Westminster Abbey Marks 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Tuesday, 31st October 2017

Westminster Abbey Marks 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

A service to mark the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses and the start of the Reformation was held at Westminster Abbey at Noon on Tuesday 31st October 2017.

The service was conducted by the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, who said in his Bidding:

Five hundred years ago today, Martin Luther enclosed with a letter to his archbishop 95 theses critical of aspects of Church practice at the time. He objected in particular to Christians being urged to pay a price that a dead loved one might be freed from punishment.

Five hundred years later, we remember that the universal Church, the body of Christ is under God semper reformanda, always to be reformed. And we recall, with sadness, the cruelty and the deaths that blighted the ensuing decades and, with gratitude, the determination and trust that endured to the end and conquered through suffering.

Today, we stand together, reconciled in Christ, walking side by side, praying that we may be ever more united in our diversity and that we may draw more and more children of God into the beautiful story of God’s love revealed in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Address was given by the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan.

The Right Reverend Dr Martin Lind, Bishop, The Lutheran Church in Great Britain, read Romans 1: 16-17, 3:21-18; and the Reverend Eliza Zikmane, pastor, the United London Latvian Lutheran Church and St Anne's Lutheran Church, London, read St John 17: 20-26.

The Reverend Torbjørn Holt, the Norwegian Church in London and Chairman of The Lutheran Council of Great Britain, introduced the Act of Penitence. The Dean pronounced the Absolution.

During the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged the Anglican Communion’s affirmation of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches.

The prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor, and said by: David Lin, Chairman of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain; His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster; Madelaine Mason, the Swedish Church in London; the Reverend Susanne Freddin Skovhus, the Danish Church in London; the Reverend Georg Amann, Deutsche Evangelische Christuskirche, London; and the Reverend Professor Vernon White, Sub-Dean and Canon Theologian.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir, conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist.

Order of Service for A Service to Mark the 500th Anniversary of the 95 Theses and the Start of the Reformation (PDF, 377KB)