Pastor Nate Luong installed Sunday, Sept. 9.

Sunday, Sept. 9 was a big day at Trinity Lutheran Church as they held a tailgating party to kick off the new season of Sunday School. Oh, and they also installed their new pastor on Sunday.

Pastor Nate Luong joked that he told some friends he was welcomed with bounce houses at his new church. It was probably the perfect welcome for Nate and Andrea Luong and their three children, Paige - 6, Mark - 4 and Daniel - 1.

Luong comes to Trinity after serving for three years as Associate Pastor, working with children, youth and families, at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Peter. He said he wasn’t looking for a change when he was asked to consider the position in Sleepy Eye—they were very happy in St. Peter. But when he came to Sleepy Eye and met with church leaders here, it just seemed right.

He said his reaction was, “If something is going to take me out of St. Peter, this is it.” He accepted a call to Trinity in early August and his family moved into the parsonage on Aug. 13. “We wanted Paige to start school with her class [first grade] so we hurried with the move,” Luong explained. The quick move meant the family also got to experience a couple fun outings at the water park before the end of the season. Luong finished in St. Peter at the end of August and started in Sleepy Eye on Sept. 5.

Luong said recognizing the tremendous lay leadership at Trinity in Sleepy Eye was a big factor in his decision to accept the position as pastor. “They are great people, who step up and lead,” he said.

While he knows he will continue to enjoy working with youth and families, Luong said he is also excited to be a generalist, dealing with the full spectrum of the church, including administrative duties.

“I’m excited to set the tone and experience everything,” said Luong. “I’m glad we have Worship first, followed by the education hour. I want children in church with their family—even if they are noisy.”

Luong describes himself as easy-going. “There’s too much in our world that’s heartbreaking,” he said. “It forces you to have a sense of humor—you have to smile and enjoy life.”

Nate and Andrea are looking forward to meeting people in Sleepy Eye and getting to know the community.