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Reformation 500

Next year Lutherans around the world celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  There are many different ways that your congregation might recognize this historic event. 

Travel to Europe

For the wandering souls, there are trips which allow you to walk in the footsteps of Luther.   The tour operators assure me that busses will be used.  Our synod sponsored tour will be May 1-12, 2017.  It is an Ecumenical Pilgrimage to the Lands of Luther and Italy. Brochure with registration available here – Act now! Learn More.  A tour of this kind fills quickly. Simply complete the reservation form and forward your deposit to secure your place on this tour. Join us for this trip of a lifetime. This trip is co-Sponsored by the North/West Lower Michigan Synod and Dominican Center at Marywood. If that one does not work for you, Faith Journeys of Tempe Arizona and Go Collette from Rhode Island have created tours.

Educational Resources

For those looking for resources to us in your congregation or your community, Augsburg Fortress has a number of options. Start with Reformation 500 Sourcebook: Anniversary Resources for Congregations which will be available in June 2016. Included will be a variety of ideas for worship services, learning experiences, music and visual arts, service projects, connections with other Christians, and communication strategies. A CD-ROM of reproducible, customizable content is also included. You may place a pre-order or download a sampler at the Augsburg Fortress website.

They have also recently published Resilient Reformer: The Life and Thought of Martin Luther, a wonderful new biography started by the late Dr. Tim Lull and completed by Dr. Derek Nelson. For youth (or adults who want a fun read), they have recently published an entertaining and educational novel, When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther. In December 2015, they published Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses: With Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide by Timothy Wengert.

Whether for a personal collection or congregational library, those with a passion for learning about Martin Luther and the Reformation will want to know about the new six-volume series from Fortress Press, The Annotated Luther. Those who sign up for a standing order for the series will receive a 30% discount.

Another excellent resource for congregations and individuals (especially those who are embarking on armchair or real Reformation study tours) is the recently published Atlas of the European Reformations

Those who want to make certain they don’t miss out on the many Reformation 500 resources being published by both Augsburg Fortress and Fortress Press may use this signup link to receive more information:

Reformation Sunday Hymn Festival

Trinity Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids
October 30, 2016 at 3pm

Luther wrote an amazing amount of hymnody for the new Lutheran Church, giving a voice to the people. We will use some of his hymns, as well as those of other composers who gave their talents to singing congregations over the years. This first event in the Grand Rapids Conference celebration of the 500th year of the Reformation will be led by John Ferguson, the Elliot & Klara Stockdahl Johnson professor of organ and church music at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. The combined choirs of the Grand Rapids Conference churches, a brass choir and organ will present one of Ferguson’s, as yet, unpublished anthems. Dr. Ferguson will lead us in the singing some of the most beloved of Luther’s hymns. Works for organ and brass, anthems, and congregational hymns will be performed with inspirational organ accompaniment by Dr. Ferguson. Learn More

Reformation 500 Observance in Grand Rapids

Trinity Lutheran, Christ Lutheran and St. Luke’s Lutheran Churches in Grand Rapids are partnering together and with the Greater Grand Rapids Conference of ELCA Lutheran Churches to plan a series of events in observance of the 500th anniversary of the 1517 Reformation.

The goal is to host a variety of events that highlight the heritage of faith we share due to the Reformation, yet be sensitive to the divisions and pain that have resulted from it. The focus is on the life of the Spirit in the church, both Lutheran and ecumenically. All events will be open to the public (some may require an admission fee). Learn More