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Reformation remembered and renewed with Storymobile for fifth Centenary

Posted on Friday 17 February 2017
A mobile exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is arriving in Cambridge on Thursday 23 February. Open from 10am on Parkers Piece, the exhibition will be officially opened by civic and church leaders at 2pm. It will be accompanied by a morning seminar at St Edwards King & Martyr and followed by a special service at Kings College Chapel.

Launched on 3 December 2016, the ‘European Roadmap’ is taking its Storymobile to all corners of Europe, to help people across the Continent discover the significance of the Reformation for today. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, first circulated on 31 October 1517, were intended to challenge specific abuses in the church. The thinking that flowed from them proceeded to challenge deeply held assumptions about religion and belief and triggered far-reaching changes in politics, society and culture.  But at the heart of the Reformation was the message that salvation is God’s gift in Jesus Christ, and the desire for that good news to transform people’s hearts and relationships, in the church and in society.

Cambridge was the cradle of the English Reformation where ideas were imported and discussed by academics such as Matthew Parker (later Archbishop of Canterbury), Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley (later martyred).  Robert Barnes is deemed to have given the first Reformation sermon on Christmas Eve 1526 at the Church of St Edward King & Martyr on Peas Hill.  At 10am on 23 February we too will meet there to discuss “Reformation: then and now”, led by a talk from Dr Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) with responses from two younger theologians from the Anglican and Lutheran traditions, the Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey, Dean of Clare College, and the Revd Dr Åste Dokka, guest scholar at the University of Oslo and working for The Bishops’ Conference in The Church of Norway.

Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, said “The Reformation changed the world and we live with its consequences today. The European Reformation Roadmap gives us space – especially with Dr Rowan Williams in Cambridge – to reflect on it. It also allows us to welcome colleagues from Germany who bring their unique perspectives and celebrations. A unique opportunity that I hope many will take.”

Rev Dr Åste Dokka said As we mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the question of how we relate to the past is revived. Christianity is a historical religion, always bound to look back to our constitutive history. But we are also comitted to the present time and place. How do we discern between what is good in our tradition, and what should be left behind? The European Roadmap allows us to come together to discover afresh the meaning of reformation for each of us.

The Storymobile tells the story of Reformation across Europe and down the centuries.  Using a variety of communications methods today just as Luther exploited the social media of his time (print and pamphlets), it will gather in stories from the communities it visits as to how they understand and interpret reformation, physically on the day or in advance via  This kaleidoscope of stories, images and videos, relating to national reform or individual renewal, from history or the future, will be gathered and displayed in Berlin this summer. 

All are invited to visit the Storymobile at Parkers Piece from 10am on 23 February, contribute their stories, drop in to the Parker Library any time during the day, and join a Bach Vespers at King’s College Chapel at 17.30.