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Events Marking the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

October 31 and November 1

Public Events

Tuesday, October 31
Inaugural Lecture: “Taking a Stand for Reformation”
Lecturer: Dr. Kenneth G. Appold, James Hastings Nichols Professor of Reformation History, Princeton Seminary
7 p.m.
Miller Chapel 

Martin Luther and Caritas Pirckheimer each took courageous and conscientious stands against established powers, affecting the course of the Reformation. Yet they were very different: one male, the other female; one Protestant, the other Catholic; one a former monk, the other a committed nun. What can their contrasting examples teach us today about the legacy of the Reformation and the meaning of Christian reform?

The lecture will be preceded by a brief concert of choral music. Rebecca Mariman, a soprano soloist specializing in early music, will sing two hymns by the 12th century Christian mystic Hildegard of Bingen. The Seminary Sings will sing a motet, Tu pauperum refugium, by Josquin des Prez (1450–1521), as well as several verses of Martin Luther’s chorale Vater unser im Himmelreich by 16th and 17th century composers. This will be accompanied by continuo with Noel Werner, director of music at Nassau Presbyterian Church, at the organ. Following the lecture, the entire assembly will join in singing the Lutheran chorale in English, Our Father, God in Heaven Above. A wine and cheese reception will follow in the Gambrell Room, Scheide Hall. 

Wednesday, November 1 
Reformation Hymn Festival
7:30 p.m.
Miller Chapel

The hymn festival will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Eric Wall, professor of Sacred Music at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas, will lead the choirs of Princeton Theological Seminary and Nassau Presbyterian Church. While there will be some Reformation favorites, including Martin Luther’s "A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and a Genevan jig from John Calvin’s Psalter, the focus of the festival will be on the Reformation as it finds expression today. There will be contemporary hymn texts as well as global songs. Musical forms such as counterpoint and mixed meter will be explored as metaphors for the ecumenical dialogue between Catholic and Reformed Christians. A reception will follow in the Main Lounge, Mackay Campus Center.  

The hymn festival is made possible by the David A. Weadon Memorial Fund. 

Special Exhibit
“The Numismatic Luther”—features a collection of medals and coins commemorating Luther throughout many centuries
Special Collections (North Wing, Room 2173), Princeton Theological Seminary Library
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Currently on display through December

Learn more about the exhibit

Registration Required

Workshop: “African Christians and the Reformations” 
*Note: Registration is now closed
To inquire about attending a session please contact Ivette Martell at [email protected] or call 609.497.6942

Tuesday, October 31 and Wednesday, November 1
Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room, Princeton Theological Seminary Library
Free registration for PTS students/faculty (program only)
A standard fee of $50 registration for non-PTS students/faculty/public (includes program, refreshments, and dinner each night). 
Registration mandatory for all attendees

While they are topics in the 16th century European studies related to the Renaissance, they tend not to be included in Reformation studies. The workshop seeks to widen the conversation associated with the Reformations, linked to many strands within the Christian movement(s), by creating space for various African peoples/churches/movements to speak for themselves and offer new forms of scholarship that center the African experience as not marginal to Reformation studies, but vitally important for a fuller perspective on the long Reformations.


  • Dr. Afeosemime “Afe” Adogame, Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Christianity and Society, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Dennis Britton, associate professor of English, Cambridge Program director, University of New Hampshire – “Reforming Ethiopia: From Kebra Nagast to Protestant England”
  • Dr. David D. Daniels III, Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity, McCormick Theological Seminary – “Ethiopian Christianity in the World of Martin Luther and 16th Century Protestantism”
  • Dr. Jeroen DeWulf, associate professor in the Department of German, University of California, Berkeley – “From Inkster to Pentecostal”
  • Dr. Katharine Gerbner, assistant professor of history, University of Minnesota – “Caribbean Reformations: Black, Christians, Protestant Missionaries and the Limits of Freedom in the Atlantic World”
  • Dr. Frieder Ludwig, Fachhochschule für Interkulturelle Theologie Hermannsburg – “Perceptions of Martin Luther in Africa: Aspects of a Complex Heritage”
  • Dr. Elsie Anne McKee, Archibald Alexander Professor of Reformation Studies and the History of Worship, Princeton Theological Seminary

The workshop is organized by the World Christianity & History of Religions Program, Department of History and Ecumenics, at Princeton Seminary. 

Workshop Schedule

Princeton Theological Seminary Library

The Library has made available a selection of books and other resources related to the Reformation. The books are on open display on the  main concourse of the library. Those with borrower’s cards are welcome to check them out.   

About the Protestant Reformation

The Protestant Reformation (16th century) was a religious movement of reform and renewal that began in Europe and spread throughout the world. Initiated by Martin Luther, and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant leaders, the Reformation reshaped what it meant to be “church” and even what it meant to be Christian. It is traditionally thought to have started with the publication of Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517.

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