500th Anniversary of the Reformation impacts us all!


Rev. Alicia Randolph Rapking, clergy serving as the Director of Upshur Parish House, shares her reflections on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

These are the opening lines of the most sung English translation of the hymn, written by Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress. It is a hymn so vividly entrenched in my childhood that the mere mention of the word Reformation brings forth strains from my soul. It was my father’s favorite hymn and one that we sang at his funeral in April of 2001.

Each autumn, as my friends were getting excited about upcoming Halloween activities, I was always aware that October 31st was also the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, sparking controversy and reform. It must have been one of my father’s favorite stories of Church history because he preached on the event each year on the Sunday closest to October 31st. It was important for him to remind congregations that the church is not always free from corruption and that sometimes God calls us to do things that might seem impossible.  (Follow this link to read more and to see pictures taken by Alica).


The door at Wittenberg’s Castle Church where Martin Luther reportedly posted his 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, launching the Protestant Reformation. At the time, the door served as a sort of university bulletin board. Today, his theses are engraved in the door. Photo by Klaus Ulrich Ruof

When Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, he hoped to spark a theological conversation about repentance.

Instead, the German monk unleashed a revolution — ideas that transformed Western Europe and eventually the world. His posting on Wittenberg’s Castle Church door might be the most eventful trick-or-treat in history.

Five hundred years later, Christians — and not only Protestants — are still living with the changes wrought by the Reformation he started.

Here are six developments we have today thanks to that fateful All Hallows’ Eve. Read more from umc.org 

The Reformation is a significant event in the history of Christianity!  The Council of Bishops has gathered resources for churches and individuals who wish to learn more. Including this resource guide for United Methodist and ELCA churches who wish to share worship services.

Follow this link to read a story from UMNS about why Martin Luther matters to United Methodists (hint, it has a great deal to do with John Wesley’s Aldersgate Experience!)