In a first-of-its-kind event, members of Elizabethtown’s St. Peter Catholic Church and Christ Lutheran Church made plans to gather together for a meal and vesper service to mark what is being called a commemoration — not a celebration — of the Reformation sparked by Martin Luther.
On Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed his “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Although Luther desired to start a conversation within the Catholic Church, his actions sparked a challenge to the church that led to the Protestant Reformation.
Over the past 50 years, that divide has shrunk thanks to the Catholic–Lutheran dialogue — a series of discussions which began during July 1964 as an outgrowth of the Second Vatican Council.
The Rev. A.J. Domines, pastor at Christ Lutheran Church, said the dialogue was important in bridging the gap that had long ago developed between the Catholic and Protestant churches.
The Rev. Steven Fauser, pastor at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, was to deliver the homily in the service scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Christ Lutheran Church, 75 E. High St., Elizabethtown. He said Domines had approached him several months ago to set the table for the anniversary. As of Friday, Oct. 20, 50 members of St. Peter’s had signed up to attend the meal and Vesper service.
“There will be a nice representation from both congregations coming together for fellowship and to pray together and to celebrate all that we have in common,” Fauser said. “(Domines) said, ‘It’s really not a time to celebrate because whenever there is division or separation, that’s not something to rejoice over. But for us to come together for us to realize how, over these 500 years, what we have done to come together.”
In another local event, First Presbyterian Church, 7 Marietta Ave., Mount Joy, has been celebrating the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
During the month of October, members of the church have dressed as John Calvin, John Knox and Ulrich Zwingli. During the worship service, each has given about a 7-minute presentation about their lives, speaking as if they were indeed each of the three.
On Sunday, Oct. 29, during the worship service at 11 a.m., someone portraying Martin Luther is scheduled to visit and tell about his life and his participation in the Reformation.
Everyone is invited to attend the service. After the worship service, refreshments will be served in Fellowship Hall. There will be more information about the month’s events and the lives of these men. Anyone who wants more information may email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 717-653-5888 and leave a message.