St. Henry's Catholic Church in Perham and the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Butler welcomed a new priest in 2012. Father Matthew Kuhn, after spending nine years at those churches, he his moving to his home parish in Alexandria.
On June 29, Kuhn will be moving to the Church of St. Mary's in Alexandria, as assigned by Bishop Donald Kettler of the Diocese of St. Cloud.
Kuhn, who is from Alexandria, says his family still attends St. Mary's. While it's tough for him to leave, he says he trusts the Holy Spirit.
For him, one of the best parts of living in Perham has been the people. "As a community, we're very mutually supportive," he said.
Kuhn says he believes that Perham has the sense of a small-town community where people take care of each other. Coming from a farm family, he's also loved the outdoor culture.
He says enjoyed the collaborations with other pastors and the lack of animosity between denominations in the area. He says they come together, share resources and collaborate to help those in need.
For Kuhn, St. Henry's current building project to expand the school is the best example of the community coming together during the pandemic. While in a time of economic disruption, they were able to push for construction in the time they least expected. The groundbreaking ceremony for the more than $8 million construction project will be Sunday, June 6, at 10 a.m.
This building project isn't the only way St. Henry's and Holy Cross are continuing to expand. "Both are successful," he said. "In a world where everything else seems to be shrinking, we're growing."
While Kuhn departs, these churches will welcome two new people.
On June 29, Rev. Thomas Skaja will become the parochial vicar of the Holy Cross Church, the Church of the Sacred Heart in Dent, the St. Henry's Catholic Church and the Church of St. Lawrence in Rush Lake. Rev. George Michael, while continuing his work at the Church of the Sacred Heart and the Church of St. Lawrence, will become canonical administrator at the Holy Cross Church and St. Henry's Catholic Church.
"If I had to go, I wouldn't pick better people," Kuhn said.