500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Always Reforming:

Nourished by the Past, Shaping the Future

On October 31, 1517, the German monk Martin Luther – renegade priest, riveting preacher, and revolutionary professor – invited public debate on a list of “95 Theses” critiquing the theology and practice of the church of his day.  Luther’s challenge to his church led to sweeping religious, economic, and political changes throughout Europe, which together came to be known as the Protestant Reformation.

The Reformation gave rise to numerous Christian denominations, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), with which St. Olaf is affiliated.  It also gave rise to a host of values and commitments both within and beyond Christian faith, including freedom of conscience, universal education, care for the poor, civil discourse, and the intrinsic worth of all persons.  St. Olaf’s commitments to academic excellence, the critical examination of faith and values, the lifelong pursuit of vocation, and inclusive community all spring from this inheritance.

But the Reformation was not simply a series of events in human history, however seminal.  Nor was it an unequivocal force for good; it also brought division, discrimination, and destruction.  Reformation continues, challenging not only people of faith, but all people of goodwill to self-reflection, thoughtful critique, lively dialogue, and willingness to change.

St. Olaf celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by exploring the ways in which ongoing Reformation is transforming what people believe and how people behave in the twenty-first century.  All events are free and open to the public.

Fall Events 2017

Thursday, September 14, 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Linda Hartke, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, will speak in chapel, followed by a Community Time panel discussion held in Boe Memorial Chapel – “Is our neighbor welcome? Exploring stories and Lutheran values in Immigration today” – with Linda, Margaret Yapp, Volunteer Coordinator of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, and Anthony Bateza, Instructor in Religion

Monday, September 18, 10:10 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Gregory Walter ’96, Professor of Religion, will speak in chapel

Thursday, September 28, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Amy Mihelich ’16
, ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (Rwanda, 2016-2017), will speak in chapel

Thursday, October 5, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
St. Olaf College Regent William Gafkjen ’79, Bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA, will speak in chapel

Tuesday, October 10, 11:10 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
John Barbour, Professor of Religion, will speak in chapel

Wednesday, October 11, 10:10 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Kaleb Sutherland ’12, Coordinator of the International Leaders Program in the ELCA Global Mission division, will speak in chapel

Thursday, October 12, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Raphael Malpica Padilla, Director of ELCA Global Mission, will speak in chapel followed by a lunchtime discussion with students. Kaleb Sutherland ’12, Coordinator of the International Leaders Program in the ELCA Global Mission division, will participate in the discussion with a presentation at 3:00 PM.

Thursday, October 19, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Anthony Bateza, Instructor in Religion, will speak in chapel

Thursday, October 19, 3:45 p.m. with reception to follow
Buntrock Commons Viking Theater (3:45 p.m. presentation) and Norway Room (5:00 p.m. reception)
Deanna Thompson ’89, Professor of Religion at Hamline University, will speak on “Commemorating Luther in the Age of Trump: A Feminist Proposal” with a panel of St. Olaf faculty respondents

Monday, October 23, 10:10 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
David Booth, Associate Professor of Religion, will speak in chapel

Tuesday, October 24, 11:10 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
L. DeAne Lagerquist, Professor of Religion, will speak in chapel

Thursday, October 26, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Mary Streufert, Director of ELCA Justice for Women, will speak in chapel

Friday, October 27, 12:00 p.m. (Rain date Saturday 10/28)
Meet at the Wind Chimes on the Quad
95 Theses Chalking. Students will mark Reformation Day by writing Luther’s 95 Theses, in a number of different languages, in chalk on the sidewalks around campus.

Sunday, October 29, 10:30 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Reformation Sunday worship featuring the St. Olaf Cantorei leading worship with Bach’s Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80

Monday, October 30, 10:10 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Trish Beckman, Assistant Professor of Religion, will speak in chapel

Tuesday, October 31, 11:10 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Steven Delzer, Bishop of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA, will speak in chapel

Thursday, November 2, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Rachel Bash ’15,  ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (Jerusalem 2015-2016), will speak in chapel

Thursday, November 9, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, will speak in chapel

Thursday, November 30, 11:00 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Kathryn Lohre ’99, Executive Director for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations for the ELCA, will speak in chapel

Exhibits

Lutheran Reformation Exhibit
Rolvaag Memorial Library
Monday, August 28 – Tuesday, October 31
To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, Rolvaag Library’s Special Collections is showing off some of our oldest items, including Luther’s Deudsch Catechismus and two pamphlets of his sermons from 1523. In celebration of St. Olaf’s unique Norwegian Lutheran heritage, several Norwegian-American publications that illustrate Luther’s lasting influence on our community are also on display. Highlights include a gorgeous 400th anniversary catechism and a side-by-side Norwegian and English explanation of the catechism.

Previous Events – Spring 2017

Thursday, March 16, 7 p.m.
Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater
Screening of Rick Steves’ documentary Luther and the Reformation, with a greeting by Honorary Consul of Germany Barbara Müller

Thursday, March 30, 11 a.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Chapel talk by Gustavus Adolphus College Professor Emeritus of Religion Darrell Jodock ’62, followed by discussion during community time

April 9 (Palm Sunday), 7:30 p.m.
Boe Memorial Chapel
Performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion (Johannes Passion) by St. Olaf Cantorei, members of the St. Olaf Orchestra, and guest musicians, directed by St. Olaf Assistant Professor of Music James Bobb

Exhibits

Luther-Related Book Display
Rolvaag Memorial Library
March 20–April 20

‘Here I Stand’ Poster Exhibit on the Life and Work of Martin Luther
Boe Memorial Chapel
March–April