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Reformation celebration honors 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517
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Visitors stand in front of a scene of the monumental panoramic artwork ‘LUTHER 1517’, which is printed on cloth widths by artist Yadegar Asisi, in Wittenberg, Germany. The panorama is dedicated to the events of 500 years ago when monk and scholar Martin Luther published his 95 Theses on the reform of the Catholic Church. - photo by Associated Press

‘A Day in Dahlonega Celebrating the Reformation’

When: Noon Oct. 24

Where: Hoag Student Center Auditorium, University of North Georgia Dahlonega

How much: Free

This month marks 500 years since the Protestant Reformation began on Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther challenged the sale of indulgences.

In commemoration of the Catholic professor posting 95 sentences on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, a number of special events have been planned in Northeast Georgia.

“A Day in Dahlonega Celebrating the Reformation” is set for Oct. 24, with a lecture given by the Rev. Dr. Scott Hendrix titled “Martin Luther: Controversial Reformer and the Reformation 500 Years After.” Hendrix is a retired professor of Reformation History at Princeton Theological Seminary.

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Rev. Dr. Scott Hendrix

The lecture will be at noon in the Hoag Student Center Auditorium at the University of North Georgia. Hendrix’s presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Hendrix will draw on a rich heritage of Reformation scholarship for his presentation. The author of numerous books and articles, his most recent major work is the acclaimed biography, “Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer,” published by Yale University Press in 2015. Oxford University Press has published his “Martin Luther: A Very Short Introduction.” 

A graduate of Duke University, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and his doctorate from Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen, Germany.

Sponsored by UNG’s Department of History, Anthropology and Philosophy in collaboration with the Lutheran Student Fellowship, the event is open to the public.

Local and area clergy and other religious leaders are invited to St. Peter Lutheran Church for conversation, refreshments and a brief time of worship at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 24. A major presentation will follow at 10:20 a.m. by the Rev. Dr. Albert Garcia, a retired theology professor from Concordia University Wisconsin, “Sola Agape Dei: The Way to Reimagine the Reformation 500 Years After.”

The church is located at 109 Tipton Drive in Dahlonega.

Garcia is a native of Cuba who came to this country in his youth and became a Lutheran as a teen in Miami, Florida. His basic theological education was taken at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and his doctoral work was done at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Chicago. He has translated Luther’s Latin Commentary on the Minor Prophets into Spanish, as well as authored numerous articles and books, the latest of which he co-authored with John Nunes, “Wittenberg Meets the World: Reimagining the Reformation at the Margins.”

“The desire of the sponsors of these activities is not only to help participants sense how the Reformation has significantly helped to shape our modern world in terms of religion, politics, education and work, but also to help us consider which of the Reformation emphases are worth continuing in our times” said Rev. Dr. Gerhard Michael, Jr., pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church.

Following both major presentations, clergy and other religious leaders are invited to attend a luncheon at the UNG Dining Hall Banquet Room from 1:30-3:30 p.m. A reception for the general public to meet Hendrix will be held in the Banquet Room beginning at 4 p.m.

Another component of the anniversary celebration is the showing of the widely acclaimed documentary film, “Martin Luther: Idea that Changed the World,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 in the Hoag Student Center Auditorium. Sponsored by the Lutheran Student Fellowship of UNG, the movie is open to the public. 

A series of interactive posters from the German government commemorating the Reformation will be displayed in the Great Room at the Student Center in conjunction with the event. 

Michael said he “hopes that many in our community would attend these events to reflect on the Reformation heritage and consider hot it might impact our society in positive ways,” according to a press release.

St. Peter Lutheran Church welcomes the community to its festival Reformation worship at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 29.

According to Michael, the day’s service will highlight the ”solas” (“alones”) which characterize the Protestant Reformation, that “one is saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, as testified in Scripture alone.”

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