Emanuel Lutheran Church begins its celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Nazareth-native (Yes, that Nazareth!) Pastor Nabil Nour will share his knowledge... Nationally-Known Pastor to Speak on 500th Anniversary

Emanuel Lutheran Church begins its celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Nazareth-native (Yes, that Nazareth!) Pastor Nabil Nour will share his knowledge of Martin Luther on Saturday, September 9.

The free event starts at 4 p.m. and is open to all. A light meal and the opportunity to visit with Reverend Nour will follow his presentation.

The Israeli-born Nour hails from Nazareth and calls himself “a Palestinian by nationality, an Arab by race, and a Christian by grace.” Nabil Nour grew up as a Catholic in Israel but rarely attended religious services; his father worked for a Jewish employer who followed a Saturday Sabbath Day schedule which included work on Sundays. It was only after 1972, when Nour at the age of 16 was sent to the United States—specifically, Huron, South Dakota—to escape the Israel-Palestine conflict that Nour’s faith became a significant part of his life.

Once in South Dakota, Nour, who knew no English, pursued citizenship and earned his high school diploma. Another life-changing event happened. “I fell in love with a beautiful American woman who happened to be, out of all things, a Lutheran,” Nour says.

Nour received adult instruction in his new religion and pursued additional studies. He also graduated from Huron College, with a Bachelor of Science in criminology and sociology, with minors in psychology and gerontology. His career path led him to the construction industry and volunteering in youth ministry.

It was during his five years in youth ministry, the idea of becoming a pastor first occurred to Nour. People had encouraged him to enter the ministry, but Nour says he resisted. Meeting a young suicidal man at a youth conference changed everything. Nour says, “A pastor and I talked to him and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he didn’t commit suicide.” Nour says he went home and told his wife, Jean, he would go into the ministry. Her response was, “It’s about time.”

Nour entered Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1989. He graduated in 1994 with a Master of Divinity and was called to Redeemer Lutheran Church in Armour, South Dakota.

In 1997, Pastor Nour founded the Bike-for-Life fundraiser, a 100-mile trek between Armour and Sioux Falls to raise money for alternatives to abortion. This September’s ride marks the 20th anniversary of the event. Nour also served the LCMS District as circuit counselor and in vice-presidential roles before becoming the fifth vice-president of the LCMS in 2013; he was re-elected in 2016 and ranked as third vice-president, representing the synod’s Great Plains Region.

Nour returned to church ministry in 2015, serving as vacancy pastor for Trinity Lutheran Church in Hartford, South Dakota. He continues to serve there in addition to his work with the LCMS.

As an Israeli native, Nour enjoys leading tours to the Holy Land with his wife. Their tours include the Sea of Galilee, Mount of Olives, Tabgha (scene of the miracle of loaves and fishes), Mount of the Beatitudes, the Garden of Gethsemane, Bethlehem, and others. Nour also takes tours to Germany, revisiting the sites where the Augustinian monk Martin Luther lived in the 1500s.

Staff Writer

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