Reformation 500

Gloria Dei and the Community Celebrates Reformation 500

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In 1517, the German monk Martin Luther drafted 95 points to spark a conversation about the corruption of the medieval Church. He then nailed his famous “95 Theses” to the door of the church in Wittenberg, where he was a Bible professor. This small act unleashed a storm of change, kicking off the most important religious event of the last millennium—the Protestant Reformation.

At the heart of Luther’s criticism of the medieval Church was a deep conviction that God’s mercy in Jesus Christ is given freely to all, not something that can be bought or earned. Still today, many people are held captive by theologies that limit the full scope of God’s mercy only to those who hold certain beliefs or practice certain behaviors. The Reformation teaching that God’s grace is a gift freely given to all liberates us to focus our attention on serving our neighbors in love.

Throughout the months of September and October, Gloria Dei is providing special opportunities for all ages to learn about Martin Luther and the Reformation. We invite you to join us in any of the upcoming events and especially on Sunday, October 29 at a special worship celebration surrounding this pivotal event in the church.

Sunday Forum and Discussion Groups
October 29 – Reformation 500  Photos, stories and reflections from Germany. This year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. In separate trips, Pastors Bradley and Javen, as well as Tim Strand visited Germany this year, including the sites of Luther’s church and home. They will share photos and stories of their experiences, reminding us of our faith’s heritage. How does the church continue to respond to the reforming spirit?

Soul Food  During October and November, this Friday morning book discussion group commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by studying, Resilient Reformer: The Life and Thought of Martin Luther, by Timothy Lull and Derek Nelson. Their text tells the story of Luther’s life, focusing on his experience as a public theologian and Wittenberg pastor. You are welcome to join us as we reflect on a fresh description of the life of this reformer and consider the spiritual questions his story brings to our own experience. Book group meets on Friday mornings, October 20 – November 17, 9:30 – 11 a.m.

Sunday School learns about Martin Luther
Rally Day Lesson for All Children: “I’m a Lutheran! What does that mean?”

Even 3 and 4 year olds & Kindergartners know that our church is Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. What does the Lutheran mean? The youngest children read “Martin Luther Pop-up Book” and talk about Martin’s life and how important he was. Now we can be filled with joy because nothing can take Jesus’ love away! The children colored Luther’s Seal, and remember that Jesus’ cross is filled with love for everyone!

Water Tower Kids (1st – 4th grade) gather to hear Pat Derry teach a lesson on Martin Luther’s Three BIG WORDS – saved, grace, and faith! The first rotation in the Water Tower centers around “Who is Martin Luther?” and they will continue their Luther study in the second rotation, “Reformation- Past, Present, and Future.”

GAPP young people (5th and 6th grades) began the season in conversation with Pastor Javen on the same topic, “I’m a Lutheran! What does that mean?” followed by studying Martin Luther himself. They created their own “Here I Stand!” posters, citing for which causes they would be willing to risk their life and made a beautiful hanging mobile Luther Seal.

Reformation Sunday itself will be a special occasion – A Reformation Walk. There will be no Sunday School that day, but instead families and people of all ages are welcome to visit 4 interactive stations where different people will explain how they were involved in the changes brought about by Martin Luther. Experience the story of Martin Luther, a German monk/priest/outlaw/professor/writer/preacher who changed the world and helped us to understand the Joy of the Gospel!

Lutheran 101: Luther and the Reformation In the first of what will be a regular series of “Lutheran 101” sessions, Pastor Javen will teach and lead a conversation about Martin Luther and the Reformation. What was the Reformation all about? What were Luther’s key theological insights? This is a great chance to brush up on what it means to be a Lutheran, or learn about it for the first time! First session is October 24, 6:30-8p.m.

Reformation 500 Bookstore  On September 17th, 24th and October 1, Gloria Dei members can learn about Martin Luther, his writings and the impact on the Reformation for the church today through a variety of books available. Visit the table in the gallery to see the entire collection of books available for all ages. Order your books through the Reformation 500 Bookstore and receive 50% off plus free shipping.

Reformation Bulletin Inserts
Special inserts are included in our weekly bulletins that deal with diverse aspects of the Lutheran church, historically and today. Subjects include Martin Luther: Monk to Reformer, The Augsburg Confession, and Lutherans in Social Service. Inserts will be included through Reformation Sunday, October 29.

Reformation Events in the Community

With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a lot is happening in and around our synod. Browse some ideas below, or see a complete list.

Commemoration of the Reformation at St. Thomas University  on Saturday, October 7. This morning conference will reflect on the past, look at the achievements of the ecumenical dialogue, and look at the challenges and opportunities ahead, both locally and globally. Presenters will include Dr. Dirk Lange, Dr. Christian Washburn, Bishop Lull, and Archbishop Bernard Hebda. Click here for more information.

Reformation Festival at Luther Seminary on October 27 & 28.  Join in presentations and workshops Friday and Saturday by more than 25 theologians and musicians on Luther Seminary’s campus. On Friday evening, the National Lutheran Choir will perform “Holy Spirit Mass”. The Festival will conclude with worship on Saturday afternoon at Central Lutheran in downtown Minneapolis. Presiding Bishop Eaton will preach. More information.

Vänskä Conducts the Reformation Symphony Celebrating 500 Years of Reformation through Music at Minnesota Orchestra on November 2 – 4.  Martin Luther’s hammer rang out 500 years ago as he pounded his declaration of faith to the Wittenberg church door, and the Minnesota Orchestra marks the anniversary with music inspired by Luther’s revolution. Bach poured a deep sense of spirituality even into his secular works like the beautiful Orchestral Suit No. 2. Luther’s sturdy hymn, Ein feste Burg, is the heartbeat in Mendelssohn’s celebratoryReformation Symphony, and it beats again through Sebastian Currier’s remarkable new Reformation-inspired oratorio about ruin & regeneration, Re-formation. Purchase tickets.

Martin Luther on Trial at Pantages Theatre on November 11 – 12, the new play Martin Luther on Trial imagines a provocative courtroom drama where the German professor of theology must take the stand in defense of his religious and political controversies. Aided by his beloved wife Katrina, Luther is up against a wicked prosecutor — who happens to be the Devil himself — and a witness lineup that consists of Adolf Hitler, Sigmund Freud, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope Francis. Catch the verdict when Martin Luther On Trial brings its witty and incisive examination to the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, for tickets and information, click here.