500th anniversary of the Reformation to be marked by special service and symposium

The 500th anniversary of the symbolic start of the Reformation movement when Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses will be remembered this autumn with a Special Service and Symposium at Westminster Abbey, in partnership with the Council of Lutheran Churches.

The Service to mark the anniversary will be held in Westminster Abbey on 31st October at Noon. It will be led by the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, and the Address will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby. A new anthem, commissioned for the occasion by Danish composer, Bent Sørensen, will be performed by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir.

The service will be followed by ‘Liberated by God’s Grace’: a symposium, from 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm, in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey. The symposium will bring together leading academics to analyse the ongoing impact of the Reformation and its effect on subsequent generations, not only for the Church but for social order, identity and culture.

It will be chaired by the Bishop of Kensington, The Right Reverend Dr Graham Tomlin, with contributors: Professor David Crankshaw, King’s College, London; Professor Eamon Duffy, Magdalene College, Cambridge; The Right Reverend Dr Martin Lind, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain; Professor Robert Stern, Sheffield University; and Professor Alexandra Walsham, Trinity College, Cambridge.

All are welcome to attend the service and symposium which both require free tickets.

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster said

We are formed by our history. Events of the late 15th century and early 16th century, including the beginning of the Reformation in 1517, enabled the transformation of life in Europe and eventually beyond our own continent. But there was also violence and destruction and loss. As today we seek to draw our ever more networked and yet divided world into unity, we need to be reminded of the achievements of our forebears and the steps that brought us here, and resolve together to transform our world afresh through peace-building and reconciliation.

Reverend Torbjørn Holt, Chairman of the Council of Lutheran Churches, said

The Reformation led both to renewal and schism, and led to fundamental upheavals in Church and Society, for good and bad. We now see Churches coming together at institutional, congregational and personal level. The service in Westminster Abbey demonstrates our common urge to strive towards greater unity, so the world may believe.

© 2018 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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