The Sierra Pacific Synod plans to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation through many events as well as using multimedia, social networking and storytelling to help show how the themes of the Reformation continue to shape our life and faith. Events include:
- A weekly Martin Luther reading curriculum, with Professor Kirsi Stjerna, using the newly released “Annotated Luther” (led by Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary)
- A major worship service in the Bay Area (lead by St. James Lutheran Church, San Leandro, Calif.)
- Monthly justice projects throughout the synod – including a pre-Synod Assembly gathering in 2017 (lead by the Welcome Ministry in partnerships with congregations throughout the synod, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, SF Cares and Grace Lutheran in San Francisco)
- Local artistic and cultural events (led by Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and St. Matthews in San Francisco)
- Several pilgrimage trips to Germany and Italy (led by Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and others around the synod)
- An interactive website, storytelling opportunities, a social media campaign and live-stream opportunities (led by the Welcome Ministry in partnership with Grace Lutheran in San Francisco)
Since receiving grant funds, the Sierra Pacific Synod has held or has plans for events that span the scope of in-person and digital experiences.
It starts with their current website (www.ref500.info) which has received almost 1900 visitors. The site has been a major platform for communicating nine events in 2016, including five artistic events, three lectures and one online synodical gathering.
Among these events was the Elegy for Ghost Ship, hosted by Grace Cathedral in the San Francisco Bay Area. The interfaith artistic happening attracted more than 600 attendants and raised nearly $300 for the Trans Assistance Project while providing healing support for those affected by the Oakland Warehouse Fire that killed 36 individuals. To read more about this event, click here.
The website also hosts a variety of interactive storytelling opportunities, a social media campaign and live-stream opportunities, including The Luther Study Group. This group was created to study Luther during the Reformation anniversary year and has met six times. Available in-person and via live stream through Cal Lutheran University, the live stream has demonstrated the interest in digital learning with nearly five times the amount of in-person attendance. To learn how to access this live-stream educational opportunity, click here.
In 2017, the Synod’s plans continue with six more events focused on different aspects of the Reformation. They include:
May 4: Pre-Assembly Day of Service hosting justice events around Fresno, CA city prior to the start of the Synod Assembly.
May 5 -7: Sierra Pacific Assembly is a centerpiece of the synod’s Reformation anniversary commemoration. During the assembly, members will be invited to share their stories as part of the Reformation anniversary storytelling projects.
May 17-24: The Luther Pilgrimage to Germany, led by Pastor Dan Smith, includes a tour of the historic sites where Martin Luther lived, preached, taught and protested. This trip is open to other interested individuals and can sign up here. Questions about the trip can be posted to Pastor Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 24 – 28: Kirchentag is a gathering of more than 100,000 Germans and international visitors for intensive discussion and critical debate about the contemporary church, concerts, meditation, artistic expression and worship. Pastor Derek Harman is on the International Committee for the Kirchentag and will be attending this event, along with those who are interested. To learn more visit this site or contact Pastor Harman at email@example.com.
September 30: The Luther Wedding, is a re-enactment of Martin Luther’s wedding to Katie Von Bora, with you as a guest. This fun interpretation takes place at St. John’s Lutheran in Sacramento and includes food, a wine-centric reception and period music. Costumes are optional but encouraged.
Sunday, October 29: Festival Reformation 500 Anniversary service is the capstone event for the synod’s year-long celebration. Hosted by Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the service will be led by St James Lutheran Church of San Leandro.
To learn more about the Sierra Pacific Synod’s activities, including those mentioned above, please visit the synod’s Reformation anniversary website: www.ref500.info.