In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation dating back to October 31, 1517, the congregations of the Montreal Ministry Area of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have teamed up and extended their efforts to help educate, fundraise, and build community surrounding the theme of the commemoration of the Reformation.
These upcoming events are by no means anything new for many of the congregations in Montreal, as this past year has already been highlighted by countless activities and gatherings in preparation for the upcoming anniversary.
Under the auspices of the Montreal Lutheran Council – which represents the Montreal Ministry Area – a Reformation 2017 fund was established to collect direct donations from various parishes as money to use for the 2017 events. These activities highlighted Lutherans and the Lutheran teachings and practices to those in the community unfamiliar with such things.
Over the course of the 2017 calendar year, four major Reformation-focused events took place in Montreal, with four more planned dates to come. These events served as a way to create awareness of the coming anniversary, as well as an interactive chance to provide insights and education to those yearning for more information on the history and significance that the year 2017 holds.
On Transfiguration Sunday, February 26, the members of St. John’s gathered to acknowledge the upcoming anniversary of the 95 Theses and to discuss plans for the upcoming year. Throughout the following months, various study groups formed in the Montreal congregations as a way to look closer at the set themes of the Reformation 500 celebrations. In using the study guides prepared by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), St. John’s held Lenten study groups exploring each of the three sub-themes the LWF and ELCIC have been lifting up leading up to the anniversary: Liberated by God’s Grace, Salvation – Not for Sale, Creation – Not for Sale, Human Beings – Not for Sale.
The first major educational event of the year focused on northern environmental issues and Inuit peoples. This event – held mid-March – featured a conference in conjunction with Concordia University College and Layola College for Diversity and Sustainability.
Another joint education event also took place as the Reformation and the City conference rolled into Montreal in early May. This conference featured the theology departments of McGill and Concordia Universities, and provided an invitation to observe keynote presenters and topics relating the reformation issues to life in the 21st century.
A fund-raising concert, highlighted by Juno award-winning folk singer, Connie Kaldor also took place in early May at St. Barnabas Anglican Church. The collected funds went towards the ELCIC Reformation Challenge.
Coming up on Saturday, October 21st, at Très-St-Nom-de-Jesus Roman Catholic Church, Maestro Kent Nagano of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra will be the honorary patron of a concert of reformation music with musician from the orchestra and Montreal’s top choral singers. The evening is a “Hommage à Luther” and features as a highlight J.S. Bach’s Reformaiton Cantate “Ein Feste Burg.” Honoured guest is the Roman Catholic Archbisihop of Montreal. This event focusing on Luther and music works of faith over the centuries will be free to the public, but supporter tickets are also available. Proceeds will go towards concert expenses and the Reformation Challenge.
On Reformation Sunday, October 29, St. John’s will be hosting a festive Reformation liturgy featuring guest preacher, Bishop Thomas Dowd of the Roman Archdiocese in Montreal at 11:00 A.M. downtown. An open house will follow the liturgy.
Although the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will already have passed, Saturday, November 18th will also be a special day at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse and Roman Archdiocese Christine Lapine will co-host, “From Conflict to Communion: Together in Hope”, a celebration of prayer service.
Finally, on Saturday, December 9, a Reformation concert featuring works from the Lutheran and Roman traditions will be held at Salle Claude Champagne in the Université de Montreal Concert Hall. Mendelssohn’s “Reformation Symphony” will be juxtaposed with Messiaen’s “Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum”, as conducted by Kent Nagano.
More information regarding the upcoming Reformation Commemoration and related activities/events in the Montreal Ministry Area can be found at www.reformation500.quebec and http://www.saintjohnslutheranmontreal.org/events/.