October is Reformation month and we are marking it with a series of talks and special events.
It marks 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Church in October 1517.
This act ultimately led to the creation of the Protestant Churches, and it was also quite significant in terms of the eventual creation of the Church of England.
One of the things that Martin Luther was concerned about was the theology behind Communion. So we’re holding a series of talks on what different denominations believe about Communion during the autumn.
These are happening on the first Thursday of each month, at Portchester Parish Hall, from 10.30am until midday. The next one, on October 5, will see Pastor Tapani Simojoki from Fareham Lutheran Church give us the point of view from his denomination.
The 2003 film Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes and Peter Ustinov, will be shown at 7.30pm on September 28 at Portchester Methodist Church.
This will give you a good introduction to why Luther was so important.
This leads into a seven-week series of illustrated talks on the history of the Reformation. I’ll be leading those, on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm in Portchester Methodist Church. The first one is on October 5.
There’s also a series on Sunday evenings looking at five theological aspects of the Reformation, each week from October 8.
On October 29, Pastor Tapani will talk about the influence of Martin Luther on church music, which will be followed by JS Bach’s cantata Gott der Herr ist Son und Schild, composed in 1725 to celebrate the Reformation.
This will be sung by the St Mary’s church choir, augmented by singers from other Fareham choirs.
And on October 31, St Mary’s hosts the Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Servers at 7.30pm for their annual mass. The guild’s chaplain will preside and the vicar of St Mary’s will preach on The Catholic Luther after the Reformation.
I hope people will learn a lot about the various controversies of the day, and how those different understandings can help us as we explore our faith today.
St Mary’s Church is in the grounds of Portchester Castle. To contact the parish office call (023) 9232 1380 or go to stmary-portchester.org.uk.