Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Reformation 2017

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our service and celebration in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation! The WELS churches of the Tucson area were pleased to have about 700 people join us for worship on Sunday morning, November 5. And thank you to all of the volunteers who worked hard to make this celebration possible!

A YouTube video of the Service and Preservice Concert is available here.

Click here for a copy of the worship folder for the service and concert.

We will make pictures from the celebration available here soon. Please check back!


95 Theses

Martin Luther sparked the Reformation when, on October 31, 1517, he nailed his 95 Theses concerning indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. His goal in posting the theses was to have a debate and to correct abuses regarding the teaching and sale of indulgences. He did not know that this would be the beginning of such a powerful movement. Because this event marks the beginning of the Reformation movement, Lutherans annually celebrate it in late October or early November. This year’s celebration recognizes a special milestone. We celebrate that, for 500 years now, God has used this event to restore and preserve a faithful teaching of the true gospel.


A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Our service theme echoes one of Luther’s most famous hymns. That hymn is a paraphrase of Psalm 46, set to music so that the people might sing God’s Word to each other and know it better themselves.


Worship Service

Our celebration of Reformation 500 in the Tucson Area centers around a worship service on November 5 involving all of the WELS churches in the area. While anyone is welcome to join us for the service, the churches that have combined to plan and prepare the service (and will not be having their own worship services that day) are Grace, Holy Cross, Redeemer, and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Churches. The service will be held in the auditorium at Tucson Magnet High School, which should have the space to accommodate all who join us. This will be an opportunity for many of us to join in a larger congregation for worship than we do on any other occasion. We strongly encourage all WELS members in the Tucson area to join us.


Guest Preacher

The guest preacher for our Reformation service is Professor Mark Paustian from Martin Luther College. Pastor Paustian teaches communication and Hebrew at our WELS College of Ministry. He recently completed a Ph.D. in communication and is the author of “Prepared to Answer” and “More Prepared to Answer,” books focused on sharing the Christian faith and answering common objections to it. Professor Paustian also preached for the WELS Worship Conference this past summer.


Reformation Concert

Prior to the start of the worship service will be an opportunity to hear offerings from a variety of WELS musicians. This concert will take the place of preservice music. Music will begin by 9:30 AM, but may begin earlier depending on the number of pieces. Those who are preparing the concert ask that all in attendance give their quiet attention to the music and to their own personal preparation for worship. You are free to come into the auditorium or to leave as needed during this time, and to make the necessary efforts to find seating, but please do not carry on conversations during this time. Thankfully, there will be opportunities after the service for all to converse together and to enjoy our wider fellowship.



An offering will be received during the service. To be sure that your offering reaches your own congregation, please make sure that it is in an envelope that clearly displays the name of the congregation. Loose offerings will be divided among the congregations involved. An additional opportunity to support the work of our Saguaro Circuit (the Tucson area WELS churches, plus other churches in southeast Arizona) will be offered at the lunch that is served following the service. Offering checks may be made payable to the individual congregation.


Holy Communion

Our service offers the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion together. All confirmed and active WELS members who properly examine and prepare themselves are invited to receive the sacrament. Because of the Scripture’s teaching concerning the sacrament, our churches practice close communion, also called member communion or closed communion. While guests are welcome to join us for the service itself, we ask that you would refrain from participating in the sacrament until we have had an opportunity to explain these teachings to you. Any of our WELS churches would welcome your questions concerning the sacrament. As Holy Communion is served, there will be more musical offerings and a congregational hymn.



Stick around after the worship service for lunch. Lunch will be served on the high school campus, in and around the cafeteria, which is one building over from the auditorium. A freewill offering will be collected at lunch to help offset the cost of the meal and to support the WELS Saguaro Circuit, which is sponsoring the meal. Checks for the Saguaro Circuit may be made payable to Grace Lutheran Church.



The Tucson High School Auditorium is in the main school building located just off 6th Street and west of Euclid Avenue. This building is on the north end of the campus. There is a small parking lot located nearby which will be reserved for handicapped parking for those who require it. The main parking lots are at the southeast corner of the campus. They are just west of Euclid Avenue on 8th Street. There will be a bit of a walk from these parking lots to the auditorium. You may wish to allow for extra time for parking and walking over. *Update* We have arranged for six-passenger golf carts to transport people from the parking lots to the auditorium. Please don't let this walk get in your way of joining us for this special service! Carts will operate before and after the service and lunch. 



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