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Lutheran music festival to celebrate Reformation

St. Johns Lutheran Church and Calvary Lutheran Church of Park Rapids are sponsoring a festival of music to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Music in the Lutheran tradition will be performed Sunday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. on pipe organ by Sarah Carlson, director of music ministry at First Lutheran Church in Bemidji, and the Park Rapids Classic Chorale, directed by Melanie Hanson.

Plans are being made for congregational singing and a combined choir singing songs such as "Lord Keep Us Steadfast" and F. Melius Christiansen's arrangement of "Beautiful Savior."

A children's choir, directed by Sarah Kaufenburg, and St. Johns Bell Choir, directed by Vickie Helm, will also be part of the festival.

Luther's famous hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," will be sung at the end of the service.

According to historians, the start of the Reformation is 1517 with the publication of Martin Luther's "95 Theses." Luther and the other reformers became the first to skillfully use the power of the printing press to give their ideas a wide audience.

Along with the religious consequences of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation came deep and lasting political changes. Northern Europe's new religious and political freedoms came at a great cost, with decades of rebellions, wars, and bloody persecutions.

But the Reformation's positive repercussions can be seen in the intellectual and cultural flourishing it inspired on all side of the schism — in the strengthened universities of Europe, the music of J.S. Bach and the baroque altarpieces of Pieter Paul Rubens.

The public is invited to join the congregations to celebrate Lutheran heritage and faith with joyful music.