'ís in Minneapolis. 

Since the “pioneering” efforts of the Seven Year Plan, the main goals of the Minneapolis Baha'i community have shifted from spreading their faith around the world to developing a "vibrancy" within their local Baha'i community. To accomplish this change, Bahá'ís began hosting activities for community members and, in the past few years, have begun developing activities for the larger community, regardless of religious identification. Additionally, Dave notes that "we've seen more of the active core of the community being in their late 20s and 30s as opposed to older." (Current Baha'i Community in Minneapolis)