Leaders of two Brazilian Lutheran churches say that local events in 2017 commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will include creation of a space called 'Luther Square' in Porto Alegre - writes Marcelo Schneider.
This city is the location of the national headquarters of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (IELB)The IECLB is a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the IELB is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (USA).
At a launch event on 18 October 2011, the churches also presented a commemorative stamp and shared their plans for common publications leading up to the anniversary.
In 1517, German monk Martin Luther published his '95 Theses' in Wittenberg, Germany: criticisms of Catholic Church practices that inspired the growth of Protestantism, including establishment of the Lutheran Church.
The IELB president, the Rev Egon Kopereck, noted that the commemoration is a "unique opportunity to emphasise the centrality of the word of God" as the greatest legacy of Luther's movement.
The president of IECLB, the Rev Nestor Friedrich, stressed that anniversary should be relevant to the life of churches today. "[It] allows an analysis of theological heritage and of our own history. We have the possibility to reaffirm, to rediscover and to contextualise Lutheran theology and its contribution, especially in Brazil," said Friedrich.
The event was attended by the mayor of Porto Alegre, José Fortunati, Roman Catholic Archbishop Dom Dadeus Grings and the moderator of the Central Committee of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, the Rev Walter Altmann, among others.
* Marcelo Schneider is communications liaison officer for Latin America with the World Council of Churches
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]