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"The Church Reformed and Always Reforming"

October 19, 2011

From the Executive Director...

On October 30, Reformed Christians worldwide will celebrate Reformation Sunday, commemorating the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517.

Reformation Sunday is an important time for Presbyterians and all Reformed Christians to reclaim the great motto of the Reformation, “Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda”:  the church reformed and always reforming. While Reformation Sunday may prompt us to look back to the great truths and insights articulated by the Reformers almost 500 years ago, it is even more important to look forward, especially at this time in the history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

Both Reformation Sunday and Heritage Sunday (celebrated in May on the Sunday closest to May 21) remind us of the importance of our common heritage as Reformed Christians. Shaped by our theology, that common heritage unites us, despite what differences may divide us as a people of faith. As with other periods of transition in our church, our history has helped to both inform and inspire us. But it also continues to challenge us to listen and discover what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do in a new time.

Presbyterians have never been immune to controversy. George III’s caustic comment that Presbyterians are a “factious people” is not altogether undeserved. The spring 2000 issue of the Journal of Presbyterian History reminds us of the many times throughout our history when Presbyterians have experienced conflict with each other. I encourage you to examine that long view perspective, for the controversies that have embroiled Presbyterians in the past reflect part of the historical legacy of the Reformation.

I also encourage your congregation to celebrate Reformation Sunday by using the PHS resources at our website. This year’s focus is on John Knox, the great Scottish reformer. I hope that you will also take time to check out our online exhibit, “Foundations of Faith," to discover more about why we commemorate Reformation Sunday.

Fred Heuser, PhD