500 Years of Evangelical Reformation
1517 – 2017

I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. I did nothing; the Word did everything.

500 years after Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-five Theses” on the church door in Wittenberg, the results of this evangelical confidence in God’s forgiving and liberating Word are evident in Christian communities of all types. This year, ELCA congregations and synods are observing the anniversary of this evangelical reformation in a variety of ways with numerous partners. See below for links, events, and resources about observing and learning about the Reformation anniversary, and check the synod’s #Reformation500 page for updates throughout the year.

How is your congregation celebrating or observing #Reformation500?Let us know about it! Send your plans and pictures to Samantha at shenderson@socalsynod.org.


#Reformation500 Links

Reformation 500 Newsfeed

SWCA Synod #Reformation500 Page

ELCA 500 Page

ELCA Reformation 500 Facebook Page 

Living Lutheran’s Reformation Page 

 #Reformation500 Events

Reformation Roadtrip
Bishop Guy Erwin will carry Luther’s message all around the Southwest California Synod with a series of six paired lectures, presented on various Saturdays from September 2016 to July 2017.


Lutheran Night at Dodger Stadium – Saturday, August 12
Join family and friends for a fundraising event at Dodger Stadium to benefit Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Southern California! A donation to LSS is included in the price of each ticket. Lutheran Social Services of Southern California has a legacy of meeting the needs of the poor, underserved and powerless regardless of race, creed or orientation since 1946, uniting with individuals, churches, businesses, civic leaders, government agencies and other stakeholders for one goal; breaking the cycle of poverty one family at a time. More information here!


Rick Steves: “Luther and the Reformation” –  Tuesday, October 24
The Center for Lutheran Studies will be showing “Luther and the Reformation” at the Claremont School of Theology on Tuesday, Oct 24 at 6:30 p.m. with Rick Steves as their special guest (via online). Save the date and make it a part of your Reformation 500 celebration!!


The Reformation: From the Word to the World at the Huntington Library – October 2017 through February 2018
On the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting the 95 theses on the door of a Wittenberg Church, The Huntington Library in San Marino will present an exhibition of about 50 rare manuscripts, books, and prints made between the 1400s and 1648 (the end of the Thirty Years’ War) – part of a flurry of written arguments and ideas put forward by scholars, clerics, statesmen, and lay believers to fuel a movement called the Reformation.


Looking Back & Called Forward: ELCA 500 – Tuesday, October 31
Please plan to join ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on Tuesday, Oct. 31, as she co-hosts a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The event, which will include speakers and a service, will be at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Bishop Eaton will be joined by co-hosts Indiana-Kentucky Synod Bishop Bill Gafkjen, ELCA Vice President Bill Horne and Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod Bishop Richard Graham. The public event will also be available online via livestream for all to experience. Mark your calendars today!



#Reformation500 Resources


For Children 4 to 10 years old: Life of Martin Luther Pop-Up books and Curriculum 
Available from My Sparkhouse Family – a fun, yet educational, way to introduce the basics of Martin Luther’s reforming movement for children who are 4 to 10 years old. The Life of Martin Luther: A Pop-Up Book is available with a free, downloadable curriculum to teach kids about the life of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Ordering information and downloads here!


Living Lutheran’s “500 unique aspects of the Reformation”
During 2017, Living Lutheran is featuring a series highlighting 500 items about the Reformation and its spirit and impact. This series is not meant as an all-encompassing compendium of everything essential to the Reformation and its theology, but rather as a glimpse of the variety of ways the movement that Martin Luther sparked in 1517 would influence the history of the world.

50 Reformation Quotes
50 Reformation Publications
50 Reformation Figures
50 things you might not know about the Reformation
50 things you might not have known about Martin Luther
50 Lutheran Artworks
50 Reformation Sites


With New Voices
“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.

Bishop Eaton, With New Voices: Let’s read the Small Catechism together
Bishop Eaton: With New Voices: Commandment #1
Bishop Eaton: With New Voices: Commandment #2
Bishop Eaton: With New Voices: Commandment #3
Bishop Eaton: With New Voices: Commandment #4


Rick Steves’ “Luther and the Reformation” 
“Luther and the Reformation” is a wonderful resource for  pastors and lay people alike to better understand our Lutheran roots and help us in our continued journey of understanding the Gospel. Stream and share this video with your congregation and use the discussion questions to help guide a conversation in your community! Thank you to Rick Steves for generously giving all members of the ELCA access to “Luther and the Reformation.”


Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World
Martin Luther triggered a seismic upheaval that rocked the western world in the 1500s-with an impact that continues to reverberate to this day. This film tells the great adventure story of his life.  At the same time, it examines his quest for truth-questions we all must face-including “Who am I?” “What is my purpose” and “How do I get right with God?” Hosting a screening is a great way for your congregation to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation-simultaneously edifying your members and creating a memorable impression in the broader community. Find out more here!


Trace Martin Luther’s Footsteps Through Germany
This article from Smithsonian profiles the locations in Germany that helped shape the Reformation and the world.


By Heart: Conversations with Martin Luther’s Small Catechism 
By Heart is a richly illustrated, in-depth exploration of the Small Catechism. Co-authored by Bishop Guy Erwin, it is suitable for group discussion, an adult study or personal enrichment. This guide will generate meaningful conversations about the biblical and historical context of the Small Catechism, its link to the church’s faith, and its connection to Luther’s life and your life today. There is an accompanying facilitator guide and DVD that highlight the book for use in a 7-session course for long time Lutherans and those new to the faith as well.  Order here!