Luther500 Festival




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Well, we might as well start right off with calling what the Germans call it: Deutschland. Here, you may re-connect with your own heritage, or connect for the first time with the joys, adventures, history and romanticism of one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Have fun, relax, explore, and revive in this storied location. And, speaking of stories, you’ll return home with enough to entertain and amuse your friends and family for years to come.

Deutschland is varied. From vibrant cities with amazing architecture and fabulous shopping, to enchanting medieval villages and picturesque countryside perfect for walking, cycling or simply relaxing, there is something for everyone. You’ll see castles, palaces and abbeys that epitomize German style and culture. This is a land of a thousand possibilities.

And, of course, you will be in the Land of Martin Luther. There is no better place on earth to learn about the Great Reformer and the drama and impact of the Reformation. You will discover that learning and serving has never been so thrilling and memorable as when you are in the very location where these momentous events took place and where these influential figures in human history actually lived. You will pray in the church where Luther prayed in Wittenberg and can hear the very bells that rang in 1483 at Martin’s baptism if you visit his birthplace at Eisleben.  And so much more….

Our home for the week. the City of the Reformation, the town of the Castle Church, where Luther nailed his 95 theses. Wittenberg is the center of the Reformation.

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Welcome to the town where Martin Luther taught as a university professor  — and which became the dwelling place  of progressive ideas and a new understanding of the gospel. The Schlosskirche with the door where the 95 theses were posted, and the graves of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, is the site of our morning or evening prayers during the week.  Meditate on the altar painting in Stadtkirche, where Luther preach more than 1,000 sermons, and another location for morning or evening prayers.  Walk to the World’s first parsonage. And hear why even pharmacists can be important for the life of the church.

You'll live in Wittenberg for the week, so all of the day trips are optional and your registration includes two trips. 

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day trip option 1: eisleben

Eisleben is the town where Luther was born, baptized and died. You can tour his birth house and walk the path from there to the church where he was baptized in 1483.  This is the same route the baby Martin and his parents would have traveled. The original baptismal font in which Martin Luther was baptised can still be seen in St Peter and Paul Church. This Church has recently been renovated with a focus on baptism. Our Festival group will have a special service of remembrance in this sacred space.

You can also visit the church and see the pulpit where Luther gave his last sermons at St Andrews Church.


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day trip option 2: erfurt & eisenach

The Wartburg, a superb medieval castle above the town of Eisenach, has played an important role in many aspects of German history. Most importantly, Martin Luther was hidden here 1521 to 1522 after being put under papal ban. During this time he translated the New Testament into German. It’s since then that ordinary folks can read God’s word in their own language and by themselves! 

Founded in 742, Erfurt was a very wealthy medieval town, and it shows. Martin Luther was a student at the university (founded in 1392) before he became a monk in the Augustinian Monastery here in 1505. In 1511 the Augustinians sent him to become a teacher in Wittenberg, but Erfurt always remained as his spiritual home. We'll have Evening Prayer at the monastery.

Today the old center “Altstadt” is restored and invites travellers for a walk between old churches, welcoming cafés, and unique stores. Most of the attractions are within walking distance of each other in the Altstadt, namely St. Mary’s Cathedral (with the world’s biggest church bell!) and St. Severus  at the huge market place.


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Day trip option 2: Leipzig & torgau

A little south of Wittenberg is Leipzig, where Johann Sebastian Bach  composed most of his cantatas in the time when he was the cantor at St  Thomas Church. Leipzig also was important in the fall of 1989 when  demonstrators peacefully protested and ultimately forced changes in East  Germany which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Also close by to Wittenberg is Torgau, the seat of the District government in Luther's day, where Frederick conducted business.  Most notably though, it is the burial place of Katherine Von Bora, Luther's beloved wife Katie.

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day trip option 4: berlin

Discover the vibrant German capital Berlin! Sandwiched between “East” and “West” for 40 years, with a literal and metaphoric wall deeply diving the city into halves, Berlin now is capital of a reunified Germany and one of Europe’s great cities.

Despite efforts to become a city of the future, berlin has also made every effort to preserve its history.  Many visitors are surprised to see such a green and easy going city.

Berlin features many cultural hotspots attracting numerous visitors from around the world. Brandenburg gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial Church, the remnants of The Berlin Wall and the Reichstag parliament building are some of the major sights. The Holocaust Memorial is surely one of the more unique and moving monuments in a city full of memorable sights.