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On Track for Reformation 500

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is everywhere in Europe. OK, I don’t know how the Reformation is playing out in places like Italy, but in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and Iceland, it is definitely being noticed.

In Germany, the DB train system is the "official mobility partner of the 2017 Reformation Anniversary." There is even an engine (or presumably multiple engines) painted with the likenesses of Martin Luther, John Hus, and John Calvin, all powerhouses in the Reformation movement.

There are concerts and lectures and exhibits throughout Germany during 2017.

In the Czech Republic they note that John Hus provided the groundwork for the Reformation 102 years before Martin Luther.

In Vienna, the Folklore Museum added to their regular permanent exhibit and created an enhanced exhibit with information about the Reformation's influence on the largely Catholic country.

In Iceland, the tour guide specifically mentioned that there was a civil war when a Catholic Bishop refused to relinquish religious authority.

It jolted me to be reminded that the Reformation largely did away with the Catholic Church in some of these areas (Germany and Iceland) for centuries. Only in the last century has the Catholic Church gained a new foothold in these areas. Since I've always lived in areas where the Catholic Church was visible if not prevalent, that's actually a hard concept for me to grasp.

The Reformation had a powerful influence over much of the world as we know it today. It changed the German language, it changed people's relationship to God, it changed governments, it changed art, it changed music, it changed laws.

In three short months we will be observing the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany. I plan to spend some time doing additional research, and I hope you will join me for an exploration of the effects of the Reformation.

- Ann Warner

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