Reformation 500

>Reformation 500
Reformation 500 2017-07-21T09:39:21+00:00

Martin and Katie Luther

“Reformation 500” in the NC Synod is a partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Commemoration of the Reformation’s 500th Anniversary. The NC Synod Council-appointed task force began their planning in December 2013.

The commemoration and observance will include a variety of opportunities organized under the headings of:  Worship, Education, Service, and Fellowship. We officially began a few years ago with a worship service—in partnership with the South Carolina Synod—on September 20, 2015, at Christ, Charlotte. Plans for additional worship opportunities are outlined below along with other available resources.

The planning and work of the task force is dynamic, ever-changing, and on-going. If you have suggestions or ideas, please contact task force chair, Sarah Ingle, or call the synod office at 704-633-4861.

A capstone worship will be held Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte with ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton preaching. Again, we will collaborate with the SC Synod for this worship. Learn more.

An ecumenical opportunity for worship will be held Friday, October 27, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill. Learn more.

Reformation Highlights

Ideas from congregations on how they are celebrating Reformation 500.

We are hosting ‘A Celebration  in Music’ in Observance of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, Sunday, August 20, at 7:00 p.m. Les Ackerman, Organist, with Brass Quintet. American Guild of Organists, Charlotte Chapter, Summer Recital Series 2017.  Call for more info: 704-375-9185.

Sara Ingle, St. Mark’s, Charlotte

We have video programs planned; will be celebrating the opening of our Columbarium; are adding Sunday School classes that highlight either the works of Martin Luther or of the Lutheran Church; planning a congregational celebration.

Pastor Jeffrey Ingold, Abiding Presence, Fuquay Varina

We held a potluck dinner and screening of the Rick Steves’ DVD. Midweek Lenten worship is ‘With Love and Awe’ from Augsburg Fortress; Sunday preaching and table talks on Wednesday nights are emphasizing the parts of Luther’s catechism.

Pastor Christina Auch, Ascension, Shelby

Pastor is writing a weekly article for the Wilson Times; Small Catechism subject of Conference Clergy Lenten Pulpit Exchange; Confirmation moved to Reformation Sunday; Conference-wide Reformation Worship; Oktoberfest planned for fall.

Pastor Zachariah Harris, Ascension, Wilson

We did Lenten Studies on Martin Luther and the Reformation. In late summer, we plan to host a Luther Fest, with a worship service the reflects the Reformation and a fair afterwards with crafts and games.

Pastor Laura Weant, Bethany, Boone

Joint Lenten Services on Small Catechism; Weekly reading of 3 of the 95 theses; Wednesday study of Augsburg Confession.

Pastor Robert Mitschke, Bethphage, Lincolnton

We have several projects including collection of 500 items for different outreach programs each month and a challenge to walk to Germany.

William Hall, Christ The King, Cary

We are a new congregation under development that is both Lutheran and Episcopal. As we prepare a class for Confirmation to confirm and receive those new to our faith, we’ll be talking to them about the Reformation.

Pastor Chantal McKinney, Comunidad Amada de Cristo, Winston-Salem

Hosting Book Fair; We are offering different historical Lutheran Worship.

Pastor Michael Collins, Emmanuel, Lincolnton

Bulletin inserts and other resources from Reformation 500 Sourcebook. We participated in the Reformation book sale, as well.

Pastor Keith Dey, Emmanuel, Southern Shores

Faith Formation classes on the Reformation.

Kay Conrad, Epiphany, Winston-Salem

Working through the Reformation study on each 3rd Sunday.

Pastor Mary Miller-Zurell, Faith, Conover

We will have a special event on Reformation Sunday and a dinner.

Pastor Louise Hilbert, First, Albemarle

Huge Reformation Fall Festival, Reformation Doors outdoor decoration event, Luther Rose landscaping visible, word and deed presence at local farmers market, Reformation timeline and map developed by local artist, tours to older Lutheran churches, Luminary worship and bonfire event.

Pastor Bill Zima, Friedens, Gibsonville

Reformation Faire, Reformation Bible Study.

Pastor Gregory Yeager, Friendship, Taylorsville

Our children’s Sunday School class will learn about Martin Luther during the summer, and everyone in our congregation will be encouraged to send in ‘Flat Martin’ pictures from their summer travels. Our Adult Sunday School class will hold various classes about Martin Luther and the Reformation, and will watch Rick Steves’ “Luther and the Reformation” video. On Reformation Day, our choir will present a special musical offering along with multiple instrumentalists.

Pastor Mary Hinkle Shore, Good Shepherd, Brevard

Using the Ever-Reforming Curriculum; planning a special service for Reformation Sunday in conjunction with a local Presbyterian congregation.

