Presbyterian Church Celebrate the Reformation’s 500th Anniversary

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland held a final special worship service to celebrate the Reformation’s 500th anniversary. The service took place in the Church’s Assembly Buildings on 19th October 2017 in front of nearly 500 people.

Entitled ‘Faith at the Crossroads: Rediscovering the Reformation’ the event was the last of three public services that celebrated the Reformation’s impact and ongoing legacy. It was a mix of worship, discussion and teaching. There was also an opportunity to reflect on some of the key themes of the Reformation in a ‘table talk’ hosted by Dún Laoghaire Presbyterian minister Rev Chris Kennedy. The panel included former Moderator, Very Rev Dr Frank Sellar, minister of Bloomfield Presbyterian Church in east Belfast. Also on the panel were BBC Northern Ireland’s former religious affairs correspondent, Noreen Erskine and Rev Dr Martyn Cowan, lecturer in historical theology at PCI’s Union Theological College.

Presbyterian Church Celebrate the Reformation's 500th Anniversary
Preaching at all three events was special guest speaker Dr Conrad Mbewe, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia.

Musicians from New Irish Arts led the worship at all three events, which began in Dublin and continued in the Waterside Theatre in Londonderry. Worship also included the Belfast premier of Stand Still. Commissioned by PCI to mark the Reformation’s quincentenary, the new hymn is inspired by the life and writings of Martin Luther and is by Jonathan Rea, the artistic director and chief executive of New Irish Arts and Rev Chris Kennedy.

Speaking after the event, Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Noble McNeely, who pronounced the benediction, said that Presbyterians have a rich heritage that came directly out of the Reformation, which was in its self a significant reason to mark what happened in 1517.

Presbyterian Church Celebrate the Reformation's 500th Anniversary
Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Noble McNeely speaking at the end of the evening.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland celebrate the Reformation’s 500th anniversary with three special services.

“This evening and the two previous evenings in Dublin and Londonderry were very special times of fellowship and celebration as we gave thanks, not just for what happened 500 years ago this month, but what lies at the heart of the Reformation,” he said.

“Luther’s momentous rediscovery was that a person’s salvation, that is being made right with God as if we had never sinned, was secured by believing in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The revelation that salvation wasn’t achieved by doing good works, or by any other means, but trusting in Jesus’ death and God’s grace alone has enabled men, women and children to know their sins have actually been forgiven – a wonderful reason to celebrate.”

The guest speaker at all three events was Dr Conrad Mbewe, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia. Dr. Mbewe brought a global perspective of the Reformation when he spoke on Romans 3:21-36, the passage of Scripture that Luther himself described as ‘the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.’

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