Local Lutherans Reflect on 500th Anniversary

October 31, 2017 07:28 PM

(ABC 6 News) –  A big milestone for Lutherans as they celebrate how their church came into existence.

It’s the 500th anniversary of the reformation of the Lutheran Church.


Tyler Schonrock, the director of high school ministry at Bethel Lutheran Church in Rochester says he leads others by the example of Martin Luther, “what Martin Luther did was just, was really something about standing up for his beliefs and standing up for what he believed was right."

In 1517, on October 31st the professor and monk nailed 95 theses to the door of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany.

Jason Burggraff, a pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church says it set the bar for what would come.

"The gunpowder that ignited the Reformation that I don't think he even intended but he was right there in the middle of it. And as it progressed it really flushed into a whole new understanding of scripture and preaching," said Burggraff.

The pastor also says it threatened the fund-raising efforts of the Roman Catholic Church, which then led to the formation of the Lutheran church. 

Carrie Smisek, a pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church says it was during that time that people stood up for what they believed it, "The Protestant movement started as protesting. What was a very corrupt church at that time,” said Smisek.

Now, looking into the future some Lutherans say they are utilizing Tuesday’s anniversary to continue to stay open-minded.

Julie Stevens a member at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church is one of them, "I would say there's a sense of its one thing to be in the Christian church but there are many more voices and many more thoughts to bring to the table that is also meaningful and significant. Not just Lutheranism."

Smisek also says it’s a day to rejoice, but also a day to reflect. 

"While it's great to remember and look back and be nostalgic on who we've been and what has happened in these last 500 years, I think we also need to keep looking forward and see how we can continue this work of Jesus," said Smisek.

"I think that, that was really crucial for our faith to see that as well and that we can stand up when we see things that we, some injustices that we see as well in the world," added Schonrock.

The Lutheran churches say they actually celebrated the day of reformation this past Sunday with a special church service.


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