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As part of the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, congregations, conferences and agencies are finding many ways to commemorate this world-changing event.

There will be worship services and educational programs, explorations of Lutheran music and culture and the contributions of Lutherans of color, and more. Bookmark this page to find new events as they are announced.

Use this online form to submit your events. Send stories and photos of your celebrations to sepanews@sepa.org.


Featured Events 

TimWengertweb250Wengert Speaks on “95 Theses as Luther’s Template for Reading Scripture”

The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert will present on “The 95 Theses as Luther’s Template for Reading Scripture” at the 2017 Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge on April 21. Four ELCA seminarians will also share their results engaging scripture in congregational settings. The FREE event runs 8:30 am to 4 pm at the Brossman Center on the seminary campus, with FREE LUNCH. Learn more and register at http://ltsp.edu/HeinFry

Lutheran Day of Advocacy May 22

At Trinity Lutheran Church, Camp Hill, PA. We mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in a time of great upheaval and division at home and around the globe. It is critical that our voice, as the people of God, be heard as a reminder that all are made in God’s image.  At a time of such great need, how do we model mutual respect and attend to the issues confronting us and our neighbors near and far? On May 22,  we gather to consider how the Holy Spirit is re-forming us as the Word of God continues to change and renew the world. How can we be Church Together, for the sake of the world, in Pennsylvania?

Bring your faith to the table, and join Lutheran advocates from across the Commonwealth for a day of worship, learning and inspiration to ground and deepen your call to faith-rooted advocacy. The day will feature a keynote address by Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Professor of Theological and Social Ethics, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran Univeristy, legislative briefing and visit training, issues and faith formation workshops, a continental breakfast, lunch and special advocacy celebration. Come to be inspired, prepared and equipped to act on issues that matter. Register here.

Lower Montgomery Conference Commemoration – Oct. 21

Save the date: Join Lower Montgomery Conference for an educational presentation and worship service to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale. The day will begin with a Reformation lecture at 11 am (presenter to be announced) followed by lunch at noon (cost TBD). Worship will be a 1 pm. Father Peter Donahue, president of Villanova University, will preach. The liturgist will be Bishop Claire Burkat of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA. Watch this space for further information!

Martin Luther and the Reformation

Join us at St. John Lutheran Church, Blue Bell, on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. for a special dramatic presentation by Steve Seyfried about the life of Martin Luther. Mr. Seyfried describes his program as modeled after TED Talks and brings to life Martin Luther and the movement that changed the course of Western religion.  Following the program, we will have a German-themed potluck.  You may RSVP by signing up via the link: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0B45A9AC23A6F85-reformation

Reformation Vespers Service

An expanded setting of Evening Prayer with the inclusion of J. S. Bach’s Reformation Cantata “Ein feste Burg” with festival choir and orchestra. Sunday, Oct. 29, 7:30 pm, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1802 W. Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422.


Local Events

  • Reformation Vespers Service October 29, 2017
    An expanded setting of Evening Prayer with the inclusion of J. S. Bach’s Reformation Cantata “Ein feste Burg” with festival choir and orchestra.
  • Martin Luther and the Reformation October 21, 2017
    Martin Luther and the Reformation Join us at St. John Lutheran Church, Blue Bell, on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. for a special dramatic presentation by Steve Seyfried about the life of Martin Luther. Mr. Seyfried describes his program as modeled after TED Talks and brings to life Martin Luther and the movement that […]
  • Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation October 21, 2017
    Save the date: Join Lower Montgomery Conference for an educational presentation and worship service to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale. The day will begin with a Reformation lecture at 11 am (presenter to be announced) followed by lunch at noon (cost TBD). Worship […]
  • Chester Conference Workshop – Luther’s Catechisms – Resources for Walking the Faith in the 21st Century June 3, 2017
    Luther’s catechisms were an overnight success because he understood his reading audience and blended the old with the new. His approach and his content were TRADITIONAL. He used the medieval method of question and answer and discussed the basic faith statements of the church catholic: the Lord’s Prayer, the Commandments, the Creed, and the Sacraments. […] […]


ELCA Events (Nationwide)

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Selected Resources

COUNTDOWN TO REFORMATION SUNDAY READY-TO-USE RESOURCES

To build anticipation and awareness of this 500th anniversary of the Reformation year, ready-to-use bulletin inserts with correlating Facebook, Twitter and blog posts will countdown the weeks leading up to Reformation Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Brief history facts related to the reformation have been prepared by members of St. Mark’s Lutheran in Springfield, VA and have been prepared by the Metro DC Synod for distribution. (They’re catching on in Ohio, California and elsewhere, too!) Check it out from http://metrodcelca.org/2017/03/reformation-500-countdown-bulletin-inserts/

