500th Anniversary of the Reformation – Resources and Events

Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-Five Theses” in Wittenberg on Oct. 31, 1517, and the resulting debate about Christian teaching and practice led to changes that have shaped the course of Western Christianity for almost 500 years. At the heart of these wide-reaching changes was a deep conviction that God’s mercy or grace in Jesus is given freely to all. When Luther and others learned to trust God’s mercy with “a living, daring confidence,” they discovered in that faith the freedom to give themselves generously, lovingly in all of life’s undertakings with everyone they met.

As we reflect on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and how God is at work reforming the church today, let us continue to work together toward reconciliation for the sake of healing in the whole body of Christ.

LUTHER ON TAP: Lifting Our Steins to 500 Years of Protest(antism)
October 18, 25, and November 1 – Milwaukee

Wednesday evenings, 7:00-8:30 p.m.in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church Upper Room with authentic 16th century refreshments!

“Reformation Day” this fall marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s official protest against papal authority and practices of the (Roman Catholic) Church with which he, on scriptural grounds, disagreed. Luther catalyzed a brewing reform movement in Western Christianity that changed the course of history. His life and thought remain influential; he was colorful and controversial and worth a new look by his 21st century heirs as we reform and transform our theological tradition for a new day.

Dr. Block will lead the discussions on three Wednesday evenings (October 18, 25 and November 1). Those who would like to participate may choose from among the books suggested. Please read at least one book so that you may contribute to the discussion.

More information

Special Joint Catholic-Lutheran Service
October 19 – Marshfield

Lutherans and Catholics worshipping together? Why not?!
To commemorate, a joint service is planned for Thursday, October 19 from 6:30 – 7:30 at St John’s Catholic Church, 201 West Blodgett St, Marshfield.

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Katie Luther: Here I Stand!
October 20 – Sun Prairie
October 22 – Reedsburg

2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of The Reformation. Christians around the world are commemorating their historic roots. Katharina Von Bora was the beloved wife of Protestant Reformer Martin Luther. Dressed in Medieval costume and with a German accent, professional storyteller Pati Kachel delightfully portrays Katie Luther. Based on extensive research, this presentation is historically accurate and seasoned with good humor. Listeners will enjoy learning about her abundant life as a Christian woman of great faith, a wife, a mother and a happy homemaker.
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 550 Lincoln Drive, on: Friday evening, October 20th at 7:00 pm
A free will offering will be taken to cover the cost of the performance.
St. John’s Lutheran Church in Reedsburg, 307 6th St, is hosting Pati on Sunday, October 22 at 6:00 pm

LaCrosse Area Synod Celebration
October 21 – Tomah

Pep Fest – An afternoon of German food, fun and festivities to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
Sat, October 21, 1-3 pm
American Legion, Tomah WI
Sponsored by Peace Lutheran Church and LaCrosse Area Synod.

More information and registration

Reformation Concert
October 21 – Menomonee Falls

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Holy Cross Lutheran Church of Menomonee Falls, presents a Reformation concert with mass chorus and orchestra. This concert will feature a special arrangement by composer Dan Forrest of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” the hymn famously written by Martin Luther. This is the arrangement commissioned by the Concordia Choir & Sinfonietta of Concordia University, Irvine in honor of this year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The concert will also feature music by John Rutter and other well-known composers, as well as congregational singing. All are welcome to attend. 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Reformation Celebration: 500th Anniversary Concert
October 22 at 3 p.m.–Madison

Immanuel Lutheran Church (1021 Spaight St., Madison) will host a very special Reformation Celebration: 500th Anniversary Concert on Sunday, October 22, at 3:00 p.m. Special guests will include the Chapel Ringers Handbell Ensemble, under the direction of Prof. Mark Bloedow, from Concordia University Wisconsin, as well as Festival Choir and Brass. The hymn festival format will feature beloved hymns, including A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, sung with the audience, quotes from Martin Luther, instrumental and choral selections, and more! A brief reception will follow the free concert. This is a great opportunity to invite family and friends to an afternoon of exciting music celebrating.

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Still Shifting After 500 Years – The Reformation for Today
October 28 – DeForest

It’s not every day that we get to celebrate a shift as BIG as that of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century. But this year the Wisconsin Conference UCC joins the rest of the Western world to recognize Martin Luther’s hammering start of the Protestant movement five hundred years ago.

