Reformation 500

Reformation - Dialogue for Unity

Click here for joint statements from New Zealand Catholics and Lutherans coming out of the Aotearoa-New Zealand Dialogue.

Dialogue for Unity - As Reformation Remembered


For details of commemoration events near you visit the
Reformation 500 Events page.

Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation

2017 is the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. That action started a chain of events which shaped the course of the church and the course of Western civilization, in a way that is still significant today.

The Reformation is a formative event for those of us who are members of the Lutheran Church here in New Zealand and for the 80 million people who identify as Lutherans across the world.

The Reformation is a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of all Christian faith. The Reformation therefore provides a witness for all Christians in all churches.

The Reformation also stimulated changes to the thinking of people across Europe in the 16th Century, which shaped massive social and political developments across the Western world and beyond. The commemoration is a time to reclaim the spiritual grounding behind many of our social institutions.

This commemoration is being planned as an ecumenical event across the world. In particular Lutherans and Catholics are seeking to use this commemoration as a time of growing together and healing the divisions and conflicts that followed the Reformation, with the Gospel of Christ as the bond that draws us closer together.

In 2016 the Lutheran Church in New Zealand and Australia reaches 50 years in its present form. Formerly independent church bodies came together to form the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) in 1966.

In 2017 the Lutheran Church as a worldwide movement reaches 500 years,
commemorating the action of Martin Luther that triggered the Reformation.

The Lutheran Church celebrates both of these events with a recommitment to its historic faith, embracing the freedom that is given in the Gospel, and
looking to the Lord to lead into the future.

The Lutheran Church of New Zealand will be commemorating this anniversary in the following ways:

National Commemoration
Local Commemorations
Commemorating our link to Wittenberg
Commemorating Lutheran mission history in New Zealand


For details of commemoration events near you go to the Reformation 500 Events page.

National Commemoration

Our national commemoration of the Reformation was be held on Sunday 4 June 2017 in Wellington.

  • A Thanksgiving Service (morning)

  • An Ecumenical Service in the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (afternoon)

  • Our Reformation Commemoration Dinner (evening)

Our Reformation Commemoration Day took place during the bi-annual Convention of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand, 2 - 5 June 2017 in Wellington (Queen’s Birthday Weekend).

Local Commemorations

Lutheran Congregations across New Zealand are organising local commemorative events. Many of these events will be ecumenical. The following document contains information, ideas and resources to help you plan a local commemoration:

Planning a Reformation Commemoration in your Congregation.


For details of commemoration events near you visit the Reformation 500 Events page.

Commemorating our link to Wittenberg

Martin Luther nailed his Ninety Five Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. On 29 April 2016 Bishop Mark Whitfield planted a tree in the Luther Garden, which is a Reformation 500 project in Wittenberg, Germany.

Luther garden website



Commemorating Lutheran mission history in New Zealand

The first Lutheran missionaries to New Zealand settled on the Chatham Islands in 1843. A commemorative tour will visit the Chatham Islands 31 December 2016 – 3 January 2017. The tour is open to any interested persons.

The Stone Cottage - Maunganui

The Stone Cottage - Maunganui


50/500 faith.freedom.future Lutheran Church of Australia 

Martin Luther at 500 - International Conference
Melbourne June-July 2016 



ELCA500 website - Evangelical Lutheran Church of America


Lutheran World Federation - International commemorations