The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Plans, Projects, Proposals and Resources for the Anniversary Observance

Many Lutherans are committed to fostering an ongoing reformation of the ELCA that incorporates ecological justice into the full life, identity, and mission of the ELCA. 

There is now an informal group of theologians, teachers, pastors, and lay people working to promote this goal (see "planning group" below). This group is in process of working with many Lutheran leaders and organizations to make plans to seize the 2017 anniversary observance and the events leading up to it as opportunities to make headway in this effort. 

This is a grass roots group not sponsored by LRC. However, LRC is eager to support and cooperate with the group efforts. Keep checking here to see resources and reports of developments.

Plans, Projects and Proposals

Open Letter to Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eatonwith attachment: "Why Lutherans Care for Creation." On November 4, 2014, a group of scholars, teachers, and pastors wrote an open letter to Bishop Eaton supporting her public commitment to address climate change and other environmental issues and offering help in bringing about an eco-justice reforming movement in the church. Copies were sent to each ELCA bishop and to the members of the ELCA Coordinating Committee for the planning of the Observance of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

Message to all planners for the 500th anniversary: Embrace creation care for all programs.

Eco-Reformation Planning Group Join us. E-mail Dave Rhoads at

Projects and Programs in the Works   Sign on to participate or propose additional projects.

Eco-Reformation Resources

Generating an Eco-Reformation: A Speakers Bureau

A Speakers Bureau has been gathered to represent a number of informed leaders in the ELCA capable of serving as conference speakers, panel participants, and workshop leaders for events sponsored by congregations, synods, seminaries, ministeriums, colleges, and other agencies of the church.  Click here for a description and listing of the speakers, or download a a PDF or Word document at the bottom of this page.

 Toward a Better Worldliness: Ecology, Economy, and the Protestant Tradition
by Terra Schwerin Rowe  

Five hundred years ago the Protestant Reformation inspired profound theological, ecclesial, economic, and social transformations. But what impact does the Protestant tradition have today? And what might it have? This volume addresses such questions, focusing on the economic and ecological implications of the Protestant doctrine of grace.  In the spirit of ecotheologies resonating with the best of the Reformation tradition, this book develops a fresh reading of Luther’s theology of grace and his economic ethics in conversation with current reflections on concepts of the gift and gifting practices.

Read more and order in either hardcover or ebook format - E-book format on sale for $9.99 from Amazon or Barnes and Noble until Sept 15, 2017!

Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril

This collection of essays, edited by Lisa Dahill and James Martin-Schramm and soon to be published by Cascade Books, argues that a gospel call for ecological justice belongs at the heart of the 500th anniversary observance of the Reformation in 2017.  

With contributions by:Bill McKibben, Lisa E. Dahill, Wanda Deifelt, Terence E. Fretheim, Norman Habel, James B. Martin-Schramm, Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda, Larry L. Rasmussen, David Rhoads, Barbara R. Rossing, Terra S. Rowe, Robert C. Saler, H. Paul Santmire, Ernest L. Simmons, Benjamin M. Stewart, Victor Thasiah, Aana Marie Vigen

Transfiguring Luther: The Planetary Promise of Luther's Theology

by Vitor Westhelle

In this book, Luther's theology--his view of language and understanding of creation, incarnation, the cross; his affirmation of freedom from ecclesial, economic, and/or political encroachments; his eschatology, and so forth--is seen in a new light in societies in which modernization does not necessarily mean secularization and the spirit is not set in dual opposition to things material. 

Currents in Theology and Mission - April 2016

Eco-Reformation is the theme of the April 2016 issue of Currents in Theology and Mission. Guest editor is Barbara Rossing, with help from David Rhoads.

Find more books on Lutheran theology for an eco-reformation on the ECO-THEOLOGY page

Additional Resources for an Eco-Reformation: articles, books, videos, websites, and more.

Congregational Resources

NEW Reformation 2017: Re-Fermenting the Church, 15-part (10-15 minute each) video series by Ron Rude on YouTube (if this link doesn't take you to the series, enter RON Talk 1A in the search box): 1A-C - What happened in 1517? 2A-C - What has happened since?
3A-I - A way forward?

500 Trees for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.Liturgies and other resources for planting trees as a sign of renewal and hope for creation.

Lutheran Study Guide to Pope Francis' letter on climate changeA four week study intended for church adult education, college, or seminary classrooms. The study takes up the theme of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  

Ecological Christianity Through Luther's Small Catechism.  With questions and actions; for personal use, bulletins, or confirmation classes.

Why Lutherans Care for Creation: A denominational profile. Enlarge and Post in a prominent place.

Worship Resources for an Eco-Justice Reformation

Earthbound Video Series: ELCA. Six-Week Educational Resource. $20.00 LRC discount! 

Eco-Reformation Preach-in for Reformation Sunday

Weekly Preaching Resources for an Eco-Justice Reformation

Resources for Synods

Synod Resolutions on Ecological Justice: Resolutions on climate change, reinvestment, eco-reformation, etc.

Please offer suggestions and let us know what you are planning. Contact David Rhoads at

Why We Need an Eco-Reformation

Barbara Rossing, Professor of New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology

Eco-Reformation Events and Initiatives

International Lutheranism

Provoked by the Bible and Today's Crises

Radicalizing Reformation, a global initiative, has developed 94 provocative new theses that bring biblical and Lutheran perspectives to bear on today's critical challenges. Learn more about this initiative and how you can participate.

Lutheran World Federation

Lutheran World Federation Plans for Celebrating 500 Years of the Reformation

Download a booklet, read commentary, take action.

In June 2013, the Lutheran World Federation accepted the report of a Special Committee outlining plans for celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, including the theme and subthemes for the LWF 12th Assembly in Namibia, May 2017:

Reflections on Swedish Bishops' Letter on Climate Change

On May 19, 2015, LSTC Professors Kadi Billman, Barbara Rossing, and Vítor Westhelle, reflected on A Bishops' Letter about Climate Change published by the Church of Sweden in 2014. The Rev. Dr. Antje Jackelén, archbishop of the Church of Sweden, concluded the session presented for the LSTC Board of Directors and faculty. Watch the four videos

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

For the ELCA site  for observing the 500th anniversary, go to

For the facebook page, go to

New England Synod's Bishop Hazelwood Connects with Catholics over Climate (and other) Changes  

Two religious leaders in New England came together this month in agreement that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is a time to see how churches can work together to solve some of our most pressing justice issues. Read more on the SYNODS page

Eco-Reformation & Environmental Justice: In Word & Deed

NEW Two workshops were offered at the 2016 Grace Gathering in New Orleans August 10-13th, along with a Grace in Action option to get out in the Lower Ninth Ward to learn first-hand about resurrection stories post-Katrina. [Read more]
Peter Bakken,
Oct 19, 2015, 10:15 AM
Peter Bakken,
Oct 19, 2015, 9:56 AM