500 Years Since the Beginning of the Reformation - 500 Years Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Snapshots from LCC’s Reformation Exhibit

WINNIPEG – Lutheran Church–Canada is currently holding Here I Stand, an exhibit commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at its synodical office in Winnipeg (3074 Portage Avenue).

The event features a poster-series developed by leading German museums, in addition to numerous artifacts, including period books, statuettes and busts, coins and medals, models, artwork, music, film, and more. The event is open every day 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from October 27 to November 5, 2017.

A 19th century statuette of Martin Luther, patterned after the memorial in Worms.

A facsimile of Bugenhagen’s Passion Harmony in front of a model of the Wartburg and a statuette of Martin Luther patterned after a memorial in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A statuette of Martin Luther, patterned after the memorial in Eisleben.

A facsimile of a hand-painted edition of Luther’s 1534 Bible in the foreground, with woodcuts of Luther, Melanchthon, and Cranach the Elder in the background.

Busts of Melanchthon and Luther. Not pictured but also featured on the table are facsimile editions of The Augsburg Confession, The Small Catechism, and three of Luther’s most important early treatises: The Babylonian Captivity, The Freedom of a Christian, and To the Christian Nobility.

Coins and Medals commemorating the Reformation, ranging in date from 1730 to 2017.

A table featuring information on the Old Lutheran flight from persecution under the Prussian Union, with a copy of C.F.W. Walther’s homilies in the foreground. The table also features Reformation coins, medals, and notgeld. In the background, footage from a 1927 silent film on Luther’s life plays.

A 1737 edition of Scriver’s The Soul’s Treasure accompanies an explanation of Lutheran spirituality. Not pictured, but also featured on the table, is a 1699 edition of Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations.

A model of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Not pictured, but also featured in the exhibit, is a model of the Lutherhaus in Eisenach.

Wittenberg notgeld (“emergency money”) with woodcuts of Luther. Not pictured, but also featured in the exhibit, are three other sets of Notgeld.

Artwork by Kelly Klages commissioned by Lutheran Church–Canada to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The six-part series features artwork and an artist’s description on The 95 Theses, The Excommunication of Luther, The Diet of Worms, The Translation of the Bible, The Augsburg Confession, and Lutheranism after Luther.

The exhibit features a number of other pieces, and all pieces include informational text. Immerse yourself in Reformation history. Come face to face with Martin Luther and the world he shook through artwork, statuettes, models, period books, and more. Discover how the Gospel transformed the world 500 years ago—and how it continues to do so today. The story comes alive in this special event hosted by Lutheran Church–Canada.

More information on the exhibit is available here: “Winnipeg to host Reformation exhibit.”



LCC releases Luther Liturgy for Reformation celebrations

CANADA – Lutheran Church–Canada has released a new “Luther Liturgy” service which congregations are invited to use as part of local celebrations of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

The communion service celebrates the music of Martin Luther, and may be used at any time of the year during Reformation services. Congregations may wish to use it for October 29 or October 31 to coincide with Reformation Day observances. Alternately, the service can be used at another date of the congregation’s choosing.

“Luther once said: ‘The riches of music are so excellent and so precious that words fail me whenever I attempt to discuss and describe them,’ noted Rev. Paul Roggow, who planned out the Reformation-themed liturgy. “For Luther, music was ‘the greatest treasure in the world,’ second only to the Word of God.’ Let the church rejoice, during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, in this great treasure of God—the music of Martin Luther.”

The festival communion service sets selections of the liturgy to music composed by Luther. The Gloria in Excelsis, for example, is set to A Mighty Fortress is Our God, while the Nunc Dimittis is set to the tune of Our Father, Who from Heav’n Above. The Alleluia is set to From Heaven Above to Earth I Come and the Agnus Dei is set to From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee. Other Reformation pieces appear in the service as well, with the closing hymn being Luther’s most famous composition: A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

The service incorporates material from Concordia Publishing House, which has graciously granted permission to LCC congregations to use the service throughout the Reformation anniversary in 2017. Congregations using the service must have the Lutheran Service Book in their pews.

Download the Luther Liturgy here.


Free Online Course on Luther’s Life

ONLINE – Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS – Edmonton) has announced that its next Quest Course will focus on “Martin Luther’s Road to Reformation, 1483-1521” and be taught by Rev. Dr. John A. Maxfield. The free course is scheduled for Wednesday nights in October 2017, with live-streaming online for those unable to attend in person.

