USA – In early February 2023, the International Lutheran Council held board meetings in Chicago and Wheaton, Illinois, during which time board members also spoke at a number of events in the area.
Board meetings took place February 3-4, with members discussing new membership applications; next steps in ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church; and planning for the World Seminaries Conference (tentatively scheduled for June 2024 in Argentina). The board also began looking forward to plans for the 2025 World Conference.
The first day of meetings were held on the campus of Concordia University Chicago (CUC), where board members joined the university community for chapel. During a lunch with students and faculty, ILC Chairman Juhana Pohjola, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, presented on the situation his own church faces in Finland, as well as on the work of the International Lutheran Council. Following his talk, other members of the board also spoke to the students and faculty.
The second day of meetings took place at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wheaton, Illinois. Later in the day, St. John’s also hosted a “fireside talk” with ILC Chairman Pohjola, with members of numerous Chicago-area Lutheran churches in attendance. The evening culminated in a choral evening prayer service entitled “For the Future of the Church and the Life of the World.” Rev. Dr. Scott A. Bruzek of St. John’s served as liturgist and Rev. Dr. Patrick Bayens of CUC preached. Mr. Peter Sovitzky of St. John’s served as cantor. The ILC’s General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Timothy C.J. Quill, and Chairman Pohjola served as lectors. Members of the ILC board were also vested for the service.
On Sunday, February 5, those ILC board members and officers who were present attended worship at various Lutheran churches in the Chicago area, where they preached during Divine Service. In total, eleven congregations welcomed ILC board members and other representatives, with the preachers hailing from Canada, Finland, Ghana, Kenya, Paraguay, the Philippines, and the United States. Members also had the opportunity to speak with congregants about the work of the International Lutheran Council as well as their own individual church bodies.
“A key aspect of this round of meetings was engagement with the local church,” said ILC General Secretary Quill. “It was a privilege to welcome ILC members from across the globe to visit with local congregants and to share the work their church bodies are doing in service of the Gospel both individually and collectively as part of the International Lutheran Council.”
“The ILC is more than just leaders of our member church bodies,” Dr. Quill noted. “The work we do depends on the prayerful support of individual church members across the globe. It was wonderful to witness that partnership in action during our visits with local congregations and the Concordia University Chicago community in Illinois.”
The International Lutheran Council is a global association of Lutheran church bodies, dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of a shared-commitment to the authority of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.