Last night I attended an event marking 500 years since the Reformation hosted by the John Rylands Library in Manchester (snapshot above). The evening included a demonstration of the printing of indulgences using an early 19th century press, madrigal singers, Reformation period documents and letters from the extensive collection housed within the library, and a conversation with 3 guests: Revd Dr Canon David Holgate (Manchester Cathedral, canon theologian), Dr Rosalind Oates (Manchester Metropolitan University, Early Modern History) and Dr John Morgan (Manchester University, Environmental science historian). The title for the dialogue was “The Reformation: Who gives a fig?” and the relevance of the Reformation for us today.
The Library will continue to host an exhibition until March 2018 with documents offering a fascinating insight into the period of the Reformation. The exhibits include an exceptionally fine example of the earliest work in printing of an indulgence from 1455, a beautifully illuminated copy of a rebuttal of Luther by Henry VIII (1521), and copies of the New Testament (eg. 1536 copy). One particular letter on display from Luther to Gerhard Vilskamp in Herford, Germany (1528, snapshot below) gives an insight into something of his personal struggle with depression and illness.
Please pray for:
- the continuing work of re-forming within the life of the Church, as together we seek to be faithful to our calling to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-14) in contemporary society
- boldness to speak of our faith in Christ, in meaningful ways within our fast changing cultures
- courage so that as a Church we may speak out for those people and places who are desperately seeking justice and truth in their lives.