Messiah Lutheran Church installed its new pastor, the Rev. Michael Dahle, on April 10. Dahle, his wife, Cathy, and their sons, Kieran and Sean, arrived Feb. 2 and he preached his first sermon Feb. 9.
Dahle, pronounced "dolly," grew up in and around Minneapolis. Coming from four generations of ministers, Dahle was in his third year of a operatic vocal performance major in college when he made the decision to go into the ministry.
After receiving his bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Moorhead State University at Moorhead, Minn., he attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., graduating in 1991. During his seminary education, he served an internship in Wisconsin for a year.
He has served for the last 13 years in a rural parish in central North Dakota, as a pastor on the staff for a large congregation in Crookston, Minn., and at two parishes in southeast Michigan.
Dahle accepted a call to Havre for several reasons. He enjoys the prairie and its people. His parents have retired to his mother's childhood home on a farm five miles east of Westby on the North Dakota side of the border. Havre is close enough to allow them to visit their grandchildren more often.
"I chose Montana because it's peaceful, quiet and has an attractive, solitary beauty," Dahle said. "I like the sense of community here. I'm impressed with the schools, and the children are doing very well. We've enjoyed the friendliness of Havre, and you don't have to lock your cars or worry about going out after dark."
That music is Dahle's main interest is no surprise. Besides having a beautiful voice, he plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, Irish tenor banjo, mandolin, Dobro and bouzouki, and is learning violin, harmonica and the bagpipes.
Dahle met his wife at Moorhead State University, where Cathy was an English major. They've been married nearly 15 years and their family include Kieran, 8, Sean, 6, and two cats, 14 and 11. Cathy's interests include reading, computers, movies and exercising.
"I like Havre," Cathy said. "In the city, people thought I was abnormal for not having a career, but here, people are more understanding of the importance of staying home to rear one's children."
Dahle looks forward to working with other churches in Havre and the Hi-Line and senses the same spirit of cooperation among the members of Messiah Lutheran Church. Messiah hopes to offer ministry to people of all ages, as well as those without a church home.
Dahle can be contacted at his home at 265-2376 or at Messiah Lutheran at 265-2334.