Pastor Kim Carlson, Good Shepherd, Elizabeth City

Common Prayer service with Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. One service on Reformation Sunday with special music, celebration of Affirmation of Baptism, and a congregational potluck meal after. Screening Rick Steves’ Reformation DVD.

Pastor Gregory Williams, Grace, Hendersonville

Joining other ‘Coastal Plain’ conference congregations in a joint worship service in October. Using Augsburg Fortress and other study materials for Bible study and worship.

Pastor Benjamin Kifer, Grace, Washington

Holy Family is using the Synod supplied 12 week Reformation Study materials.

Deacon Margaret Howell, Holy Family, Highlands

Holy Trinity highlighted the Small Catechism during Lent, Evening Prayer service planned with Catholic neighbors in the fall, hosting an ecumenical Reformation service, college students went to Germany to see Reformation sites, VBS will be Reformation Caravan theme that we are writing, and Adult Sunday School will feature Reformation classes in the fall.

Deacon Holly Shipley, Holy Trinity, Chapel Hill

Dr. David Ratke is leading the Synod generated Luther Study. A special Reformation service with Dr. Weber set for September. Hosting a community Reformation service along with LRU.

Pastor Bill Miller-Zurell, Holy Trinity, Hickory

Mt. Zion, Conover, has so far held discussion classes using the Rick Steves video.

Pastor Robert Shoffner, Mt. Zion, Conover

We are planning on developing a display in our Archives and History display case, featuring a facsimile of Luther’s Bible, Romans text, a tract about the nuns he was seeking to place, some Reformation centennial coins etc.

Kenneth Marks, Holy Trinity, Raleigh

We are studying Luther’s Small Catechism and the 95 Theses.

Pastor Stephen Rust, Holy Trinity, Reidsville

Using the ‘Ever-Reforming Reformation 500 Cross-Generational Study’ for our Adult Sunday School Class.

Pastor Daniel Keck, Kure Memorial, Kure Beach

During Lent we had a Bible study centering around the changes brought about by the Reformation to church and society, particularly how the Lutheran Reformation remade the church. There will be a preaching series in October centered around the ‘Solas’ of the Reformation.

Pastor John Beam, Low's, Liberty

Had Luther’s descendant as a speaker.

Cheryl Little, Morning Star, Matthews

Participating in Always Reforming Bible Study.

Pastor Ray Sipe, Mount Gilead, Mount Pleasant

We are studying ‘Ever-Reforming: A Reformation 500 Cross Generational Study’ during our Sunday School time.

Pastor Russell Makant, Mt Hebron, Hildebran

Sunday school classes, one service, dramatic portrayal, brass ensemble, special music.

Bill Oelkers, Mt Pisgah, Hickory

Participating in the Ever-Reforming Bible Study.

Pastor Ruth Sipe, Mt Zion, Richfield

Trinity View Senior Living Community in Arden holds a monthly ‘table talk’ with the chaplain. This is an opportunity for participants to engage in conversation on matters of interest. Topics have included religious, spiritual and secular matters. Participants include those from many religious backgrounds.

Pastor Steven Ridenhour, Nativity, Arden

At Our Redeemer we are using Martin Luther’s quote, “God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does” as an invitation to engage in acts of service as a part of sharing ‘500 ways that we Live Lutheran.’ As people participate in serving they are invited to write a short sentence about what how they have served on a Luther rose and then to add it to our ever-growing display throughout this 500th anniversary of the reformation.

Pastor Daniel Burris, Our Redeemer, Greenville

Using Ever Reforming in adult study group. Study of Small Catechism during Lent. Special hymns throughout the year.

Pastor William Milholland, Reconciliation, Wilmington

Reformation 500 Bible Study.

Pastor Jeff Lindsay, Redeemer, Gastonia

We’ve already started with discussions during the Wednesdays in Lent. Special observances in October, TBA.

Pastor Ralph Heller, Sharon, Gibsonville

We bought two special books for every member of the church attending midweek Lenten Services. The first book was a new translation of Luther’s Small Catechism and the second book was Daily Devotions During Lent based on Luther’s Small Catechism. Pastor Rust preached on the Small Catechism during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.

Pastor Ted Rust, St. Andrew, New Bern

Focused Lenten series on studies and devotions based on the parts of Luther’s Small Catechism–Wednesdays at noon and Sunday evenings– for nine sessions in all.

Pastor William Fritz, St. Andrew's, Hickory

Hosted and led preparations for a community ‘Hymnfest’ of Luther’s catechetical hymns with partnering congregations’ choirs, musicians and leaders April 2, 2017.

Helen Caldwell, St. Andrew's, Hickory

Joint Reformation service with other local congregations

Pastor Tony Bradshaw, St. James, Concord

Special classes, bulletin inserts, and worship services additions that focus on Luther and the Reformation.

