a reforming imagination - follow-up

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Reforming1 small“Christians should be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons” [Luther, Thesis 43]

The 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation earlier this year has allowed for numerous spaces for looking back and considering the history of the reformation. However, many progressive theological communities in the reformed tradition have had limited spaces for considering the ongoing impact of the reformation in the work of the church today. How can reformed churches continue to reform and embrace the spirit of the reformation in their pursuit of justice and inclusiveness? The ‘a reforming imagination’ conference provided a space for these ideas to be considered and discussed.

The conference included 16 presentations related to different elements of the reformation, the contemporary church, and moving forward, as well as spiritual reflection, discussion, and fellowship. The conversations began with a focus on ‘the five solae’ of the Lutheran reformation—Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria. From these principles, the papers branched out into a variety of topics, including music, the experiences of marginalised communities, mission, ethics, poetics, and homiletics.

Particular focus throughout the conference was given to the ideas of community, change, formation, and authenticity. As all of the conference participants went out and returned to their own spaces, there is a commitment to continuing this conversation and staying in community. Global and Intercultural Ministries will be organizing and distributing resources created for and at the conference in the coming months. Please stay tuned to our social media accounts, website, and bimonthly newsletter. Below are short reflections from three of the conference participants.

A found poem from the morning’s conversation,
14/12/2017, a reforming imagination, Queens, Birmingham

We are changed:  
converted by conversation,
enlightened in encounter.

Finding our humanity
in being fully human
we become
someone who,
left to our own devices,
we would not be.

We become who we are
because of where we walk
and who we walk with.

(The Revd Dr Carla A. Grosch-Miller)


“From de-colonising church hymns to loving body art; from reforming Luther in service of Dalit equality to embracing transgender callings. From forgiving debt to welcoming those 'not like us' as fellow guests at God's table of abundance...Confucius and Waldo, Puritans and Poets - radicals reforming and re-imagining our world, not unlike the gritty Galilean who gloriously subverted Empire to give us life... Now that is a theological conference of substance.” (The Revd Dr Kevin Snyman)

"Thank you! It was a wonderful gathering. I was so honoured to be part of it. I deeply appreciated the conference style of enabling conversation. I thought the structure of the presentations and feedback were excellent. I was also moved by your mentoring support of a number of us. How lucky we are to have been encouraged by you to live into our vocations and ideas by being invited to come along."(Becca Whitla, PhD Student, Toronto School of Theology)

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