Thursday, November 14, 2013

SEA’s first-ever Reformation Conference

We had a great time October 31 and November 1 with SEA’s first-ever Reformation Conference.  Although everyone here knows that the Protestant church left the Roman Catholic Church centuries ago, almost no one has known why, when or how. It isn’t taught as part of history and most pastors haven’t been taught anything about it. They are used to hearing how Protestants just left to allow pastors to marry or for Henry the 8th to get a divorce or even so that Northern Europeans could get control and money. So, the Reformation has been ignored when it hasn’t been misrepresented.

On Thursday, the 31st   at about 7:15, while kids trick or treated on the dark streets (yes, we had a 90 minute power outage right at sunset on Halloween!) we walked in faith to the Talavera church sanctuary. I say in faith because we had no idea if the power would come back on (and the presentation was all in PowerPoint) or if anybody would risk the dark streets to come to the conference. So we were pleasantly surprised as we neared the church to see and hear a large crowd. I was wondering how this was going to work - PowerPoint, no power - when the lights came on! It turns out that several folk had gotten to the church early and had been praying 
We got started just a few minutes late and I managed to end nearly on time. My presentation was simply the doctrinal issues and a brief history of Wickliffe, Hus and Luther and their parts in the Reformation. Everyone had been taking notes and was asking for a copy of the PowerPoint. Church anniversaries are a big deal here and they saw that for us as Evangelicals this is the biggest anniversary.

The next night, Tammy presented a history of music and worship before, during and after the Reformation. It was all new to the people. She focused on the Geneva liturgy and showed how the people had become involved in the worship - from singing hymns and Psalms to praying and to reciting creeds. Tammy emphasized how the Reformation brought the Church to the people in worship and what a big deal that was for them and should be to us.

Next year, we will be promoting the conference a bit more and we plan on reaching out to the community more and more. Next year we will talk about History after Luther and in Latin America. We hope to expand the conference to a Regional event by 2017 when we can all celebrate the 500th anniversary of a free church in the West.