Pastor Stout now in pulpit at Heritage Lutheran

By: 
Jill Meier, Journal editor
Submitted photo
Naomi Stout began her pastoral duties at Heritage Lutheran Church in July.
With dual degrees in music and religion, Pastor Naomi Stout may break out in song some Sunday morning in the pulpit at Heritage Lutheran Church.
 
“Last Sunday, I referred to two songs in my sermon and I was like, ‘I feel like we should be singing,’” says Stout, who began her pastoral role at Heritage in July.
 
Stout, who is in the process of obtaining her Masters of Divinity at Sioux Falls Seminary, said she was drawn to Heritage Lutheran simply for the culture that’s been created in the congregation’s 10-year existence.
 
“They are very involved. They have a great feeling of ownership of their church,” Stout said. “I like to work in a team and I got that feeling from them, that some churches you work in, the pastor does everything. I prefer to work with people and have them involved, and I really like that about this church.”
 
Stout and her family (husband, Dan of 23 years, and one of three children, a 9-year old daughter), relocated to Brandon from Brookings, where she was serving as the music director at Ascension Lutheran. The Brandon community, she said, appealed to them for a variety of reasons.
 
“We love it,” she said. “It’s big enough that it has its own stuff so you don’t have to go to Sioux Falls for everything, but it still feels like a small town. I love how they are really excited about their high school sports, and that’s not something that you get so much of in a bigger city, so it’s nice to see that support of the kids.”
 
Coming into a new church during the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for Stout to get to know her parishioners. “It’s just hard to get to know people when their faces are covered or you’re online with them,” she said.
 
In late June, a positive case among its membership was reported, which put worship services on pause for two weeks. Stout was ordained on July 5, but her family were the only people to attend because of the temporary shutdown. Her student ordination gives her the power to do communion, baptisms, weddings and funerals.
 
Stout has long had an interest in religion and theological studies. After all, she grew up as a preacher’s kid.
 
“So, it’s in my blood,” says the Belview, Minn., native.
 
From high school, Stout attended one year at Concordia in St. Paul, Minn., but quickly learned that the “big city” wasn’t for her. She transferred to Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, Minn., where she received her music degree.
 
“I got married right after Concordia, and every time we moved somewhere new, I wondered what seminaries were close by, but it just never worked out. It was either too close to when we got married or we were having a baby,” she said.
 
Then the opportunity at Sioux Falls Seminary presented itself.
 
“It was just the perfect fit for me. What they do there is they have fashioned a degree with the sole purpose of it being something you can do while still working full-time,” she said.
 
Stout is on pace to complete her Masters of Divinity studies next May, at which time she will be a fully-ordained minister.
 
“I’m probably typical for Sioux Falls Seminary because of the program they have there, and they are attracting a lot of second-career people,” she said.
 
Stout is an avid crafter, citing cross-stitch, crocheting and quilting. 
 
“I like to work with my hands and create stuff. I’m kind of a homebody, so that’s pretty much what I do other than reading,” she said.
 
Worship services begin at 10:15 a.m. Sundays. Sunday School is at 9 a.m. and Bible Study is 9:15 a.m. Wednesday evening classes include confirmation at 6 p.m. and high school Bible Study at 6:45 p.m.
 

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