Throughout the course of the year, Wartburg has been celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Those celebrations will continue over the summer and into the next school year.
The Reformation was a movement in the 16th century that called for reform from the Roman Catholic Church. It was initiated by Martin Luther and eventually led to the creation of the Reformed and Protestant churches.
“The ongoing Reformation is also really important to us because we’re not studying what happened back then,” Pastor Ramona Bouzard said. “But we’re saying, who are we now as a college that’s committed to educating the whole person, educating all people to support learning for everyone.”
Bouzard is a member of the committee planning all of the celebration events throughout the year. She said they focused on things that are normally part of campus life to help students learn through those events.
One of their biggest events this school year will take place October 31, the official 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
On that day, all classes will end at 11:15. From 11:30-12:30 a celebration will be held in the chapel, where the choir will sing and Dr. Kit Kleinhans will give a short presentation. Then students can pick up lunches from around campus and join small groups of faculty, staff and students to discuss various topics.
“We’ll be talking about who we are as a college and what our ongoing mission is as we look at being a place that reforms and brings together the world,” Bouzard said.
Christmas with Wartburg will incorporate a Reformation theme into their program this winter. Bouzard also said the Homecoming theme goes along with the Reformation as well.
Incoming freshmen for the 2017 school year will be introduced to the Reformation through there IS 101 classes.
Every section of the class will be reading Martin Luther: A Very Short Introduction by Scott H. Hendrix. Jette Irgens, Pathways assistant director for First Year Experience, academic advising and student success, said the book will be easy to include during class conversations about leadership, service, faith and learning.
She said the book looks at all aspects of Luther and the Lutheran faith.
“He was a flawed human and the book doesn’t shy away from describing him as a whole person and asks tough questions about the Lutheran heritage,” Irgens said.
Chris Knudson, director of marketing and communication, is also contributing to the celebration by creating a heritage wall that will be displayed in Luther Hall. The mural will highlight Wartburg’s heritage and history. There will be interactive elements and a video screen incorporated as well. It should be completed by Homecoming.
“The heritage wall’s purpose is to educate visitors and the campus about where we come from and how our history and heritage informs who we are today,” Knudson said.
Bouzard hopes students will take advantage of all the learning opportunities being provided during the semester. After all, Luther wanted to educate everyone, said Bouzard.
“Learning is not an end in itself, it’s a vehicle by which we can live out our callings and by which we can serve the world,” Bouzard said.