2nd June, 2016

THE MAN WHO STARTED IT ALL: Statue of Martin Luther in Magdeburg, Germany. PICTURE: Krzysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski/www.freeimages.com

A "storymobile" will visit 67 cities in 18 countries across Europe in a six month tour celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Under an initiative called the European Reformation Roadmap, a truck, dubbed the storymobile, will stop for 36 hours in each of the cities where events including theatrical productions will be held to celebrate its involvement in the Reformation movement of the past 500 years.

The tour will begin in Geneva - the home of reformer John Calvin - on 3rd November and end in Wittenberg - location of the church upon which Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses - on 20th May next year.

At Wittenberg there will be an exhibition on the Reformation, titled Gates of Freedom, to which each of the cities visited on the tour will have contributed along with a series of events over the summer of 2017 illustrating not only the origins of the Reformation but its meaning today.

Among the other cities to be visited during the tour will be Rome, Augsburg, Worms and Eisenach as well as everywhere from Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia to Dublin, capital of Ireland, and Turku in Finland.

Rev Anne Burghardt, secretary for ecumenical relations at the Lutheran World Federation, said that 500 years after its beginning, the Reformation "has become a truly global citizen".

"It is polycentric and had many different expressions worldwide," she said. "The occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation offers an opportunity to explore its different expressions and ask if and where there is a need for reforms in the churches today."

Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, said it makes "a lot of sense both to celebrate and to face the challenges of today in the one world in the light of the legacy of the Reformation".

The 31st October, 1517 - the day when Luther nailed the theses to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg - is generally regarded as the starting point of the Reformation.

~ www.r2017.org

- DAVID ADAMS