Hmong Central Lutheran Church (ELCA)
301 Fuller Avenue
St. Paul MN 55103
Hmong Central Lutheran Church, a ministry founded in 1986, was bequeathed a church for their growing congregation from a Scandinavian-American congregation whose aging and declining membership forced the church to close its doors in 1993. There are currently 420 members at Hmong Central, representing 76 families and making Hmong Central one of the largest Hmong Lutheran churches in the world.
Two lines of men form an aisle before the entrance to the worship space, greeting parishioners by shaking their hands as they enter the church. Once inside, three sisters in their twenties welcome church-goers with vocal music sung in Hmong and accompanied by a keyboard on the “strings” setting. While none of them read music, they have committed hundreds of Hmong Christian tunes to memory.
The spiritual background of most of the adults in the congregation was animist before settling in the US. Hmong Central’s senior pastor, William Siong, became a Christian in 1991, after he moved to the US from Laos. One of the most difficult challenges he has faced is that his parents and siblings are not Christian and they do not understand or support his work. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (http://www.lirs.org/
) resettled fifteen percent of Southeast Asian refugees in the United States during the 1970s and ‘80s, a factor that may have contributed to the relatively large number of Hmong Americans that have converted to Christianity.
Topic revision: r4 - 16 Jan 2009 - 14:52:55 - schu1778