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Lutherfest in Rindge celebrates Reformation's 500th anniversary

Sunday News Correspondent

September 24. 2017 12:47AM

Jack Sementa, 9, of Rindge makes a shield during Lutherfest at the Advent Lutheran Church in Rindge Saturday. (Meghan Pierce/Sunday News Correspondent)

RINDGE - Members of the Advent Lutheran Church on Route 202 in Rindge partied like it was 1517 Saturday.

During the day the church held Lutherfest: A Medieval Renaissance faire for Children, and in the afternoon and evening the church the festivities turned to an Oktoberfest dinner with a beer garden.

Both events were held to mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation and celebrate Martin Luther, the monk credited with starting the Reformation.

The Reformation began on Oct. 31 in 1517, when Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, said Christine Sheldon, church council vice president at the Advent Lutheran Church.

What Luther posted countered Catholic Church practices and teachings at that time and put him at odds with church leaders in Rome, who eventually ex-communicated him.

Luther continued to write about his beliefs and because of the advent of the printing press what he wrote spread.

"It's because he used the social media of his time, the printing press, to communicate with the masses that his questions about the church caught on even though other guys were involved, that maybe it's not all good," Sheldon said.

He also undertook a literacy campaign in Germany because most people at that time couldn't read.

"One and half months from now will be the actual 500th anniversary of that event," Sheldon said. "We thought it was a pretty big deal. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is our overarching body, which comes directly down from the original Lutherans in Germany."

Luther's lived right at the tail end of Medieval times, which was also the dawn of the Renaissance period, Sheldon said, so that is why the church included both in the children's faire.

The children made shields, jewelry and hats of that time period and drank root beer they had brewed themselves. One of the children's activities was to let them write a statement and nail it to a door, she said, as a way of teaching them the story of when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door.

"We wanted to do something for the kids mainly just to have fun," she said. "And fun for the adults that's why we included the beer. And Martin liked to have fun. . He was very funny, very prolific, very quotable. . Loved to have a good time. In college he was known as the king of hops. He'd drink a liter of beer studying in college every night."

There was also a costume contest for children, adults and dogs. Sheldon said Luther loved dogs.

Sheldon said the New England chapter of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is based in Worcester, Mass. She said the church is planning several events as the anniversary approaches and several will include Catholics. Sheldon said Lutherans and Catholics have agreed each had been a little bit right and a little bit wrong 500 years ago.

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