500 Years of Evangelical Reformation
1517 – 2017

When Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-five Theses” on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517, no one expected the breadth of evangelical reforms in Christian teaching and practice that followed. In every dimension of Christian faith a renewed trust in God’s forgiving mercy replaced a reliance on teachings and practices that, like the sale of indulgences, were vulnerable to abuse and corruption.

Preaching a few years later, Luther said, “I opposed indulgences … but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. I did nothing; the Word did everything.” When he began to propose reforms in worship, he wrote similar words. “This is the sum of the matter: let everything be done so that the Word may have free course.”

Nearly 500 years later, the results of this evangelical confidence in God’s forgiving and liberating Word are evident today in Christian communities of all types. In the years leading to 2017 ELCA members, congregations and synods will observe the anniversary of this evangelical reformation in a variety of ways with numerous partners.

-ELCA Reformation 500

Watch this page for resources and notifications about Reformation 500 events and news stories throughout the Southwest California Synod!

Reformation 500 Newsfeed

2017 Farstrup-Mortensen Lecture Series
February 24 – 26, 2017 – Bethany Lutheran Church, Solvang
Theme: The Reformation and its Consequences
The focus of the 32nd Annual Farstrup-Mortensen Lecture Series will be the Reformation itself and its impact, not only on Christianity, but on society at large, with Bishop Dr. Guy Erwin and Professor Kirsi Stjerna (California Lutheran University).

“Renaissance and Reformation” Exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art
Coinciding with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, “Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach” brings to Los Angeles some of the greatest achievements of German Renaissance art. Artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hans Holbein, Mathias Grünwald, Tilman Riemenschneider, Peter Vischer, and a host of others reflected a new vision of the world in their works. The exhibition comprises over 100 pieces, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, arms and armors, as well as decorative arts.

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.

Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation
Lund Cathedral and Malmö Arena
October 31, 2016

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.

Ecumenical witness on the eve of the Reformation anniversary
Live webcast with Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
October 27, 2016
What was the Reformation, and what does it mean for Lutherans and ecumenical partners?
What is “Declaration on the Way,” and why is it significant for Lutheran-Catholic relations?
How might we understand our ecumenical and inter-religious relationships as part of our participation in the ongoing Reformation?

Visit Germany in 2017 with Bishop Guy Erwin!