Celebrating the Reformation

Reformation Offerings

St. John’s is spending 2017 commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, an important time in history for the church and the world. Adult Discipleship, along with other ministry teams, will offer opportunities for you to study and participate in activities along the way. New information will be added to this page as we move through the year.

Bloomington/Normal Reformation Events

You are invited to celebrate the Reformation through the following special events:


Reformation Women's Retreat
Saturday, October 21 • 9–11 AM • Parish Life Center
St. John's, Our Saviour, and Resurrection Lutheran Churches join together for this Women's Retreat held at St. John's! All our female reformers are welcome to this Women of the Reformation retreat—with a visit by Katie Luther herself. Enjoy food, fun, and fellowship! Childcare will be available. Please RSVP online or contact Gudrun, (309) 827-6121 ext. 214 or gudrun@stjohnsbloomington.org, by Monday, October 16.


Luther and the Reformation Movie • Sunday, October 22 • 2 PM
Join us at the Normal Theater in Uptown Normal for an afternoon matinee of Rick Steves's Luther and the Reformation, and then have a panel discussion afterward. Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther kicked off the Reformation, which ultimately split western European Christianity in two: Catholic and Protestant. In this one-hour public television special—filmed on location in Germany and Rome—Rick Steves traces the dramatic events of this grassroots movement that changed the course of history. We'll gather for a Luther movie, popcorn, and fun discussion.

Reformation Day Worship • Sunday, October 29 • 8:30 AM, 9:45 AM, and 11 AM • All services in the Sanctuary
Festive worship and children’s programming. Light refreshments in the Parish Life Center from 9–11:30 AM. PLEASE NOTE: in order for the entire congregation to gather together in worship and fellowship, the regular Saturday Evening Worship Service will not meet on Saturday, October 28.

Reformation Day Celebration • Sunday, October 29 • 3 PM • Sanctuary
St. John's, Our Saviour, and Resurrection Lutheran Churches will offer a joint service of Word and Sacrament with a heavy dose of Lutheran hymnody and song. Reformed and always reforming: Celebrating Lutherans in Bloomington/Normal and our Lutheran neighbors around the world. Experience a worship service of Word and Sacrament with favorite Lutheran hymns and four choir anthems. The service tells a story of Lutherans from the Reformation to today with readings and pastoral reflections, including one by the Reverend Harold Skillrud. The offering will support the ELCA’s missionaries and Young Adults in Global Missions.

Cantata and Author Presentation • Sunday, November 12 • 3 PM • IWU Evelyn Chapel
A Bach Cantata featuring a talk entitled Bach Against Modernity by Michael Marissen, Daniel Underhill Professor Emeritus of Music at Swarthmore College, followed by a performance of J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 12 Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen directed by Lev Ivanov, Music Director of the Illinois Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra. University Chaplain Reverend Elyse Nelson-Winger will also offer a theological reflection.


Reformation Books

 Faith Alone: A Daily Devotionalfaith-alone.jpg
A treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Martin Luther’s best writings and sermons from 1513 to 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works. Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day beginning January 1 or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith. If you would like a copy of this devotional, please contact Dave Bollmann.

Reformation Rootsref-roots-cover.jpg

Do you ever wonder why we have so many Christian denominations, and if there is really much difference between them? How did this “Lutheran” thing come about anyway? The answers to these questions lie in the dramatic and turbulent times of the Reformation. This small group DVD resource helps you understand the when, why, how, and what. History buffs will particularly love it.


We Must Plant the Church: 
The Story of Lutherans in Americaalh-front-cover-final.jpg
When Lutherans came to America, they brought with them Martin Luther’s belief that people of faith engage the big questions of the day. This story is characterized by the tension between honoring the European roots of the church and adapting to the new realities of American life. The Lutheran church, from it’s earliest days, faced religious pluralism, intolerance, racism, war, lack of state support, and diversity of languages and traditions. It wasn’t easy then, and it isn’t easy now. Understanding American Lutheran history can change the way we see ourselves and our future. This six-part DVD series transports learners through four centuries.

Contact Dave Bollmann for more information on these and other opportunities.