By Doug Hoffacker
DENVER (CBS4) – Tuesday marks 500 years since a major world event … monk Martin Luther posting his grievances against the Catholic Church on the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. That sparked the reformation, which split the church.
On Sunday, Christians in Denver celebrated the occasion at a unique church that serves both denominations.
St. Paul’s Lutheran and Catholic Community of Faith held a combined worship service, with both the Lutheran pastor and Catholic priest and parishioners participating. The two congregations started worshipping in the same church at 1600 Grant Street in downtown Denver several years ago, with the Catholic mass on Saturday nights and the Lutherans service on Sunday mornings.
Sunday, at the special Reformation service, the Bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Jim Gonia gave the homily. He reminded those in attendance to “remember our call to be the reforming movement within the church universal” and added “what re-forms us is the freedom that Jesus provides.”
The service started with Martin Luther’s most famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and ended with another favorite Christian hymn that speaks of what unites Christians — “The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord.”
The church celebration of the Reformation also included a festival Sunday afternoon singing the hymns of Martin Luther, and a concert Friday with St. Martin’s Chamber Choir featuring music inspired by the Reformation movement.
Obviously, not all churches celebrate their common faith. But at this one, members are finding they have more in common that matters than that which keeps them apart.