Natale installed at Messiah [UPDATED]Published 8:30am Thursday, May 31, 2012 Updated 1:31pm Thursday, May 31, 2012
For the first time ever, Messiah Lutheran Church near Underwood will have a full time pastor.
Originally from New Jersey, Michael Natale moved to Fergus Falls to attend Lutheran Brethren Seminary, and June 3 will mark his first Sunday as pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church.
Natale and his wife have enjoyed the transition from the East Coast to the lakes area of Minnesota.
“The biggest difference is that here you can look at a complete stranger and smile, and they will smile right back,” he said.
One of the reasons Natale chose Fergus Falls was because he was already affiliated with the Lutheran Brethren Seminary. He attended a Lutheran Brethren church in New Jersey, so the seminary in Fergus Falls was a comfortable choice.
Messiah Lutheran Church senior deacon John Slaughter helped select Natale.
“We feel he has been called by God to be our pastor,” he said. “We hope to reach out to more of the community with Michael. We think he will have a particular connection with younger couples and children because of his enthusiasm.”
Natale appreciates the sense of community in the area.
“People have been very nice,” he said. “If you’re willing to invest yourself in the community, they are willing to welcome you with open arms.”
Natale describes himself as an outgoing, fun-loving guy.
“I don’t like to have acquaintances,” he said. “I like having friends. I enjoy having people over for dinner and really getting to know people personally.”
Messiah Lutheran Church’s first service with Natale as its pastor will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday. The church is located on County Hwy. 18 about four miles north of Underwood.
“Anybody who would like to attend can come check us out,” he said. “All are welcome to come and hear the great news of Jesus Christ.”