General Synod delegates commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with an evening of song and prayer on Sunday, June 11. The commemoration was part of an ecumenical evening and also celebrated an improved relationship between the RCA and the Roman Catholic church in recent years.
“It is 2017. Five hundred years since the Reformation, and just 50 years since the start of the Catholic–Reformed dialogue,” said Sue Rozeboom, Western Theological Seminary professor and participant in the Catholic–Reformed dialogue. “And look how far we’ve come. These 50 years have taken us to the font. Maybe the next 50 years will take us to the feast.” (In 2011, U.S. Catholic and Reformed churches began recognizing one another’s baptisms. In the future, Rozeboom hopes, they will come to agreement about the Lord’s Supper.)
Are you planning to commemorate the Reformation’s 500th anniversary in your church? You can download the liturgy from the General Synod commemoration here and use it in your service.
We’ve also whipped up a little trip down church history lane for those who could use a refresher on the events of the Reformation. You might also use this simple guide to explain the Reformation to someone new to the Reformed tradition or to a young audience.
Many RCA ecumenical partners and other denominations have been thinking about how to commemorate the Reformation, too. Here are some resources they have put together that you might find helpful:
- Worship and education resources from the Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- “From Conflict to Communion,” a paper by the Lutheran–Roman Catholic Commission on Unity that includes an explanation for commemorating the anniversary, a history of the Reformation, and a call to ecumenism. In the spirit of ecumenism, when General Synod president Dan Gillett had an audience with Pope Francis, Gillett told the pope about his intention to commemorate, rather than celebrate the anniversary.
For full coverage of synod, visit www.rca.org/synod.