Meet Our Pastors
Rev. Chris Leach – Lead Pastor
Pr. Chris grew up in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. After graduating high school, he attended the University of North Dakota for Music Education. In 2011 he left Grand Forks for Luther Seminary and now lives with his wife and family in Bemidji, Minnesota, where he serves as Lead Pastor here at Calvary Lutheran Church.
Rev. Jeremiah Holst – Associate Pastor
Pastor Jeremiah grew up in Duluth, spending time along the shores of Lake Superior with his parents and younger brother. He attended Luther College in Decorah, IA, earning a degree in music education and spending his summers working for Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry in northern Minnesota. After college, he lived in Rochester, MN for three years while working as support staff for children with developmental disabilities and behavioral disorders. In 2007 he moved out to Berkeley, CA to attend Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, completing his internship at United Lutheran Church in Eugene, OR and graduating in 2012. After graduation, he accepted a call to serve as Pastor at Shepherd of the Pines parish in Solway and Shevlin where he served until 2019. He lives in Bemidji with his wife, Katherine and their son, Bjorn.
Meet Our Staff
Brett Carter – Faith Formation Director
Brett grew up in Thief River Falls with regular trips to the cabin on Lavinia Road since birth (maybe before). Wendy and Brett moved into that cabin for a year in 2015 while building a home in Bagley, but surprise, in March of 2022, after six years in the new house, they moved back to Bemidji—downsizing and simplifying to make it easier to visit their four daughters and three grandchildren in four states.
Brett started a career in radio four days after high school and found his way back to that station 28 years later before accepting his most recent job as Volunteer Coordinator/Producer for KAXE/KBXE, Northern Community Radio. In between Brett worked at several radio stations, at a few newspapers, as a youth pastor in three different churches, and as an editor at Augsburg Fortress Publishers in Minneapolis. He’s looking forward to collaborating with all the members of Calvary to work on the question, will our next generation have faith?
Garrett Fultz – Church Administrator
Garrett moved from Little Falls to Bagley at the age of ten with his four siblings and parents, Curt and Kitty Fultz. He graduated from Bagley High School in 2012 and decided to pursue a college degree at Bemidji State University. After over a year attending psychology courses, Garrett switched his focus toward business. In 2016 he graduated from BSU with a degree in Business Administration with emphases in Marketing and Management. Prior to being employed at Calvary Lutheran Church, Garrett was a Manager at Arby’s while working as a Merchandiser for Nabisco in Bemidji.
Tony Kerr – Preschool Director
Hello Calvary Family. My name is Tony Kerr. I have been a member of Calvary for 20 years or more and some of you may recognize me from my work on the Praise Team. I have been involved in education for 20 years from teaching to administration, in levels from preschool through college. I hold a Bachelors of Science in Music and K-12 Education, a Masters of Arts in Education Leadership, a Specialist Degree in School Administration and another Specialist Degree in Organizational Leadership. I started my education leadership position in Red Lake as the Principal at St. Mary’s Mission school. From there I moved around the area leading schools through certain challenges and tasks before realizing I was chasing around for bigger positions and all the time losing focus on what was really important, serving God. The position for the Calvary Preschool Director came to my attention, and with prayer, discussions with my family and a few calls to some friends, I decided to apply for this position, and by grace, was selected to serve. My draw to the position was that we are a Christ focused family, and that IS the priority, above all! I am excited to serve the Calvary community, to help and support our children, families and staff, and to serve God in a new way. My family and I live in Bemidji, have been students and families of Calvary’s Preschool programs, we have been married here, baptized here, and continue to serve in new and exciting capacities as our family grows here. This opportunity is a gift as I am now able to serve in a more intensive capacity. My office door will always be open, I will listen, serve, and lead as Calvary sees fit, all the while, keeping the focus of the programs on God.
Jamie Dahlen – Administrative Assistant
Hey Calvary Family, my name is Jamie Dahlen, and I grew up in Farmington, MN. I love sports and pretty much anything that has to do with the outdoors. In 2002 I moved to Bemidji with my mom where I attended the Highschool in Bemidji and graduated in 2006. I also attended Brown College in Mendota Heights, MN in 2011 where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design in 2014. After I got my degree, I was undecided on what I wanted to get into, so I ended up taking a job at Imperial Plastics as an operator, then became team lead, and then shortly after that I was their Document Control Specialist. Working there was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me because I met the love of my life Matt. Matt has helped me through a lot in my life, I don’t know where I would be today without him. After 8 years together, Matt asked me to marry him. So, we got married August 7, 2021, in Shakopee, MN. Not long after we got married, we both ended up losing our jobs at Imperial after they closed their doors during COVID, so we decided to move to Bemidji. I then took a different route and accepted a job at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union as a Member Advisor in the call center, going out of my comfort zone and trying something new. After working there for close to 3 years I decided that I needed to do something different due to things that were going on in my life and I found Calvary Church. I’m really excited for my new adventure here as an Administrative Assistant, being around people again and seeing kid’s makes me happy.
Samantha Melberg – Worship Technology Coordinator
Samantha Melberg was born and raised in Bemidji. She was baptized at First Lutheran and attended preschool, Sunday School and Confirmation at Calvary Lutheran Church. She currently splitting time between Calvary Lutheran Church and Bemidji State University as she is working towards her Instrumental Music Education degree and Music Performance degree. Over the past few years, you could have seen her working in the preschool during the summer. She extremely misses seeing her ‘kids’ every day!
Gene Bright is the evening and weekend custodian at Calvary Lutheran Church. He was born in St. Cloud, MN and graduated from Stillwater High School in St. Cloud. Gene is a veteran of the United States Army and served in Vietnam. In his spare time, Gene enjoys reading, watching a little television and working in the garden.
Gary Port was born in Bemidji in 1940. He was raised in South Minneapolis and baptized at Calvary Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis. Gary was found by Jesus in the 8th grade thanks to a Boy Scout leader. Gary married the love of his life, Betty in 1960 (boy was I lucky!) and they returned to Bemidji in 1965. They had 5 beautiful children, 4 boys and 1 girl (got lucky again!) Gary worked as a residential contractor for 40 years. At this point in my life, I’m mostly waiting for Jesus to return…hoping to get lucky again 🙂
Gary is glad to be at Calvary every day, helping to maintain the congregation and facility needs. Calvary is glad he’s here!