On Saturday, October 28, at the Trost Center in DeForest, the historical committee of our Conference will sponsor two presentations from noted Reformation scholars, have lunch together, and hear from our own Wisconsin pilgrims who will have recently returned from Luther’s Germany. Margaret Bendroth of the Congregational Library in Boston, and Lee Palmer Wandel of UW’s history department will help us focus on the contemporary relevance of this half a millennium old shift that some have regarded as more revolution than reformation.

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Reformation Celebration – 500 Years in the Making
October 28

Event is for everyone. There is no cost.
Expected attendees include Bishop Erickson and a special guest speaker, Martin Luther himself.
Martin Luther Lutheran Church, Milwaukee (9235 W Bluemound Road)
Time: 5 p.m. (Program at 5 p.m., followed by potluck dinner)
For additional information, please contact the church office, 414-476-9411.

Commemoration of the Reformation service
October 29 – Eau Claire

Plan to attend this ecumenical evening prayer service. The prayer service will take place October 29 at 4:00 p.m. at Immaculate Conception (I.C.) Roman Catholic Church in Eau Claire. A reception will take place after the service at St. John’s Lutheran Church, which is across the street from I.C.

More information

The Protestant Reformation, 16th Century England, and Contemporary Anglicanism with The Rev’d Dr. D. Jonathan Grieser
October 29 – Madison

The significance of the Protestant Reformation for 16th century England and the Anglican Tradition.
Grace Episcopal Church, Cornelia Vilas Guild Hall, 116 W. Washington Ave., Madison October 29 @ 4:00pm

More information

Ecumenical Service of Prayer for Christian Unity
October 31 – Madison

Lutheran Campus Ministry at UW-Madison, St. Paul’s Catholic Center, Geneva Christian Reformed, Luther Memorial Church as well other campus ministries at UW-Madison invite you to attend a Service of Prayer for Christian Unity and a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on Tuesday, October 31 at 5:30 pm at Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Avenue, Madison.
Clergy and Deacons are invited to vest; the liturgical color of the day is red. A reception will follow.

Prayer Service to Commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
October 31 – Milwaukee

A special invitation from Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and Paul Erickson, Bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
On October 31, 2017, 7:00pm, the ELCA and Catholic bishops of Wisconsin will gather with the faithful at Ascension Lutheran Church, Milwaukee to give thanks for the gifts received through the dialogues that have taken place over the last 50 years. Please consider joining us for this very special event!

The South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Invites You to a Special Reformation Commemoration Synod-Wide Event!
November 4 – Janesville

All choirs and singers are invited to join in the SCSW-ELCA sponsored Reformation 500th Commemoration, held at the First Lutheran Church of Janesville on Saturday, November 4th, at 7pm. This ecumenical event will feature full orchestra, handbell groups, and a festival choir composed of many different Protestant and Catholic backgrounds. Through music, word and prayer, we will highlight the role the Reformation has served in the development of the modern age. Above all, our joint commemoration focuses on the amazing mercy and love of God in Jesus Christ, the firm foundation by which all people of God stand. For more information and to sign up, please contact Jan Knutson, email or phone (608) 921-6534.

Choral Evensong in the Nave with Grace Episcopal Chancel Choir
November 5 @ 5:00pm

With its roots in the liturgical reforms of the 16th century and the spiritual genius of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Choral Evensong is one of the great contributions of Anglicanism to the larger Christian tradition. The service will include a hymn sing of representative hymns from the 16th –18th centuries.

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LUTHER, a play by John Osborne
November 9

LUTHER, by John Osborne – A play showing forth the brilliance and the anguish of the monk, the scholar, the man whose mind and heart drove him to say to all, “Here I stand!” Winner of Tony Award for Best Play in 1964, it still holds the honesty and clarity of the Reformation for our day.
Location: Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 3022 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee  Time: 7:30 p.m.

More information

Additional Resources and Events

Please find more ecumenical and interreligious resources at ELCA.org/faith. Categories include: ELCA full communion partners, bilateral conversations, formation, LERN Network, conciliar bodies, inter-Lutheran and interreligious relations.

Various articles to explain the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
https://www.archmil.org/offices/ecumenical/Commemorating-the-Reformation/Articles-.htm

Additional events from the Greater Milwaukee Synod
https://milwaukeesynod.org/reformation-events/

Additional resources from LaCrosse Area Synod
http://www.lacrosseareasynod.org/500th-anniversary-of-the-reformation

***This is not a complete list, but ones that we are aware that are taking place. We invite you to share info regarding other opportunities with us to add to this list.***

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