500th Anniversary of the Reformation


Reformation Commemoration Service (Oct. 29, 2017)

A Reformation Commemoration Service is to be held jointly by the Nebraska and Western Iowa synods on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 from 2-3:15pm. The service will be held at St. John's Parish on the Creighton University campus in Omaha, Nebraska. A reception will follow the service and will be held in the lower level of St. John's Parish on the campus.

Bishop Brian Maas of the Nebraska Synod and Bishop Rodger Prois of the Western Iowa Synod will be leading the worship service. The service will feature brass and adult and children’s choirs to help commemorate the occasion. Representatives of the ELCA’s ecumenical partners will be in attendance.  Due to limited seating, registration is required. Please bring your free ticket with you to the event. Registration links are below:

Rostered Ministers Registration

General Admission

Rostered ministers planning to vest and process should arrive by 1:30pm and meet in the back of the church.  Adult choir participants should arrive at 12:45pm for the 1pm rehearsal. The offering that day will be split evenly between Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Catholic Charities of Omaha, and Lutheran Services in Iowa.  Checks should be made payable to the Nebraska Synod.


If you are unable to attend this Reformation Commemoration service in person, consider participating in a live stream worship event at one of the following congregations:

Beatrice—Holy Cross






First-North Platte

St. Paul’s-Falls City

St. John’s-Norfolk

St. John’s United-Alliance

St. Michael’s-Omaha

To view the service online go to this link at the start of the service.


Lincoln Area 500th Anniversary Reformation Worship
“All Things New”
Monday, October 30, 2017
7:30 p.m.
Southwood Lutheran Church
4301 Wilderness Hills Blvd.
Lincoln, NE 68516

The Lincoln Area Mission Cluster of the Nebraska Synod, ELCA, Southwood Lutheran Church, and the Nebraska Synod TheoCon are partnering to host a celebration of our common witness to the Gospel commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Congregations, ministries and individuals are invited to bring quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and an offering for Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska which will support the expanded Lincoln Health 360 center. We hope to display at least 500 quilts, and to contribute significantly to those in need in our community! Bishop Brian Maas will preach and musicians from area congregations will offer their talents in praise.

Downloadable Links for the Oct 29th Service

Past Event Highlights

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in a spirit of mutual reconciliation, repentance, and hope, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha and the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are hosting two prayer services in Omaha, May 1st and September 11th.

The September service will be held at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church (2650 Farnam) on Monday, September 11th, at 7 p.m. Archbishop Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha will preach.

Both bishops will co-preside at each service, and all are welcome and invited to attend. The services will use Common Prayer*, a resource developed by a joint commission of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation. The Common Prayer service is based on the joint ecumenical document, From Conflict to Communion, which calls on Roman Catholics and Lutherans worldwide to affirm their common faith.

The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation is a celebration of the fundamental aspects of faith that the two bodies share in common. The two sides are committed to discussing their remaining differences with honesty and humility. By participating in these two prayer services, Roman Catholics and Lutherans give public testimony to the shared virtues of repentance and reconciliation, thanksgiving and hope through the merits of Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo Gloria! (To God alone the Glory!). 

For more information, please see the following links:

*The Common Prayer, is a practical guide to a process of worship for a joint Roman Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of 500 years of the Reformation. It is structured around the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness. The aim is to express the gifts of the Reformation and ask forgiveness for the division perpetuated by Christians from the two traditions. Common Prayer is the liturgy used last year by Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Younan, the President of the Lutheran World Federation, on the Pope's visit to Lund Cathedral in Sweden. 

The May 1st Reformation Prayer Service was a beautiful and inspiring evening. Archbishop Lucas and St. Cecilia's Cathedral were gracious hosts in a glorious space. Pr. Ashley Hall and Fr. Ryan Lewis did extensive preparation and assisted in leading, as did several lay readers and an excellent choir. Ruth Henrichs, Director of Lutheran Family Services and John Griffith, Director of Catholic Charities, lit candles to commemorate our joint commitments to dialog. The music--organ, choir, congregational hymns--were something to experience in that space. The fellowship after was warm and engaging. It was an excellent launch to a series of significant ecumenical events, Reformation commemorations and ongoing witness to the power of faith to draw people together in spite of differences. If you missed this event you can see photos on our Facebook page.

As part of the Synod's commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, around sixty people from around the Synod gathered with their Jewish neighbors at Beth El Synagogue on June 24 and 25th, to learn more about past and current Lutheran-Jewish relations. The Kripke Center for Religion and Society at Creighton University sponsored two speakers, Dean Bell (Professor of History at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership) and Peter Pettit (Associate Professor of Religion Studies, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College, and ELCA pastor). Prof. Bell discussed Luther's anti-Jewish statements and placed them within the context of the late medieval period. During his session, Prof. Pettit discussed the actions of the LWF, ELCA (and predecessing bodies) to renounce such anti-Jewish statements and their committment to stand against discrimination and injustice against the Jewish people. Jewish and Lutheran participants had the opportunity to discuss the effects of anti-Jewish actions by Christians and the hope and possibility for reconciliation. 

The day before, Prof. Pettit met with a smaller but engaged group of area clergy and educators at St. Michael's. Participants had the opportunity to study the harsh and sometimes violent anti-Jewish statements of Luther and his contemporaries. As clergy and educators, participants discussed how to make the people in their congregations aware of the responsibility that Lutheran Christians have taken to address the past and commit to a future as better disciples of Jesus Christ. In particular, they examined two ELCA resources developed for use in the parish, Talking Points: Topics in Christian Jewish Relations (2002) and Covenantal Conversations: Christians in Dialogue with Jews and Judaism (2008). Both resources, and more, can be found on the ELCA's website, under Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations. For more information, please contact Pr. Ashley Hall at Thank you to the hosts, speakers, and all participatants in these challenging but rewarding conversations!