Reformation anniversary: Luther 2017
The 95 Theses that Luther made public on 31 October 1517 got things moving and brought a lot of new ideas. Strictly speaking, this movement over the last 500 years has never really come to a standstill. Nor should it. Because the encounter with God is new every time.
No hero worship, no denominational profiling, no purely German celebration. The Reformation anniversary in 2017 is to be an international celebration - focusing on the significance of the changes sparked by Martin Luther.
The European Reformation Roadmap links up the places of significance for the Reformation. In May 2017 visits to these way-stations on the map will be completed in Central Germany, at the World Reformation Exhibition "Gates of Freedom" in Wittenberg.
In Cameroon there is reason to celebrate - at least for one particular school. The Presbyterian School of Science and Technology in Bafut in Cameroon can enjoy a special position. It is the 500th school to take part in the project "500 Protestant schools worldwide celebrate 500 years of Reformation".
In 2017 the Kirchentag will take place in Berlin and Wittenberg. Tens of thousands of people from everywhere are expected to attend. They will experience fellowship, worship together, listen to concerts - across denominational and religious borders. Six Kirchentag-style programmes 'on the way' will offer an opportunity to get to know cities in Central Germany.
The festive service to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will conclude the 36th German Protestant Kirchentag and the Kirchentag on the Way. Held on the Elbe meadows near Wittenberg, it will be a high point of the whole anniversary year.
Teenagers taking confirmation classes, and other age groups, are invited to come to Wittenberg during the Reformation Summer in 2017. Confirmand and Youth Camps between June and September 2017 will open a unique opportunity to enjoy community with many others.
Volunteers will be present in force during the preparations for the Reformation anniversary, taking an active part and living in a very special community.
"The World Reformation Exhibition 'Gates of Freedom' creates space for differing accesses to Reformation thinking and projects not only in the churches and religions but also in public and social life," writes Margot Kässmann, special envoy of the EKD Council for the Reformation anniversary in 2017.
The German Protestant Kirchentag (DEKT) and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) founded the registered association Reformationsjubiläum 2017 e.V. (Reformation anniversary 2017) in order to plan and carry out church events for the anniversary.
Previous Reformation Day centenaries were occasions for confessions to set themselves apart from one another. This time, according to the two biggest mainline churches in Germany, things are going to be different at the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting his 95 theses in Wittenberg.
Protestant and Catholic theologians have presented their perspectives on the Reformation anniversary in a joint publication. The text was drafted in an ecumenical working group, the Jaeger-Stählin group. They have been working on the book since 2009.
The five years spent revising Luther's Bible translation have been officially concluded with a celebratory reception at Wartburg Castle near Eisenach. The text of the Luther Bible was presented to the EKD Council, which had commissioned the revision. Luther's translation is regarded as "masterpiece down the centuries".
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- Reformation in the world: Windhoek, NamibiaThe Eleventh LWF Assembly will meet in Windhoek in 2017
- Gauck praises significance of the Reformation for GermanyLutheran World Federation underlines relevance of Reformation message
The pop oratorio "Luther" had its world premiere on 31 October 2015 in Dortmund. Besides the over 3000 choristers, there was be a huge symphony orchestra and stars from the musical scene. 85 choirs were involved, mostly from North Rhine-Westphalia, along with 750 other choristers.
Luther paths stretch from Wartburg Castle to Möhra, between Eisleben and Wittenberg or through Coburg Land. The museums and Luther sites are preparing for the Reformation anniversary with special exhibitions. Artists and cultural workers are grappling with the Reformation heritage in their activities. Government and church actors have all found their place under the heading of the Luther decade "Luther 2017 - In the Beginning was the Word".
A "heart-felt gift symbolising the bonds with all Protestant Christians in Wittenberg and the whole of Germany" - that was how Bishop Heinrich Bedord-Strohm, chair of the Council of the EKD, described the announcement that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark would donate an altar hanging for the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
Preparations for the Reformation anniversary are in full swing in Wittenberg. The Castle Church is being renovated, the Confirmand and Youth Camp is being planned. Rev. Jan von Campenhausen is the theological director of the Protestant Wittenberg Foundation. He reports that the town is "smartening itself up" for 2017. After the quincentenary the Foundation will continue to represent the community of 20 German regional churches in Wittenberg.