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“Reformation” remembered and renewed with Storymobile for fifth Centenary

16 Feb 2017

A mobile exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is arriving in England on 21 February. It will exhibit in Liverpool on 21 February, Cambridge on 23 February, and London on 25 February in Trafalgar Square, accompanied by seminar discussions, choral performances, and ecumenical services in Lutheran tradition and using Bach’s cantatas.

Launched on 3 December 2016, the ‘European Roadmap’ is taking its Storymobile to all corners of Europe, to help people across the Continent discover the significance of the Reformation for today. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, first circulated on 31 October 1517, were intended to challenge specific abuses in the church. The thinking that flowed from them proceeded to challenge deeply held assumptions about religion and belief and triggered far-reaching changes in politics, society and culture.  But at the heart of the Reformation was the message that salvation is God’s gift in Jesus Christ, and the desire for that good news to transform people’s hearts and relationships, in the church and in society.

Revd Torbjørn Holt, Rector of the Norwegian Church in London and Chair of the Council of Lutheran Churches, said “In a world of growing political tension, the Churches in the UK will this year mark the 500 years since the start of the Reformation. Luther’s publication of his 95 theses triggered a chain reaction of events, theological and political, which changed the church and the world profoundly, for good and bad. We look forward to reflecting on this history together with our Christian brothers and sisters, on a path from past conflict to future communion.”

Cambridge was the cradle of the English Reformation where ideas were imported and discussed by academics at the Church of St Edward King & Martyr on Peas Hill where, at 10am on 23 February we too will meet to discuss “Reformation: then and now”, led by a talk from Dr Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) with responses from the Anglican and Lutheran traditions.  These ideas were carried by significant movements of people, including seamen from Northern Europe who settled in Liverpool – then as now a melting pot of diversity and a strong example of ecumenical collaboration overcoming sectarian conflict.  Lutherans helped to rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666, where they opened their first church, protected by the Court.  Living alongside the Church of England, Lutherans continue to work closely with their ecumenical colleagues and will be worshipping together at St Martin in the Fields after a day of choral performance in Trafalgar Square.

Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, said “The Reformation changed the world and we live with its consequences today. The European Reformation Roadmap gives us space to reflect on it. It also allows us to welcome colleagues from Germany who bring their unique perspectives and celebrations. A unique opportunity that I hope many will take.”

The Storymobile tells the story of Reformation across Europe and down the centuries.  Using a variety of communications methods today just as Luther exploited the social media of his time (print and pamphlets), it will gather in stories from the communities it visits as to how they understand and interpret reformation, physically on the day or in advance via  This kaleidoscope of stories, images and videos, relating to national reform or individual renewal, from history or the future, will be gathered and displayed in Berlin this summer.  All are invited to visit the Storymobile at Williamson Square in Liverpool from noon on 21 February, Parkers Piece in Cambridge from 10am on 23 February, and Trafalgar Square in London on 25 February.  There will be the opportunity to contribute your stories, hear more about reformation in history and the present, and join together in worship at Liverpool Cathedral at 17:30 on 21 February, at King’s College Chapel at 17.30 on 23 February, and 15:00 at St Martins in the Fields on 25 February.

About the Anniversary:  A “Briefing for Media” is available on

About the Storymobile: The European Roadmap is an initiative involving the collaboration of Churches and public authorities across Europe to mark the 500th Anniversary of the posting of Luther’s 95 Theses, a trigger for the political, social and cultural (as well as religious) events that swept across Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries and shaped our modern world.  As well as a historical display for the purposes of education, it is an interactive exhibition to gather in from the communities it visits, stories of “reformation” past or present, political or personal to be included in the World Reformation Exhibition.

The Storymobile is a 28-ton articulated lorry with expandable sides and roof, carrying static displays and state of the art audio-visual equipment.  It is visiting 68 cities in 19 countries between November 2016 and May 2017.  It started in Geneva, headquarters of the World Council of Churches and Lutheran World Federation, and ends in Berlin/Wittenberg for the Kirchentag and World Reformation Exhibition.

The Storymobile will be parked on Williamson Square, L1 1EQ, in central Liverpool and open from 10.00 to 17:00 on Tuesday 21 February 2017.  The Storymobile will be opened by The Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead, with representatives from the Council of Lutheran Churches and the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland.  The day will conclude with a service of Lutheran Vespers in the Lady Chapel of Liverpool (Anglican) Cathedral, L1 7AZ at 17.30.

The Storymobile will be parked on Parkers Piece, CB1 1NA, in central Cambridge and open from 10:00 to 17:00 on Thursday 23 February 2017.  The Storymobile will be opened by The Mayor, with representatives from the Council of Lutheran Churches and the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland and a short concert by the German Choir.  A talk on Reformation in Cambridge will be held at the Storymobile at 15:00, and the Parker Library will be open at Corpus Christi College on Trumpington Street all day. The day will conclude with a service of Vespers featuring a Bach Cantata played by the City Bach Collective in King’s College Chapel at 17.30.

The Storymobile will be parked in Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN, in central London and open from 9:00am to 15:00 on Saturday 25 February 2017.  The Storymobile will be opened by The Lord Mayor of Westminster, with representatives from the Council of Lutheran Churches and the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland.  After a day of choral concerts at regular intervals by a variety of Lutheran choirs from the Swahili, Nordic, German and British churches, the day will conclude with a service of Evensong in St Martins-in-the-Fields at 15:00 with a joint choir and the Bishop of Berlin.

See for more information and a blog as the Storymobile visits different Stations.

About the Organisers:  The Lutheran Council of Great Britain, trading as the Council of Lutheran Churches (CLC), is an umbrella organisation bringing together the vast majority of Lutheran for the purposes of mutual support, as a point of liaison with other Churches and external bodies, and as a single voice in the public square on matters of importance for Lutherans.  Founded in 1948, CLC has 10 Members and, as well as providing grants, advice, training and in-kind support to the Member churches, has joined ecumenical platforms on matters such as refugees, climate change and peacemaking.  CLC’s income is largely drawn from the International Lutheran Student Centre ( which provides a home and hospitality for postgraduate international students who would otherwise find it hard to afford accommodation in London, and will return to positively impact their communities.

The Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, who is co-organising the Cambridge day, is a committee of the Archbishops’ Council. It sustains, promotes and enhances effective ecumenical working at all levels of the Church of England. It advises the Archbishops’ Council, the Archbishops, the General Synod and the House of Bishops on issues and proposals relating to Christian unity, and acts on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod in communication with other Christian churches. Its current Chair is the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister.


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