Havre Daily News
The white clapboard church at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street didn't skip a beat in its mission to provide a home for a Christian congregation.
The Seventh-day Adventists held their final Sabbath service Nov. 5 in the building they constructed 64 years ago. The next day, Havre Foursquare Gospel Church held its first service in its new home.
“It's really been an incredible thing, the way things came together,” the Rev. Charlie Moody of Foursquare Gospel said.
“We had need for a building and they had a need to consolidate at the school,” Moody said. “It was like a custom-made opportunity for both of us.”
Seventh-day Adventist head deacon Leo Beardsley agreed, adding that he is pleased the building will continue to fulfill the purpose for which it was intended.
“It's wonderful that it will continue to serve the Havre Christian community,” Beardsley said.
The Seventh-day Adventists chose this time to sell their building in anticipation of building a new church in Meadow Lark Estates, near their parsonage and the church's Havre Christian School. They began holding regular Saturday services temporarily in the school auditorium last Saturday.
“They began it in 1941, so it's been there for quite a while,” Seventh-day Adventist pastor Jim Jenkins said. “It was a very difficult thing, because we had some of our members who were important in getting it started and were there early on. The church has served its purpose and we have to move on for the future that we're going to have.”
Among those who remember when the church was built is Havre native Conrad Nystrom, whose father and uncle were instrumental in its construction.
“I was just a boy then, but I remember them building it,” Nystrom said. “It was really amazing, because it was during the war and everything was rationed.”
Jenkins said the congregation hopes to build the new church “in the next six months or so.”
But they'll do it without him. Jenkins has accepted the leadership of the Bozeman congregation. His last service in the Havre district will be Saturday.
During his 5 years in Havre, Jenkins alternately presided over services in Havre and Fort Belknap on one weekend and in Shelby the next. His duties as a rural pastor in Montana also required him to travel to evening prayer meetings in Fort Belknap on Tuesdays and Shelby on Thursdays. Havre prayer meetings are held on Wednesday evenings.
He'll do much less traveling in Bozeman, where he'll have just two congregations, one in Bozeman and one in Whitehall.
Jenkins said he, his wife, Sandy, and daughters Brianna, 15, Alicia, 11, and Skyla, 9, will miss Havre.
“Leaving Havre is a struggle for all of us, but it's something we think God wants us to do,” Jenkins said. “Havre's been very supportive and the same with our church family here.”
Jenkins said the Havre congregation will begin the process of searching for and selecting a new pastor early next month.
The congregation is prepared to handle matters on its own, since Jenkins' schedule required it to hold a service every other week without him. Members frequently lead the service, guest speakers have often appeared and the church uses video equipment regularly to share the services of other Adventist ministers around the country.
As for Foursquare Gospel, the move brings the church into the heart of the city for the first time in 17 years. The church has met in the old Big Bud office building about two miles west of Havre for the last nine years. In the eight years before that, the congregation met in the building now occupied by the Sunrise Alano Club on U.S. Highway 2 East in Havre.
“To be more centrally located, it will be more advantageous,” Moody said. “For us, it's going to be a tremendous advantage financially. We'll be able to marshal our resources better.”
Moody said the task facing his congregation now is updating the structure.
“We've got a lot of remodeling to do,” Moody said. “It's not handicap accessible. We want to put in a handicap bathroom and ramp in the back, eventually.”
Regardless of the labor the congregations face, both are grateful that their needs coincided.
“We've talked about having services together at some point,” Moody said, “a joint service together just to celebrate how the Lord has met both our needs simultaneously.”