(This is another of our regular posts from Confessional groups around the synod and beyond.)
The name really says it all.
Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans (NICL) is a group of pastors in the northern Illinois area (not only the Northern Illinois District) that meets together monthly for worship, study of the Lutheran Confessions, fellowship, and discussion of issues in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and the Northern Illinois District.
The constitution of NICL puts it this way, “The goals of this Organization shall be to seek the honor and the glory of God; to carry out His will; to manifest the unity of our faith in Christ Jesus as God and Savior; to make a faithful confession of the Gospel of Christ Jesus as it is set forth in the Lutheran Confessions; and to foster Christian Fellowship and love within Northern Illinois and our Synod. To this end we shall endeavor:
- To study the theology of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions to promote continued fidelity to them in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
- To address publicly current doctrinal issues in our District and Synod.
- To provide an avenue for speaking with a united voice on doctrine and on practice.
- To provide an avenue for the dissemination of information.
- To provide occasional seminars and conferences for the general membership of our District.
- To identify and communicate with other groups with share our confessional basis and goals.” (NICL Constitution, lines 15-27)
To fulfill these goals, NICL meets on the fourth Wednesday of most months at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Lockport, Illinois, which is in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Our hosts there are Pastor Mark Hein and the people of St. Paul’s.
Our meetings begin with the praying of Matins, led by our chaplain or one of our other members. This is followed by a discussion of a section of the Lutheran Confessions. Following the confessional discussion we break for lunch, which is followed by the business meeting of NICL.
The name Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans does really say it all, concerning our purpose and goals. However, our name does also have a double meaning. It is also meant to honor the sainted Rev. Theodore Nickel, President of the Northern Illinois District 1962-1963, and later Vice-President of the Synod. Events that surrounded his presidency have a bearing on the very earliest beginnings of what eventually became NICL. I will write more on that history soon.
Pastor Steven J. Anderson, Chairman