By: Caroline Saxton
Just what is “Reformation Day”? Why does a United Methodist school like Candler celebrate it? It is a church event most closely identified with the Lutheran tradition. It identifies the importance of Martin Luther and the reforms of the church. After all, we’re approaching 500 years since the 95 Theses were penned and a decades-long process of reform began. One of the reasons we celebrate this event at Candler is because of the significance of the Reformation on the Christian church, both Catholic and Protestant. There was no going back after the Reformation; we have all continued to move forward.
Candler celebrates Reformation Day with an entire day’s worth of events, held this year on Tuesday, October 21. From lectures and workshops, to worship in Cannon Chapel and the exhibit in the new gallery space on the third floor of Pitts Library, the day is filled with reflection and learning.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Reform in the University and the Church,” which ties in well with Candler’s centennial celebration. Martin Luther began with reforms in the University of Wittenberg, as well as the church. The academy has been influenced along with the church, and this year’s events honor those contributions.
One of the things that distinguishes Candler’s celebration is the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection. The new Pitts Theology Library features an exhibit gallery to display materials from the Kessler and other special collections, showcasing primary sources from the period. The exhibit this year has 20 different displays, each with multiple volumes. In addition to music from the period being played in the gallery, there are short videos and multi-media content to describe and interpret the materials.
The exhibit gallery is open during regular Pitts Library hours. The materials highlighting Reformation Day will be displayed through November 26. Whether or not you can participate in the events on October 21, stop by the library and see some of the rare books and materials from the Kessler collection. The space is beautiful, and the gallery is a great way of learning and experiencing something new.