“What better way to celebrate the Reformation 500 anniversary than to learn about the man who started it all?” asks promotional material. “In this course we will examine Martin Luther’s life and the development of his theology from his birth in 1483 to the controversy that developed thirty-five years later after his posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on Indulgences on October 31, 1517 that initiated the Reformation.”

Classes will take place October 4, 11, 18, and 25 at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time, with live-streaming online occurring simultaneously. Video from the lectures will be made available online later for viewing after the event.

The breakdown of classes is as follows:

October 4: Church Life and Spirituality in Germany on the Eve of the Reformation / Luther’s Family, Upbringing, and Education

October 11: Life in a Monastery and Student of Theology/ Luther as Professor of Theology and Maturing Theologian

October 18: Luther’s “Reformation Discovery” of Justification by Faith—Early Developments and His Reflections as an Old Man/A Theologian of the Cross and the Beginnings of Reform

October 25: The Controversy over the 95 Theses and the Development of a Reformer/A Wild Boar in the Vineyard? The Road to Luther’s Stand at Worms

Course instructor Dr. Maxfield is an ordained pastor of Lutheran Church–Canada and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Concordia University of Edmonton. He teaches courses in the History of Christianity, Theology, and European History, specializing and publishing on the German Reformation and Luther Studies. Among other works, he is a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, with an article on Martin Luther’s exposition of Old Testament texts.

Those interested in participating can do so either on campus or online (http://concordia.adobeconnect.com/quest). There is no cost to participate, but organizers ask people to register by email at admin@concordiasem.ab.ca or by phone at 1-780-484-1468 (ext. 225).


Free “Here I Stand” poster exhibition


ONLINE – Recognizing that many people are not able to travel to visit Reformation museums and displays in 2017, four German museum organizations along with three American partners have worked together to produce a free Reformation-themed exhibition that anyone can download and print for free—or, alternately, view online.

The exhibition “#HereIStand: Martin Luther, the Reformation and its Results” is a modular poster exhibition, meaning interested parties can print and display anywhere from 9 to 30 posters reflecting on the Reformation and its impact for today (posters are 84.1 x 59.4 cms in dimension).

“With modern, scientifically substantiated, and attractively designed information graphics, the exhibition shows the most important events in the history of the Reformation, and its effects up to the present,” promotional material explains. “Using the biography of Martin Luther as a starting point, insight is given into the time prior to the Reformation. The exhibition then directs its focus to the dynamics of the Reformation, which unfolded after Luther’s posting of his 95 theses against the sale of indulgences, and deals with central questions of the history of the Reformation: What was actually new about Luther’s theology? What happened in Wittenberg in 1517? How did the new teaching spread?”

In addition to posters, #HereIStand also includes large images of high-quality museum exhibits as well as a number of 3D-scanned items. These objects can be downloaded and printed out on a 3D printer (although related costs would likely require such printing to be made on a smaller scale).

Why not consider displaying the poster exhibit in your congregation as part of Reformation 2017 observances? Download the series for free at: www.here-i-stand.com/en/order. You will also find a promotional poster you can use to advertise the exhibition around your community.

If you are not interested in printing the poster series yourself, you can also check it out online: www.here-i-stand.com/en/exhibition.

Partners on the project include Germany’s State Museum of Prehistory Halle, the Luther Memorials Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt, the Deutsches Historiches Museum Berlin, and Foundation Schloss Friedenstein Gotha. American partners include the Morgan Library and Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.


You can also download a series of posters with new art commissioned by Lutheran Church–Canada to commemorate the Reformation here.

Schedule your showing of new Luther film

Padraic Delany stars as reformer Martin Luther in Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World. (Image: Courtesy Boettcher+Trinklein Inc.)

Padraic Delany stars as reformer Martin Luther in Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World. (Image: Courtesy Boettcher+Trinklein Inc.)

The radical events, compelling personalities, and exciting drama of the Reformation are brought to life in Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World. This new full-length documentary features thrilling reenactments of the sixteenth-century events with commentary from leading church-history experts. The film, which was sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, is now available to schedule for a showing in your community.

