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 

 Upcoming #Reformation500 Events

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.

The Reformation and Its Legacy in the Churches: An Ecumenical Conversation – Saturday, October 21
2:00 p.m. in Ahmanson Auditorium, University Hall
Loyola Marymount University
Bishop Guy Erwin is a featured speaker!
This year, the Christian world celebrates 500 years of the Reformation. To commemorate this momentous anniversary, the Huffington Ecumenical Institute (HEI) of Loyola Marymount University will host a symposium titled “The Reformation and Its Legacy in the Churches: An Ecumenical Conversation.” While addressing the challenges of new divisions in Christianity today, diverse speakers from various Christian traditions will reflect on matters of reform within the Churches, and share their experience in ecumenical dialogue.

Martin Luther – The Idea That Changed The World – Friday, October 27
Showing starts at 7:00 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran Church (Main Sanctuary)
6868 North San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91775
(626) 287-6151
Join us one hour before show time and one hour after for socializing, food, drink and fun! This entertaining new film follows the great adventure story of Luthers life, packed with political intrigue, kidnappings, and life-or-death showdowns. At the same time, it’s a story about the most important questions of life, including “Who am I?” “What is my purpose” and “How do I get right with God?”

Reformation 500 Worship Celebration – Saturday, October 28
California Lutheran University Samuelson Chapel, 4:30 p.m.
As Lutherans look back upon the history of the Reformation and the theological tradition birthed through Luther’s teachings, they also look forward to the future as God’s grace given freely continues to animate lives of service toward neighbors. A light reception will follow. Sponsored by the Channel Islands Conference Collegium and Cal Lutheran’s offices of Congregational Relations and Campus Ministry, and Division of Mission and Identity. For information, contact Marisa Post at (805) 493-3589 or mpost@CalLutheran.edu.

Reformation Celebration – Sunday, October 29 
Trinity, Long Beach will be hosting a special service on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. in observance of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Southwest California Synod Bishop, R. Guy Erwin, will be a special guest at this service. A reception will follow.

Martin Luther – The Idea That Changed The World – Friday, October 27
6:30 p.m.
Christ Lutheran Church
311 South Citrus Street
West Covina
Free “Ice Cream Sundaes on Sunday” at intermission! 
Christ, West Covina is delighted to be hosting a Reformation Evening showing of this excellent docudrama of Martin Luther and the 500 year old Reformation to which we are the inheritors.In 1517, power was in the hands of the few, thought was controlled by the chosen, and common people lived lives without hope. On October 31 of that year, a penniless monk named Martin Luther sparked the revolution that would change everything. He had no army. In fact, he preached nonviolence so powerfully that — 400 years later — Michael King would change his name to Martin Luther King to show solidarity with the original movement. This movement, the Protestant Reformation, changed Western culture at its core, sparking the drive toward individualism, freedom of religion, women’s rights, separation of church and state, and even free public education. Without the Reformation, there would have been no pilgrims, no Puritans, and no America in the way we know it. 

Hymn Festival – Sunday, October 29 
The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada invites you to a hymn festival celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Koreatown on October 29  at 4:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome! The hymn festival will interpret and sing great hymns of the Reformation in historical and contemporary context, and will include fresh songs from every continent where Reformed faith and practice are alive, in English and other languages.

Reformation Celebration – Tuesday, October 31
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 958 Lincoln Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Join us in commemorating and celebrating this historic event that occurred exactly 500 years ago. Our Bishop, Dr. Guy Erwin, an internationally recognized expert in the Reformation history, will give a talk entitled: Living in Faith’s Freedom. A brief communion service will follow. This event is co-sponsored by the Finnish Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Southwest California Synod. A reception will follow.

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
Bishop Eaton: With New Voices: Commandment #5
Bishop Eaton: With New Voices: Commandment #6

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!

Luther’s Small Catechism Mobile App: Download free from Augsburg Fortress
Perfect for youth education and confirmation classes, individuals, adults, congregations, church leaders—anyone who wants easy access to Martin Luther’s guide to the basics of Christian faith.  Luther’s Small Catechism and Spanish Language El Catecismo Menor de Lutero are both included.