Historical Essay on Martin Luther and Beer, in the Form of a Folk Song

Martin Lohrmann, Assistant Professor of Lutheran Confessions & Heritage at Wartburg Theological Seminary and formerly pastor at Christ Ascension Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, has written and posted a well-researched song I wrote about Luther and beer. Its’ catchy chorus: “Martin Luther drank the beer that Katie Luther brewed.” Download the song and lyric sheet at Martin’s blog.

 

“Luther and the West” Free Online Course

Luther and the West Reformation courseNorthwestern University is offering a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called “Luther and the West” as a resource for celebrating this year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The course is taught by Christine Helmer, who is an internationally known Luther scholar, and Professor of Religious Studies and German at Northwestern University in Evanston, USA.

This course is about the impact that Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, had on major ideas in the history of the west. You will encounter ideas such as freedom and slavery, biblical interpretation and anti-Judaism, politics and economics. In addition to Luther, you will meet important thinkers, such as Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant, and Martin Luther King Jr. The course includes 36 video lectures by Professor Helmer, in addition to many texts by Luther and others that you can download for free. You can connect with other learners in discussing the course material.

 

Let’s Read the Small Catechism Together

What? With New Voices — the Small Catechism in the 21st Century is an invitation to all members of all ages to hear the catechism from new voices — voices that perhaps we did not hear in our earlier faith experiences — and to be renewed in our own voices as witnesses of Jesus Christ.

When? From August 2016 (the 2016 Churchwide Assembly) to Oct. 31, 2017, (the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation).

How? In a way that is most promising for your community of faith and most fitting for the relationships in your community. In particular, we encourage a congregation-wide engagement with the Small Catechism during the season of Lent in 2017.

Where? Resources will continue to be added to this site. We encourage you to check back often.

Why? The Small Catechism is a treasure too good for just early adolescence. With New Voices invites you into a fresh engagement with the Small Catechism as a way of turning to this world with renewed passion for proclaiming and embodying this promised hope from God.

 

Rick Steves’ “Luther and the Reformation”

Rick Steves Luther and ReformationRick Steves’ “Luther and the Reformation” is available for you to stream and share. This one-hour video is a wonderful resource to better understand our Lutheran roots and help us in our continued journey of understanding the gospel. Many thanks to Steves, who has generously given all members of the ELCA access to this video. DVD copies have been distributed to each congregation.

Planning a viewing party? Find promotional photos, discussion questions and sample fliers at ELCA.org/RickSteves.

Watch now.

 

 Luther 500: A Layman’s Guide

Luther Layman ReformationIn 2014 Steve Seyfried, actor and playwright, traveled with Bishop Burkat and others to Germany on a tour of Lutherland, following in the footsteps of Martin Luther, through Wittenberg, Erfurt, Eisenach and Eiseleben. Steve returned with a wealth of stories, insights and photos, and the desire to share this remarkable experience with others.

In a spirited one hour presentation, in the style of a TED Talk, Steve brings the story of the Reformation to life from the posting of the 95 Theses to the Peace of Augsburg that formally recognized the Lutheran Church.

 

View ELCA500.org’s Collection of Resources


ELCA Resources

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Why is the Reformation still relevant?

The Lutheran Reformation offers to Christian communities everywhere a liberating way of listening to and speaking the Scriptures. The Reformation teaching that Christ’s life flows through faith into a life of service to the neighbor is especially liberating in our culture today. The Reformation teaching that faith is the work of God’s Holy Spirit is especially liberating in a culture that assumes a faith relationship with God is an act of human “free will.”

Many, both within Christian communities and beyond, are held captive by ideologies that limit the full scope of God’s mercy in Christ to demographic groups defined sociologically by certain beliefs, behaviors or experiences. The Reformation teaching that Christ’s life flows through faith into a life of service to the neighbor is especially liberating in a culture that makes religious life into a demonstration of one’s own worthiness and privilege to the disadvantage of others.

— Adapted from elca500.org

The ELCA has created a special website, http://elca500.org, with ideas, news, resources and stories of Reformation celebrations across the church. Visit this site often to see the latest.

 

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Updated: Feb. 10, 2017