|Methodism was in Lillian’s genes. Her father was a Methodist minister, a lawyer, and a storekeeper. He moved his family to Summerdale, Alabama, to seek a fortune. The fortune wasn’t found but another kind of treasure was added to the family: the birth of a beautiful daughter named Lillian Isabell. When Lillian was six-months-old her family moved to Huntington, West Virginia, where they remained for her growing-up years.
Lillian graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, and then moved to Nashville to attend Scarritt College for preparation for ministry as a deaconess. At Scarritt she earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work in addition to being certified as a deaconess in The Methodist Church.
Scarritt College is near Vanderbilt University. A young theological student from Lake Charles, Louisiana, had fled the fundamentalism of Bob Jones University and was preparing for ministry at Vanderbilt. His name was Ned Stout. The deaconess and theology student were drawn to each other through a shared passion for ministry and a love for the Methodist Church. They were married and embarked upon a ministry that would span many years and take them to a variety of places of service.
Lillian worked in three “settlement houses” as a deaconess: in Nashville, Knoxville, and Birmingham. Here she lived in simple quarters and earned very little money. Her life was devoted to improving the quality of living for those entrusted to her care.
When Ned finished his work at Vanderbilt, he and Lillian moved to Louisiana where they would serve the following appointments: Houma Heights, Gretna, First Methodist (Baton Rouge), Eunice, Tallulah, Denham Springs, New Orleans, Lake Providence, Winbourne (Baton Rouge), Simpson (Lake Charles), Tangipahoa. In retirement Lillian and Ned were affiliated with Ingleside United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. After Ned’s death, Lillian transferred to First United Methodist Church where daughters Linda and Debbie are members.
Lillian and Ned were blessed with five children: Lillian Christian (deceased), Linda Mae, Ann Isabell, Deborah Jean, and Ned Lee, Jr. A greater blessing was the joy of numerous grandchildren.
As a pastor’s wife, a deaconess, a social worker, a mother and grandmother Lillian Isabell Christian Stout left her fingerprints on the souls of countless individuals. Her hands shaped lives, her witness shed light, and her passion for justice and the dignity of all God’s children made the world a better place.
A celebration of her life was shared in a memorial service at First United Methodist Church, Baton Rouge on November 21, 2005. Her daughters, son, and grandchildren praised God for the life of one whose essence was love, kindness and a desire to see all of God’s children live well in this world.
|Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2006|