Follow in Luther’s footsteps with new Reformation resources

In this scene from the new, two-part LCMS video “The Luther Mile,” Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison (second from right, in hat) and Rev. Dr. Hans-Jörg Voigt (right), bishop of the Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the LCMS partner church in Germany, discuss historic Reformation sites with a tour group in the Wittenberg, Germany, town square. The video is among resources available to help congregations and others celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this fall. (LCMS/Al Dowbnia)

By Megan K. Mertz

All around the world, people are gearing up to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this fall. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is making available several new resources to help congregations, groups and individuals celebrate this momentous event.

In the two-part videoThe Luther Mile,” viewers follow along on a walking tour of historic Reformation sites in Wittenberg, Germany, with LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and the Rev. Dr. Hans-Jörg Voigt, bishop of the Independent Evangelical–Lutheran Church, the Synod’s partner church in Germany. The tour provides informative anecdotes about the people and places that were involved in the Reformation, while giving a glimpse of what those sites look like today.

Part 1 of the video is now available at lutheranreformation.org/luthermile. Watch for Part 2 to be posted in July.

Also available on the Reformation website — at lutheranreformation.org/gallery — is a collection of more than 300 historical images from the archives of Concordia Historical Institute. These images of the people, places and events of the Reformation can be used in church bulletins, newsletters, Bible studies and publicity materials with the line “Image(s) courtesy of Concordia Historical Institute.” (See many of these images on the Pages 6-7 photo spread in the July-August print Reporter.)

Finally, watch for “Treasures of the Reformation,” a series of 20 short videos that examine sculptures, printed works and other artifacts from the Reformation that were part of an exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in late 2016 and early 2017. During each video, Harrison takes a look at one item and provides anecdotes about how it was used during Martin Luther’s day.

Also starting in July, the videos will be rolled out on Facebook (facebook.com/TheLCMS and facebook.com/StillAboutJesus) and Twitter (twitter.com/thelcms and twitter.com/StillAboutJesus), before finding a permanent home on the Synod’s Reformation website.

Other resources

These new resources complement ones that are already available for individual and congregational use: 

  • Congregational resource kit — A downloadable resource kit offers bulletin blurbs, social media memes, posters, a newspaper article and more to help congregations promote their own Reformation events.
  • “Faces of the Reformation” series — Meet 25 men and women who were passionate about the Reformation re-discovery of the Gospel — either for or against it. Download reproducible bulletin inserts, biographical handouts and Bible studies for each unforgettable face of the Reformation era. New faces are being added until November.
  • Reformation events list — A Renaissance festival, numerous Octoberfests, service projects, dramatic performances, choral concerts and festival worship services are among the growing list of events planned by LCMS congregations, districts, seminaries, and colleges and universities to celebrate the Reformation anniversary this year.
  • Luther documentary — “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World” is the new, full-length feature film about the famous reformer that’s coming to PBS at 7 p.m. Central time Sept. 12. Funded by a grant from Thrivent Financial, the film brings to life the dramatic moments that shaped Luther’s convictions.

“The film now ranks as the most popular theatrical documentary of 2017,” Mike Trinklein, the film’s producer, wrote by email. “Over and over again, we are hearing about how the film connects people to this story in a whole new way. It’s not uncommon for people to leave the theater with a tear in their eye, as they come to understand that Luther’s story of redemption and grace is their story.”

There’s still time for LCMS congregations and organizations to host a screening of the film at a movie theater in their community. Learn more at newluthermovie.com/lcms.

For these resources and more, visit lutheranreformation.org.

Megan K. Mertz (megan.mertz@lcms.org) is a staff writer and managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World with LCMS Communications.

Posted June 28, 2017 / Updated August 2, 2017, with a date and time for the PBS airing of “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World.” / Updated August 14, 2017, with a new link for Concordia Historical Institute.

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