The film features narration by Hugh Bonneville, best known for his acting on Downton Abbey. Pádraic Delaney, known for his work on television series The Tudors and movie The Wind that Shakes the Barley, portrays Martin Luther in the film. Producing the documentary are Emmy-nominated Lutheran filmmakers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein. Among the many experts who appear in the movie is Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Showing the film is an excellent way to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in a local setting. Congregations have two options for setting up screening of the film, either by utilizing local theatre space or by showing the film in your church. Theatre options are limited to those available through partnership with Tugg, so this option is not available in many locations. Church showings are made available via DVD or Blue-ray through licensing. To set up theatre space, visit here. To set up a church showing, visit here (showings are also available for schools and libraries). Congregations are encouraged to work together in setting up a theatre showing for their city in order to ensure ticket sales reach minimum requirements.

[Update: One pastor has reported receiving an email from Tugg saying the film cannot be show in theatres in Canada. We are awaiting confirmation from Tugg on this matter.]

Publicity materials to promote the film are available here.

The film will air on PBS later in 2017.


Praying Towards Reformation 500

President Robert Bugbee

President Robert Bugbee

by Robert Bugbee

Soon it will be Reformation Day 2016. That marks 499 years since the moment when a little-known German monk, Martin Luther, posted his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church. They were a public appeal to discuss and debate. Those theses touched off a series of events that turned the church and the world upside down.

After this Reformation Day, we enter the 500th Anniversary Year of Luther’s Reformation, which will culminate in large-scale commemorations in October 2017. Christians in many places will mark the event with services, exhibitions, lectures, concerts, books and articles. Our own Lutheran Church-Canada recently launched a special website: www.reformation2017.ca.

I appeal to you individual believers and your church families not merely to gear up toward “Reformation 500” with plans and events. I’m asking you, above all, to pray your way toward this milestone. In this column I want to leave you with a few prayer thoughts you may use together with me. (Feel free to go ahead and print this page out. Fold it into the back of your Bible or somewhere else you’ll see it repeatedly. I hope it will nudge all of us toward marking this anniversary year with prayer.)

* * *

Christ Alone: Thank God that He sent His Son to be your Rescuer out of sheer undeserved mercy. Praise Him for giving you faith to cling to Christ. Ask Him to keep you from taking the blessing of Christ’s saving Good News for granted.

Scripture Alone: Bless the Lord for the Reformation gift of a Bible in your own language. Ask Him to move believers and your local church to teach and preach with faithfulness to Scripture. Implore the Lord to bless your congregation with hunger for the Word, and to provide strong Bible class teaching. Pray that God would give you the heart to read and ponder Scripture every day at home, and to overcome neglects in this area.

Repentance: Pray that the Holy Spirit would kindle in you true sorrow over your sins and failings, and give you the heart to confess them without excuse-making. Ask Him to move you beyond mere regret that you got “caught” or that certain things didn’t turn out well, and to give you honest repentance for having grieved the Lord and hurt other people at times.

Holy Ministry: Thank God for the gift of pastors and preachers to proclaim Christ. Ask Him to make them faithful to God’s Word. Pray that they be filled with love for the people under their care. At the same time, beg the Lord to put it into the hearts of a new generation of servants to enter the ministry in this needy time, and ask His blessing on all who teach and learn at our seminaries. Ask our Father also to stand by congregations who are without a pastor, or who are seeking a faithful one right now.

Mission: Since God gave us His Christ and the Word of His cross to save us, beg the Lord to help your church see its surrounding community as He does, as people He yearns to reach. Pray that He may give your church family clear preaching and a beating heart to attract others who currently do not know Jesus. Ask Him also to send workers and leaders for our missions in Central America, southeast Asia and Ukraine, and to move our churches across Canada to support them with sacrificial gifts.

Courage for Our Time: Because there are strong voices resisting Christian people and our faith these days, implore the Father to give us wisdom and courage to stand with Christ even when it’s not easy. Name especially the youth and young adults from your family and church, that God enables them to be dedicated witnesses in our time, even when it is hard or lonely.

Joy and Steadfastness: Pray that God would give us eyes and heart to see the joy He gives us in being His saved, forgiven children. Ask Him to put down every scheme of the evil one to drown us in frustration or despair. Pray for the gift of steadfastness, to cling in life and death to the Christ Who endured to the end for you.


Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee is President of Lutheran Church–Canada.