500th anniversary of the Reformation

On Saturday 14th October 2017, a musical workshop will take place in St. Saviour’s Church, Welham Road, Retford, DN22 6QW.

Between 9.30am and 5.30pm Andy Watts of The Carnival Band will help participants explore the musical heritage of Martin Luther and the Reformation, and ways in which it developed in England, particularly the West Gallery music as performed today by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band. The number of places for singers and instrumentalists is limited to 50 (£10 including lunch).

Places can be booked at http://www.eventbrite.co.uk: search for Luther 500 Applications, or http://www.trinitycircuit.net/events).

The workshop will be followed by a REFORMATION 500 COMMEMORATION SERVICE at 7pm in St Saviour’s Church to which everyone is invited. The music and songs rehearsed during the day will be included and the preacher will be the Rev Paulina Hlawiczka, the Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Nottingham.

On 31st October 2017, all round the world, people are marking the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 theses on the door of the castle chapel in the German town of Wittenberg – an event that has become known as the starting point of the Reformation.


Luther, an Augustinian monk, taught Biblical theology in Wittenberg’s new university. He found himself facing two difficulties. First, it was hard to reconcile his understanding of the Bible’s teachings with some traditional teachings of the Church. Second, he struggled with his own spiritual standing in the eyes of God. His theses dealt with several different matters, but were particularly prompted by the sale of letters known as ‘Indulgences’. These were said to shorten the length of time spent by departed believers in Purgatory, but Luther could find no Biblical basis for such a belief. He had gradually come to understand that human beings are reconciled to God purely by God’s generosity, his grace, rather than by anything they might do, however good.

Within a very short time the theses, which had been written in Latin, were translated into German, printed and widely distributed throughout the many different territories of Germany. Luther had no intention of causing a rift in the Church of Rome, but that is indeed what happened. Ever since, here in the west, the Roman Catholic Church has continued to exist alongside many Protestant Churches.

In this anniversary year Roman Catholics and Protestants are joining together to commemorate 500 years of continuing reform. All over the UK, and across the world, there are an enormous variety of events. In Retford, the Churches are inviting people to consider how the Reformation prompted by Martin Luther gave church music back to the people.

Arguably, Luther started a series of events which included Henry Vlll’s dissolution of the monasteries and establishment as head of the Church of England, swung violently through the reigns of Edward lV, Mary l and Elizabeth l, including the Spanish War and Cranmer’s Protestant Reformation. A hundred years of religious and political challenge delivered James 1 to the throne of Great Britain and the Separatists to arise in the area in and around Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire.

From here, some of them started a journey to found a colony in America. This year’s Pilgrims Festival starts on Saturday and Sunday 18th & 19th November with a Pilgrims inspired Art Exhibition at Babworth, followed by a range of events in Austerfield and Bawtry on Sunday 19th November; Retford on Tuesday 21st November; and Gainsborough on Wednesday 22nd November. A Thanksgiving Day Dinner is planned at Spencer’s on the Square in Retford on Thursday 23rd November and a concert by Doncaster Waites at Scrooby Village Hall on Friday 24th November. The Christmas Tree Festival at St Swithun’s and the Star Festival at the Grove will start on Saturday 25th November and the Christmas lights will be switched on in Bawtry and Retford on Sunday 26th November.