Updated 1 Nov 2017.
Churches are holding events to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year.
Service at Westminster Abbey.
A service to mark the 500th anniversary of the 95 theses and the start of the Reformation was held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 31st October 2017.
This included an address by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who asked at the end:
‘Will we be willing ourselves to be reformed again and always, setting aside our differences because we are caught up in the grace that is found through faith?
‘Will we find from God alone the strength and grace to be a united blessing to His world, so that our witness of unity in diversity overcomes our fears of each other?
Will we seize afresh in confidence the hope that God who never abandons His church will again reform us, so that the world may see that Jesus came from the Father?’
See the Westminster Abbey website for more details.
Welsh National Service of Commemoration and Commitment
This took place at St David’s Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral on Tuesday 31 October 2017. For more details see the Churches Together in Wales (Cytûn) website.
Statement from Archbishops of Canterbury and York
Ahead of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a joint statement on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Churches Together in England (CTE)
The Presidents of Churches Together in England who represent the Western traditions of the Church issued a statement with the prayerful support of the Orthodox President, HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain.
‘As Presidents of Churches Together in England we encourage all churches in England to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 with sensitivity as we acknowledge our unity in Christ. We have learnt over the past century that unity is achieved by walking together, and we have grown in communion, friendship, reconciliation and healing. During this anniversary we want to be able to listen to the truth that is in each other, to hear our different stories, and build bridges of deeper understanding and respect.’
You can read the full statement on the CTE website.
Lutheran Council of Great Britain
Details on the background to the anniversary and a list of events taking place throughout the year are on the Reformation 500 website.
World Council of Churches (WCC)
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation represents a chance for the Church to reflect on the lessons of the past and take a critical look at what may be barriers to relationships between different denominations, according to Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, in an interview in Sight Magazine, Australia.
Catholic and Lutheran joint service.
At a joint service in Lund, Sweden, on 31 October 2016, Catholics and Lutherans apologised for their past divisions and conflicts, and pledged to deepen their common fellowship and service.
‘As Catholics and Lutherans, we have undertaken a common journey of reconciliation’, said Pope Francis. ‘Now, in the context of the commemoration of the Reformation of 1517, we have a new opportunity to accept a common path.’ Catholics and Lutherans should not be resigned to ‘the division and distance that our separation has created between us’, said Pope Francis.
Rev Martin Junge, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), said that more unites Catholics and Lutherans than divides them. ‘We are one in baptism. This is why we are here at this joint commemoration: to rediscover who we are in Christ.’
During the service Pope Francis and LWF President Bishop Munib Younank signed a Joint Statement.
For more details see the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation website and the news release from the World Council of Churches (WCC).
Events took place across Europe with a show-truck or ‘storymobile’ travelling from Geneva to 67 European cities, collecting ‘stories’ from each destination to take to Wittenberg, where Martin Luther lived and worked, and where the World Reformation Exhibition, ‘Gates of Freedom’, opened on 20 May 2017. The storymobile stopped in Cambridge, Dublin, Liverpool and London during February 2017.
You can find events listed on the Reformation 500 website.