By Katie Schuermann
ST. LOUIS (July 24, 2013) — The Rev. Nabil S. Nour, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Armour, S.D., and newly elected fifth vice-president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), describes himself as a “foot-washer.”
Born and baptized in Nazareth, Israel, Nour is Palestinian by birth. When he was 3, Nour and his family moved to Haifa and lived on the very slopes of Mount Carmel, where Elijah once hid from Jezebel. Nour emigrated to the United States when he was 16 years old “without any English skills.”
“I fell in love with a beautiful, American woman,” Nour said, “who happened to be, out of all things, a Lutheran.”
Nour went through adult instruction and, nine years later, entered Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, to study to be a pastor. “The Holy Spirit kind of said, ‘I have you pegged. You can’t escape Me, and you need to go into the ministry.’ ” Nour said. “So I did, and I have been serving ever since.”
Nour has served Redeemer Lutheran Church as “under-shepherd” for 19 years. As a pastor, one of his “favorite days of the month” is when he takes the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood to his parishioners who are no longer able to come to church. “The touch and the look on their faces as they receive this precious life-giving body and blood is overwhelming. They always say, ‘Thank you, Pastor, for not forgetting us.’ ”
What doesn’t Nour like? “I don’t like meetings, period. That’s not my cup of tea.”
When asked how his view of meetings might affect his new position as fifth vice-president of the Synod, Nour responded, “I really didn’t choose to be a vice-president. I was asked to serve in that capacity. I know there is some emphasis on meetings, but … they can be about the emphasis of getting the Gospel out in a fresh, new way. How do we get the message [out] so it connects and puts some flesh and blood on the ribs of God’s people? We as Lutherans, more so than others, have a golden gem of preaching Law and Gospel, but we have been Lutherans for so long that we have lost the aura and the joy of hearing the Gospel. We’ve heard the Gospel so much that we just take it for granted, but there’s got to be a way that we [can] continue to bring that on a higher level.”
Nour expounded, “For me, of course, it is always to be connected with my people one-on-one. We are so busy writing programs and doing this and doing that, but we need to be about doing the business of the Church.”
Nour has served as circuit counselor, second vice-president and first vice-president of the South Dakota District and currently travels across the United States to preach and teach the Word of God.
The 65th Regular Convention of the LCMS is meeting July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.