Reformation worship focuses on God’s grace

A year ago, in anticipation of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, initial plans were made for a large celebration in Milwaukee that would include conferences for all WELS called workers and a large festival worship service for called workers and WELS members in the 15,000- seat Bradley Center. After determining the huge cost of such an event, the decision was made not to hold the event as hoped but to encourage districts and regions to plan for local celebrations that would be less costly and enable more people to participate.

That decision was blessed by God. During the last two weekends, more than 20 districts and regions held special Reformation 500 worship services. The events were very well attended and provided many more people the opportunity to join in this celebration than would have been possible with one centralized event. In each case, worshipers had the opportunity to thank and praise God for the blessings of the Lutheran Reformation. Worshipers were reminded that “grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone” is not just a slogan or motto, but the heart and center of what connects us to “Christ alone.”

Below is a slideshow of some of the special worship services and events held in our synod—both in the United States and around the world. To view more photos or contribute your own, check out the WELS Facebook page at Watch for more photos and information about Reformation 500 celebrations in the January 2018 edition of Forward in Christ magazine.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder


Reformation 500 celebrations

New set of “theses” highlights the basic teachings of Lutheranism

As part of its triennial convention in Grimma, Germany, this past summer, the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC) approved a new set of Ninety-five theses to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

While Luther’s theses focused on the abuse of indulgences in the church at the time, Ninety-Five Theses for the 21st Century has a different theme. “It’s really the basic teachings of the Lutheran faith organized according to the Small Catechism,” says Rev. Thomas Nass, professor at Martin Luther College and one of the men leading the development of the theses. “I think it’s what every Lutheran layperson should know.”

Fifteen pastors from sister churches around the world put together the document. “It’s something that the churches of our fellowship have done together to show how they’re united in the Lutheran faith,” says Nass.

Mr. Greg Vandermause, production studio manager at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minn., produced a video of leaders from our sister church bodies reading these contemporary statements of faith at the CELC convention in Grimma. Hymns written by Martin Luther are interspersed between the readings. The video can be viewed online.

“We pray that you are encouraged in the faith that has been passed down and that you find joy in seeing how that faith is shared by many around the world,” says Nass.

Purchase a print copy of the booklet at Watch the October WELS Connection to learn more about the CELC convention in Germany. Learn more about the CELC at




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