Winds of Change Bring Good Things to Havre

Havre and the northern part of Montana east of the Rockies is an area known as the Hi-line. This is a place famous for its prodigious winds. In the past several months, the winds of change have been blowing in the Havre District, and the forecast for the near future is for more of the same.

Over the past several years, the congregation has grown under the able leadership of Jim Jenkins, district pastor. In addition to the churches in Shelby and Havre, the district includes groups meeting in Browning (on the Blackfeet Reservation) and Ft. Belknap (on the Ft. Belknap Reservation). Members are scattered from Malta west to Browning, some 250 miles, south to Conrad and north to Hoagland. This is an area famous for grain production, where Angus cattle outnumber people by exponential proportions. It is also a place with a well-deserved reputation for hearty, friendly, helpful people.

The 2004–05 school year started with three students in the Havre Christian School. Bonnie DeWitt brought the enthusiasm of a brand new teacher just graduated from Walla Walla College to the challenging task of building enrollment. Two of the pastor’s daughters and DeWitt’s daughter comprised the total student body. DeWitt promptly went to work establishing rapport with nonmember parents who were homeschooling their kids. By Christmas time, there were seven students enrolled, and another was added in March. When the 2005–06 school year started, we had nine students.

About a year ago discussions began regarding the option of selling the church building that had been home to the congregation since the early 1940s. The building was not handicapped accessible. Projected growth indicated more room was needed. A more representative structure located next to the school would be ideal.

The building was put on the market in June and was sold to the local Four Square congregation, who had been renting space from Ron Harmon, who also chairs our building committee. There is ample space next to the school for the new church building, and plans are well underway to begin construction this spring. Until the new facility is available, church services are being held in the school.

More parents are considering placing their children in our school. A member made a donation that was matched by the church, providing $2,000 to upgrade the school bathrooms.

Someone has said that change is the only constant in our culture. The winds of change are certainly blowing in Havre, and we praise God.

April 01, 2006 / Montana Conference