Martin Luther StatueMartin Luther Statue

2017 marks a milestone year in Lutheran Church history with the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his ninety five theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517, and Concordia University Wisconsin has a number of activities planned to celebrate.

Events which began in the spring of 2013 will culminate with a week-long celebration October 23-29 featuring a morning symposium October 25 by Dr. Robert Benne, Jordan Trexler Professor Emeritus at Roanoke College, Roanoke, Virginia.  The author of 10 books, Benne will keynote a panel later that day with the university’s six deans to discuss his paper on vocation.  All classes will be suspended so students can attend sectionals scheduled throughout the day.

Two nights later, all major music ensembles will look back in history with selections by Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn, great admirers of Martin Luther’s writings.  Evening showings of Martin Luther movies are planned, along with a special German meal, a T-shirt design contest for area elementary school students, and a dramatic production by theatre arts students.  The week will conclude with a Reformation 500 service on Sunday in the Chapel of the Christ Triumphant.

Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Theology Department is hosting a four-part speaker series in its Kreft Center for the Arts.  “Reformation Relived: After 500 Years,” continues Thursday, February 16 at 7 p.m. with a presentation by Dr. Thomas Trapp, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota.  Other dates are: Tuesday, April 4; Dr. Ronald Delph, Eastern Michigan University, and Tuesday, November 17; Dr. David Maxwell, Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

In addition to the speaker series, Concordia Ann Arbor will host a campus-wide, Reformation 500 Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 16 and a Reformation Roundtable on September 19 featuring Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry, CUW and CUAA President, and Rev. Bob Lynn, Associate Pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Reformation 500 activities have been ongoing for four years.  Last April, a 5-foot, bronze statue of Martin Luther was dedicated near the main entrance, which came on the heels of a statue erected in the Concordia University Ann Arbor courtyard six months earlier.  The statue at Concordia University Wisconsin sits atop a 30-inch pedestal with one hand raised and his other holding an open Bible.

Dr. Timothy Maschke, longtime CUW professor of theology, chairs a seven-member Reformation 500 Committee formed in 2012 to organize events leading up to the 500th anniversary, including bi-annual public lectures focusing on ways the Reformation has impacted theology, the arts and the sciences.  Dr. Erik Herrmann, a 1995 alumnus and current director of the Center for Reformation Research at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, will present a spring lecture entitled “Being Religious: Martin Luther’s Reform of Christian Life and Devotion,” March 28-29 in the School of Pharmacy.

For more information on Reformation activities, please visit

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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