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St Johns Southgate

09 Nov 2017

Re-Formation?

On Saturday, October 28, history was made at St Johns, Southgate.

Members of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Lutheran congregations of Melbourne gathered together to commemorate 500 years since the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

It is often said that the Reformation began on October 31, 1517, when Dr Martin Luther, a priest and biblical scholar posted a paper that would become known as “The 95 Theses”.

These theses, rather provocatively, called into question some of the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and set in motion a chain reaction that would see Luther and those he inspired leave the Roman church.

The Reformation of the 16th century was seismic in its impact, leaving a severe rift between Catholics and Lutherans. Over the centuries it even led to violent conflicts and wars.

But 500 years later, these two churches, while still remaining apart, are more willing than ever to seek common ground and work to resolve their differences.

At St Johns, Southgate and at Catholic and Lutheran churches around the world, the anniversary of the Reformation was this year, for the first time, commemorated by Lutherans and Catholics together.

Christians of Melbourne – those identifying as Catholic and those as Lutheran – came together at St Johns in a way that even recently would have been unimaginable.

But a spirit of humility, graciousness and generosity led the congregation to both lament the wrongs of the past whilst committing to walk together on a path towards reunification.

Those gathered, myself included, were deeply moved by the way in which it seemed we might be coming towards the end of an era of tribalism and starting the next 500 years on a new and hopeful note.

Whatever comes next for Lutherans and Catholics it will undoubtedly be driven by this new enthusiasm for unity and will surely emphasise those things that unite, rather than those that divide, so that bridges might be built for those remaining gaps.

As a part of our program of events commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, St Johns, Southgate is proud to present the premiere of a new composition – Southern Cantata written by Andrew Schultz to a libretto by Katherine Firth – to be performed at our 9.00am service on December 3. Free entry. All welcome.

Tom Hoffmann - Pastor

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