Stained glass from Luther Chapel in Veste Coburg, depicting Martin Luther.Stained glass from Luther Chapel in Veste Coburg, depicting Martin Luther.

As the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation on October 31 approaches, Concordia University Wisconsin will host a number of special events the week of October 23-29 leading up to the official commemoration.

Highlighting the week is a Reformation Symposium on Wednesday, October 25 when all undergraduate classes will be suspended so that students can attend a keynote presentation and daylong sectionals. A Reformation Service will culminate activities at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, October 29 in The Chapel of the Christ Triumphant, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive.

The week begins with an Opening Reception on Monday, October 23 from 6-7 p.m. in the Art Gallery for a faculty/student Reformation themed show. Later that night, a short dramatic presentation featuring Concordia theatre arts students will be held in The Todd Wehr Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

The all-day symposium on Wednesday starts with a community breakfast at 8:30 a.m., followed by the customary weekday chapel service at 9:30 a.m. Dr. Robert Benne, professor emeritus at Roanoke College and a longtime researcher of Martin Luther’s theological doctrine, will deliver a keynote presentation in the chapel from 10:30-12 entitled, “On Vocation.”Following lunch and a panel discussion with the deans of Concordia’s six schools, individual school sectionals will be held around campus at 2:45 and 4 p.m. A Gemutlichkeit for faculty, staff and students at 5 p.m. in the Pharmacy School atrium will cap off the day’s activities.

Concordia’s School of Education is holding an essay contest for high school students, with cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 awarded to the top three essays addressing, What difference does the Lutheran Reformation make in the world today?Entries, with a cover sheet detailing name, age, grade level, contact information, and school name, are due by 5 p.m. Friday, October 13 to Winners will be announced at the South Wisconsin District Reformation Service Sunday. Please contact Dr. Michael Uden, dean of the school, with any questions.

“We’ve been holding bi-annual public lectures in the fall and spring since 2012 to celebrate ways in which the Reformation has impacted not only the church, but the arts and sciences as well,” noted Dr. Timothy Maschke, who chairs a Reformation 500 Committee formed in the summer of 2012.

A Friday evening concert at 7 p.m. in the chapel and a showing of the movie, “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changes the World,” the following night, are also planned. The movie, an advanced ticketed event, begins at 7 p.m. in the Todd Wehr Auditorium. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.

Sunday’s Reformation Service features choirs from Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. The Rev. John Wohlrabe, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s 4th Vice President and Great Lakes Regional Vice President, will preach.

For more details on all of the Reformation 500 activities planned October 23-29, 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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