October 31 is best known as Halloween, but it is also Reformation Day. Thus it is not surprising, in this 500th year since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, that there are several excellent opportunities within the next week or two to gain a clearer understanding of how the Reformation came about and what it means today.
Here are the events I’m aware of:
Holy Trinity: Poster Quiz
Randy Murray, communications officer for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, wrote about Holy Trinity Anglican Church and its focus on the 500th anniversary:
The Holy Trinity, Vancouver (HTV) faith community and their rector, the Reverend Karl Przywala are leading our diocese in promoting the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Beginning last May, HTV began an ambitious series of informative and engaging Reformation programs and to finish off they are presenting a quiz.
A series of 30 beautifully produced posters chronicling the history of the Reformation and the life and legacy of Martin Luther are displayed on the first and second floors of the HTV building. All are invited to tour the building, read the posters and take the quiz. Correctly completed quizzes returned to the church office by year end will be entered into a draw for a gift certificate donated by Pacific Theatre. The draw takes place January 7, 2018.
For information about when the poster display is available call, 604.731.3221 or contact HTV by email.
Here are also two Reformation-oriented events coming up at Holy Trinity:
* Written on the Heart (October 29): A one-night-only reading of David Edgar’s historical drama about the formation of the King James Bible, presented in Holy Trinity’s sanctuary to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
* Luther: Let God Be God (November 4): Rev. Dr. Gerald Hobbes will lead a seminar, pointing out that Martin Luther did not intend to divide the church, “but along his troubled spiritual journey, he came to the bold conclusion that the Church was getting in the way of the Gospel; that Church dogmas and practices were preventing the faithful from hearing the living Word of God.”
And here are some events at other locations:
* Hope on the Edge of a Precipice: The Reformation at 500 (October 31 – November 2): This conference combines “a forward-looking celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation with the founding convention for the BC Chapter of The Gospel Coalition Canada.” There are several speakers, including Dr. John Neufeld of Back to the Bible Canada.
* Iain Provan: The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture (October 31): Regent College will host a book launch by one of their professors on Reformation Day: “Join us for a special evening public lecture with Dr. Iain Provan, celebrating the release of his new book, The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture.”
* Martin Luther: Renegade, Book Study and Panel (November 1): SFU History Reads is a public book club that intends to examine Lyndal Roper’s take on Luther’s life and work: “This year is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” (‘Disputation on the Power of Indulgences’).To mark the occasion, Roxanne Panchasi and our department are facilitating a reading and discussion event centred around Lyndal Roper’s book Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet.
* Iain Provan: The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture (November 3): At Vancouver Chinese Evangelical Free Church. See above.
* 500 Years of the Reformation (November 4): Iain Provan again, this time at Willoughby Church in Langley for a Saturday morning: “Can the Bible be trusted? Is it really God’s Word? At the center of the Protestant Reformation was the unflagging conviction that God has spoken and still speaks authoritatively to us in the Bible. But is this conviction still justified? Yes!”
* Hymn Festival: A Mighty Fortress is Our God (November 4): Conductor Herbert Tsang will present an evening of hymns at Evangelical Chinese Bible Church in Burnaby; the evening is named for Martin Luther’s most famous hymn.
* Gloria!: A Concert Celebrating the Reformation 500th Anniversary (November 10): Regent College will present Gloria!, a concert celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation; the concert will feature two of the most famous cantatas by J.S. Bach, as well as other Reformation-related works for choir and orchestra. Takes place at Kerrisdale Presbyterian Church.
* Stand: Faithful Reading in a Faithless World (November 25): Iain Provan, once more, at Coquitlam Alliance Church: “At the centre of the Reformation was the Bible, the belief that God has spoken clearly to His people through His Word, and that His Word can be trusted. [He] will lay out why the Bible can still be trusted, how it remains the foundation for life, and how we need to read it faithfully in order to stand in this world.”