Church Convention roadshow
The 2017 Church Convention will stop in eight towns before coming to its celebratory conclusion before the gates of Wittenberg.
The 2017 convention for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will be celebrated a little differently than usual. Following in Luther's footsteps, there will be a varied program from 25-27 May in the central German towns where Luther lived and worked which will focus on Luther the person and the Reformation which he set in motion. Six Church Conventions in eight towns will acquaint participants with the story of the Reformation, breathe new life into an old cultural landscape in Central Germany and provide information on Christian communities in a secularized region of Germany.
Luther's work in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia
The eight towns where the Church Convention roadshow will be staged are Leipzig, Magdeburg, Erfurt, Jena/Weimar, Halle/Eisleben and Dessau-Roßlau whereby Halle and Eisleben as well as Jena and Weimar will each stage their conventions in joint collaboration. The influence of Martin Luther's life and work can be felt to this day in each of these towns. Leipzig is where the famous altercation took place between Luther and Johannes Eck, his adversary who was faithful to Rome. Magdeburg became the arena for Luther's sermons, and in Erfurt he opted for theology, entered a monastery and was ordained as a priest. His gravestone can be viewed today in Jena while his "On Secular Authority" writings were created in Weimar. Luther's sermons could also be heard in the market church in Halle, Eisleben contains the house where he was born and the church where he was christened as well as being the scene of his final sermons and where he died. There will also be events in Dessau-Roßlau forming part of the Church Convention roadshow as it is there that Germany's oldest State Church is based in the shape of the Evangelical State Church of Anhalt.
There will be much to explore in the towns hosting the Church Convention roadshow
Along the way to the celebratory service in Wittenberg's Elbe meadows, the climax to the 36th German Evangelical Church Convention, the participating towns will stage a varied program for all interested visitors. As every town has grown along different lines and has a different connection to Luther, the agendas are as individual as the towns themselves.
For example, Erfurt will focus not only on Martin Luther but also on another well-known theologian from the town, Meister Eckhart. Leipzig, on the other hand, will stage its events under the banner, "Music - Disputes - Life" and will also focus on Johann Sebastian Bach. Moses Mendelssohn, a forerunner of the Enlightenment, will be the center of attention in Dessau-Roßlau. The organizers want to turn the conventions into places of encounter where people can congregate, pray, and celebrate together. Guests are also invited to take an active part in the panel discussions, debates, presentations and workshops.
The Church Convention roadshow will conduct an exciting experiment on Ascension Day: the ecumenical Ascension Day service will take place simultaneously in all the convention locations. The services will all start at 6.30 p.m. This will express the links the towns enjoy with each other as well as with the 36th German Evangelical Church Conventions in Wittenberg and Berlin.
The celebratory service as official conclusion to the Church Convention
The final celebratory service will be held on Sunday, 28 May 2017 at 12.00 noon. Guests from the Church Convention roadshow and the Church Convention in Berlin are scheduled to arrive in the morning. The organizers are expecting visitors from around the world to celebrate Holy Communion, sing and listen to the trombone choirs together on the site of Wittenberg's Elbe meadows. The subsequent party will give participants the chance to strike up conversations and swap views on the Reformation and their own experiences on the subject of religion. Christians of all confessions are naturally invited to join in the Church Convention roadshow and the celebratory service.