Reformation Commemoration

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant reformations.

Luther’s 95 theses from October 31, 1517 is considered the starting of the multiple international reforms that led to the birth of different Christian denominations still providing a religious home and heritage for people around the globe.  The reformation spirit of the 16th century has continued to reverberate within the church catholic and diverse Christian communities.

The anniversary year calls for a renewed attention to the word “reformation”: 2) re-evaluation of the reformations of the past and their legacy and lived-reality today, 2) the meaning of the “reformation” today globally in different traditions and in inter-faith reality, and 3) trajectories for a continued academic study of faith traditions that promise a “reformation”.

PLTS offers and sponsors, solo and in collaboration, the following opportunities:

Events in 2017

September 2016 – September 2017

Monthly Reading Group continues

October 2016 – October 2017

Monthly Justice Projects continue

February – July, 2017

Reformation Anniversary Art Exhibit
GTU Library, Berkeley, CA.
Opening event: 2/15/2017.

March 8: Luther Lecture

The lecture followed by an international research conference “Luther and the Subaltern” on PLTS campus, March 9-11, 2017. By invitation only, with PLTS faculty and student participants. 
Keynote: Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen, Århus University, Denmark
PLTS campus, Chapel

April 6-9

American Catholic Historical Association and American Historical Association Spring meeting: Reformation
Shattuck Hotel, Berkeley, CA.
More Info

May 4: Justice Project in Fresno

Welcome will be hosting justice events around the city. Plan to arrive at Synod Assembly a day early to take part.

May 5 - 7: Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly in Fresno

Still being planned, the 2017 Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly will be a centerpiece of the synod’s celebration of the Reformation 500 Anniversary. Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, across from the Fresno Convention Center, 2233 Ventura St, Fresno.

May 17 – 24: Luther Pilgrimage to Germany

Pastor Dan Smith is leading a group of pilgrims to walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther. The trip will include a tour of the historic sites where Martin Luther lived, preached, taught and protested. If you are interested in this unique opportunity, please sign up at the following website: You do not need to pay a deposit at this point. We will share more information as it is available. Pastor Dan is available to answer further questions about the pilgrimage at

May 24 – 28: Kirchentag in Berlin and Wittenberg

The Kirchentag is a gathering every two years of over 100,000 German people and international visitors for intensive discussion and critical debate about the contemporary church, concerts, meditation, artistic expression, worship, and more. Most participants are under 30 years old. Attendees can stay in local homes for about $25 a night. Interested? Pastor Derek Harman is on the International Committee for the Kirchentag and can answer most of your questions. Call 413-386-9148 or email Visit and click the link for the English site.

Late Spring – The Luther Wedding

Date, location and cost still to be determined. A delightful re-enactment of Martin and Katie’s wedding with you as a guest, followed by a food and wine-centric reception. Period music. Costumes optional but encouraged.

September 20: Founders' Day Lecture

“Spirituality and Reformation”
PLTS Event, Live-streamed

Keynote: Sandra Schneider, Jesuit School of Theology

Panel: “Faithful Conversations, “Dr. Kirsi Stjerna (Lutheran) moderating; Dr. Valeria Miles-Tribble (Baptist), Dr. Deena Aranoff (Jewish), Dr. Ali Ataie (Muslim), Dr. Peter Carlson (Anglican).

  • 8:30am Gathering
  • 9:00 am Welcome and awards
  • 9:30-10:15am Worship (worship of the Word)
  • 10:30-12:00pm Key lecture and panel
October 29 – Festival Reformation 500 Anniversary Service

Sunday, 3 PM, Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St, San Francisco. Save the date for this event, the capstone of our synod’s year-long Reformation celebration.

Table Talks with Luther – PLTS and Sierra Pacific Synod Co-Hosting

A monthly study group reading together Luther’s texts with critical and contemporary questions, open to all, live-streamed. Texts made available for participants.

Location and Time: Every third Wednesday, 9:30-11am, PLTS campus. Live-streamed.

Task force and facilitators: Rev. Kerstin Weidmann, Rev. Dr. Diane Bowers, Rev. Meghan Rohrer, Rev. Dr. Daniel Smith and Rev. Dr. Kirsi Stjerna

Contact person: Rev. Dr. Daniel Smith. Daniel Smith and

Refo500 Platform - 2017

Global Events

As part of PLTS’s Refo500 association, PLTS/GTU and Fscire in Bologna are in “Scholars’ Exchange” mutual hospitality agreement. For more information:

Reformation related courses at PLTS in 2017

PLTS Campus

  • Freedom theology with Martin Luther, Spring 2017.
  • Luther and the Jews, Kirsi Stjerna, Fall 2017
  • Luther and the Reformations, Christopher Ocker and Kirsi Stjerna, Fall 2017
  • Lutheran Theology: Sources and Hermeneutics, Spring 2017, Kirsi Stjerna

Past Events


2016 Events

(Click here for the most up-to-date information)

May 14, 15: San Francisco Bach Choir

“J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor with the Jubilate Orchestra,” May 14, 7 PM at Calvary Presbyterian Church, SF, and May 15, 3 PM at First Congregational Church, Berkeley.

May 11 – June 30: Art Exhibit

“Aus Wort wird Bild – The Word Becomes Image.” German artist Wenzel Ziersch reimagines words from scriptures, painting them on large glass panels. For this exhibit commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Ziersch creates images using quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's poem "By Gracious Powers." Goethe Institute, 530 Bush Street, San Francisco.

May 20–21: Bibliodrama Workshop

“From Reformation to Transformation,” with Dr. Peter Erlenwein, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, SF. Fri, May 20, 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM, Sat, May 21, 10 AM - 5 PM. Respond by May 18 to or 415-863-6371.

September 17: Online Synod Gathering

“Reformation Past, Present and Future: Celebrating the 500th Anniversary in Your Congregation,” with the members of the synod’s Reformation500 Task Force. The morning begins with an overview of the anniversary’s significance and themes, followed teaching and event-planning models for pastors and lay leaders to use. After the morning session there is lunch followed by gatherings of the newly formed conferences. Time and locations TBA.

September 21: Founder’s Day

“Space Studies and New Theology: God Out of the Box,” with astronomer Pamela Gay and theologian Ted Peters. Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Wed, Sep. 21, 2016 at 9 AM. Visit for more information and to register.

September 21: First Meeting of Reading Group

“500 Years of Protest” with Prof. Kirsi Stjerna. This gathering follows lunch on Founder’s Day at PLTS. Details to come.

September 2016 – September 2017: Monthly Reading Group
October 2016 – October 2017: Monthly Justice Projects

The San Francisco Welcome Ministry (Welcome) will host a justice project in different locations each month throughout the synod and post do-it-yourself guides for congregations and youth groups. To learn more, visit our website,, and click on “Do Justice.”

October 29: San Francisco Volunteer Day and Concert

“Volunteer Day” at congregations and non-profits throughout San Francisco, 10 AM – 3 PM; “Jonathan Rundman Concert,” 4 PM, Grace Lutheran Church, 3201 Ulloa St @ 33rd Ave.