Reformation 500

October 13th-15th, 2017:
A weekend of events in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation at historic St. James Lutheran Church in downtown Portland.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Reformation 500 flyer.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Susan Karant-Nunn Lecture flyer.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Reformation Artists Lecture flyer.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Oregon Renaissance Band Concert flyer.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Artist Group Reformation Exhibit flyer.


FRIDAY, October 13th

7:30pm Lecture:  “Why in 2017 Should We Be Interested in the 500th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Protestant Reformation?” presented by Susan C. Karant-Nunn, Reformation Scholar, Emerita Director, Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies, and Emerita Regents’ Professor of History at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. Free event.

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, St. James Lutheran Church welcomes Dr. Susan Karant-Nunn to illuminate the relevance of Luther’s protest in the modern era.

Dr. Karant-Nunn will explore some of the rich traditions and events of the 16th century and how they relate to the modern world. Her evening lecture, “Why in 2017 Should We Be Interested in the 500th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Protestant Reformation?” on Friday, October 13th at 7:30pm is free and open to the public. The lecture will be held in the Sanctuary of St. James Lutheran Church.

A renowned scholar, Dr. Karant-Nunn is the author of several books including The Reformation of Ritual: an Interpretation of Early Modern Germany, 1997 and Zwickau in Transition, 1500-1547: The Reformation As an Agent of Change, and The Reformation of Feeling: Shaping the Religious Emotions in Early Modern Germany (Oxford, 2010).  She received her Ph.D. in Early Modern European History from Indiana University, her M.A. in Medieval & Early Modern European History from University. She is a graduate of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa in Religion.

Karant-Nunn’s books have influenced the field of Reformation history—so much so that a leading French early modernist, Professor Bernard Roussel of the Sorbonne, in 1997 entitled a plenary lecture:  “A la manière de Susan Karant-Nunn:  réflexions sur la réforme du rituel dans l’espace francophone” [“In the Manner of Susan Karant-Nunn:  Reflections on the Reformation of Ritual in the Francophone Lands”]. Her newest book, THE PERSONAL LUTHER: ESSAYS ON THE REFORMER FROM A CULTURAL HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, will be published on October 17, 2017.

This Friday night lecture is the keynote presentation for a weekend of events celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation at St. James Lutheran Church. A wine and cheese reception with Susan Karant-Nunn follows her presentation.


SATURDAY, October 14th

4:00pm Illustrated Lecture:  “Three Artists of the Reformation Era: Matthias Grünewald, Albrecht Dürer, & Lucas Cranach — Visualizing the Theology of the Cross” presented by Joel Nickel, artist, theologian. Free event.

In conjunction with the 500th anniversary of Luther’s act, posting the 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg, presenter Joel Nickel proposes that Christians today consider the implications for visual art that this event suggested. The Lutheran tradition has within it a mixed history of iconoclasm that persisted out of fear of idolatry associated with the worship/veneration of saints. But Luther’s “theology of the cross” suggested that we find God, not in philosophical speculation (about beauty or perfection or whimsical spirituality) but in those places where God promises to show up: in the life of Christ, especially on the cross and from the empty tomb.  Visual communication is prominent in the 21st century, so the Lutheran style which appeals to the mind and ear must find a way to attract the eye and heart.

The place to begin is with the three prominent artists of the early 16th century, Grünewald, Durer, and Cranach, who knew each other and worked on similar issues/images both classical (Greek) & medieval (ecclesial). All three artists have something to teach Lutherans and other Christians in our own time.

The presentation will focus on the Grünewald Isenheim altarpiece, Dürer etchings, and Cranach paintings highlighting the “social reformation.” There are bridges of comparison between all three artists: crucifixion/resurrection art, Adam & Eve images, and the artists’ contemporary world outlooks.

Reception to follow the lecture.


SATURDAY, October 14th

7:30pm Concert:  “Sounds of the Reformation:  Music of Martin Luther and his Contemporaries” The Oregon Renaissance Band, directed by Phil and Gayle Neuman. $10.00 admission at the door.

About the Concert: The repertoire, guaranteed to transport the listener back to the soundscape of music and instruments familiar to Luther, includes the earliest settings of Lutheran hymns by Johann Walther and Caspar Othmayr, as well as music by King Henry VIII with whom Luther corresponded, and other early 16th century dances and instrumental works.

The Oregon Renaissance Band, formed in 1991 and directed by Phil and Gayle Neuman, is a 12 member ensemble that performs on a wide variety of historical instruments including early violin, viola da gamba, recorders, sackbutts, serpent, cornamusen, krummhorns, racketts, tartold, schreierpfeiffen, bagpipes, cittern, spinettino, tabor and other percussion. The group has performed for numerous concert series in the U.S., Canada, and Germany. The ensemble specializes in performances with rhythmic precision, lively ornamentation, precise intonation, and great variety. The members are David Bryan, Sharon Cheney, Daphne Clifton, Ben Fitch, Lori Fitch, Polly Gibson, Andy Harris, Laura Kuhlman, Cindy Markham, Gayle Neuman, Phil Neuman, Kathryn Richer, and Esther Saulle. The Oregon Renaissance Band appears in the 2016 movie “Buddymoon” directed by Alex Simmons and distributed by Orion.


SUNDAY, October 15th

9:30am Festive Eucharist, Luther’s sung Chorale Mass with trumpet and organ.

5:00pm Bach Cantata Vesper featuring Cantata 80 “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” based on the Luther chorale, “Mighty Fortress is our God” with St. James Bach choir, orchestra, and guest organist Mark Brombaugh. Free will offering.


On display in Pioneer Chapel Art Gallery during the month of October:

St. James Art Gallery exhibit: “Interpretations of Reformation Art.”
Artists of St. James Visual Arts group present original works inspired by art work of selected Reformation artists.

The St. James Artist Group explores the works of the three Reformation artists:  Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer and Matthias Grünewald as inspiration in creating new works. What do the works of these Reformation artists suggest to us today? In various media, photography, print, paint, and drawing materials the St. James Artist group attempts to answer this question in individual styles from abstraction to expressionism to realism. The display pairs the artists’ works in reference to the Reformation art pieces whose images and themes that inspired them.

Works are on display in Pioneer Chapel Art Gallery during the month of October. Viewing times Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday 9:00am-3:00pm, Wednesdays 9:00-11:00am & 1:00-3:00pm, Sundays 11:00am-12:00pm, and by appointment. (Chelsea: 503-227-2439)

Artists’ Reception:  Sunday, October 8th at 6:00pm, following 5:00pm Jazz Vespers with guest jazz vocalist Marilyn Keller.


St. James Lutheran Church is located in downtown Portland at 1315 SW Park Ave.
For more information, call 503-227-2439.