Minnesota's largest church is christening a new campus -- its sixth in the Twin Cities metro area -- this weekend. Eagle Brook Church is opening a new building in Woodbury in the east metro, holding its first services Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Eagle Brook Church's other campuses are in Blaine, Coon Rapids, Lino Lakes, Spring Lake Park and White Bear Lake. Together, they have a weekly attendance of about 18,000, making Eagle Brook the biggest church in Minnesota and one of the top 20 in the U.S., according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Woodbury campus is the latest sign of Eagle Brook's popularity in the area. The 70,000-square-foot building houses an auditorium with 1,500 movie-theater-like padded seats. It also has a bookstore, coffee shop and a children's area which features foosball tables and a rock climbing wall.
For the past three years, church members held their weekly services at nearby East Ridge High School.
"It'll be nice to have a place of our own," Jason Anderson, pastor of the Woodbury campus, told the Pioneer Press.
Each campus has its own pastor, but Senior Pastor Bob Merritt preaches to the entire flock every week; his remarks are recorded and played on a screen at all the services in all the buildings. They're also posted on the church's website.
Eagle Brook is listed as the largest church in Minnesota on a couple of sites, including the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, which lists the top 29 churches in the state by attendance. The Institute also ranks Eagle Brook as the 8th largest church in America.
The Christian Post reported last year, when ground was broken for the campus, that the construction cost was $25 million.