Pastor Jason Huebner, St. James, Rockwell

Lenten worship services centered around “Quotes of Dr. Martin Luther.” Our Vacation Bible School will have the children journey back to the days of Luther; including major themes, costumes, videos, etc…most developed “in-house.” Will be showing Rick Steves videos on Germany and Luther.

Pastor Mark Ericson, St. John's, Concord

Hosting a ‘Reformation Movie, Meal and Mixer’ special event in August.

Pastor Scott Swix, St. Luke's, Mount Ulla

Lenten Mid-Week Service focus on Luther’s Small Catechism, Annual Youth Show ‘Luther 500’ theme, Rally Day in August, and Faith Formation focus in September and August (Children and Adults curricula focused on Reformation and Lutheranism).

Deacon Kathryn Rivers, St. Mark's, Asheville

Reformation Youth Show, Small Catechism Lenten Worship Series, Ever-Reforming Class in the Fall.

Max Schmidt, St. Mark's, Asheville

Using the small catechism for a Lenten worship series. We have worship and faith formation events planned for the fall 2017. We hope to participate in a Reformation worship service with churches in our conference.

Pastor Christopher Webb, St. Mark's, Asheville

Representing the Reformation 500 Task Force.

Sarah Ingle, St. Mark's, Charlotte

Reading a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism before each weekend sermon for a period of three years. Celebrating our congregation’s 125th anniversary with a Reformation Hymn Fest and Compline on September 15 with Pr. Michael Costello, Kantor of Grace Lutheran in River Forest IL.

Pastor Samuel Zumwalt, St. Matthew's, Wilmington

Our adult Sunday School classes are using the Ever-Reforming Reformation 500 study and we are planning a joint Reformation service in the fall with other Lutheran and Reformed churches in our area. Also for this year our Lenten theme dealt with an overview of Luther’s Small Catechism.

Pastor Ralph Kraft, St. Paul, Newton

Lenten series on Luther’s Seven Marks of the Church. Adult Sunday School series on the Reformation and the reformers this Fall. Learning some of the lesser-known reformation hymns during worship.

Pastor Nathan Hooks, St. Paul's, Burlington

We are using the Reformation 500 study materials for adult Sunday School classes.

Pastor Pam Northrup, St. Philip, Raleigh

Offering a weekly class using the Ever-Reforming Cross-Generational Study

Pastor Dan Duke, St. Stephen's, Lenoir

Celebrate shared worship with conference congregations and a local community ecumenical worship service.

Pastor Alice Johnson-Curl, Trinity, Rocky Mount

Banners and focus on prominent Lutherans in History, Lenten Catechism series.

Pastor Mary Crecelius, Unity, Hickory

Special Sunday School Study/Special Worship.

Pastor Rachel Connelly, Water of Life, Wilmington

We are celebrating the 500th Anniversary by partnering with the Salisbury Symphony and Chorale to perform Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 “Reformation.”

Pastor Danielle DeNise, St. John's, Salisbury

The Reformation 500 Task Force is happy to share a new choral piece by Dr. Paul Weber with your congregation. It is a setting of Romans 1:16-17 and includes a verse of Martin Luther’s first Christ-hymn, “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice!”  The anthem, “For I Am Not Ashamed,” is available below for download in two formats: choral and flute, and flute alone.

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For I Am Not Ashamed (Choral & Flute)

Updated: February 22, 2017
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For I Am Not Ashamed (Flute only)

Updated: February 22, 2017
Additional Resources
The Luther Reading Challenge
ELCA News Story "ELCA looks ahead to 500th anniversary..."
ELCA Reformation 500
Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017
Congregational Projects

Sign Up for R3 Bible Reading Program

Reformers Reading Romans

Use this bulletin insert to publicize “Reformers Reading Romans” in your congregation.


The complete “Reformers Reading Romans” summer Bible reading plan.

What happened in the Reformation?

“When Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-Five Theses” or “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, the resulting debate about Christian teaching and practice led to changes that have shaped the course of Western Christianity for almost 500 years.”

Continue Reading

Ever-Reforming: A Reformation 500 Cross-Generational Study is a curriculum with 44 weeks of study to be used with adults and youth. In addition to the curriculum, corresponding coloring pages are also available for download–one per session.

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Ever Reforming Coloring Pages

Updated: January 25, 2017

As an addition to the study, consider using Dr. Julius Carroll’s article “We Say that We Are Lutherans” to include the story of U.S. Virgin Islanders and Other African Americans within the ELCA. Dr. Carroll has retired to the NC Synod.

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We Say that We Are Lutherans

Updated: April 5, 2017