The Luther500 Festival

The Luther500 Festival is a seven-day cultural-immersion experience that brings the Reformation to life as you serve, learn, and celebrate in the places where Martin Luther did the same 500 years ago. This pilgrimage to Germany will help revitalize schools, congregations, and personal faith journies as participants come face to face with the breadth and importance of the Reformation, make new friends, connect with their heritage, and experience first hand how Church history can be a whole lot of fun.
How Will You Celebrate the Reformation Jubilee?

In 2017, you have the choice of three different weeks to accommodate your group's schedule.  All three festival weeks, May, June and October have the same content -- full of insight and discovery, new friends, and plenty of fun.

Welcome to three Festivals in 2017

Where is the Festival?


IMG_7034.JPGWell, 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 countrysides 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. And, of course, you will be in the Land of Martin Luther. There is no better place 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 engaging 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.


... is the center of the Reformation. 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 tombs of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, is right next door to our Festival center and is the site of our morning prayers.

Meditate on the altar painting in Stadtkirche, the location for evening prayers.  Walk to the World’s first parsonage. And hear why even pharmacists can be important for the life of the church. You will pray in the church where Luther prayed in Wittenberg and hear the very bells that rang in 1483 at Martin’s baptism as you visit his birthplace at Eisleben. And so much more …

We will stay the week in Wittenberg, but additionally you can choose two out of four day excursions to other Luther sites:


Luther's birth house in Eisleben... is the town where Luther was born 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 baptized can still be seen in St Peter and Paul Church.

You can also visit the church and see the pulpit where Luther gave his last sermons at St Andrews Church. Our Day Trip to Eisleben will be much more than just a tourist trip. Beside a visit to the main places of the Reformation an Interest Center will be offered in the church where Martin Luther was baptized. This church was re-opened in spring 2012 after it was renovated and turned into a “Center of Baptism.” We will also serve the Eisleben Community with a Servant Project.

Our evening prayer will be in St. Peter and Paul, the church where Martin Luther was baptized.

Wartburg and 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!

After we visited the Wartburg we will make our way to Erfurt. 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.

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. On the day of our excusion we will have the evening prayer in the church of the Augustinian Monastery before returning to Wittenberg.

Torgau and Leipzig

Although Wittenberg had the palace of Kurfürst Frederic the Wise, Torgau was the seat of the political administration in Luther's times. On our day excursion we will see the Renaissance palace with its spiral-shaped staircase made from stone. The palace' chapel was the first new sanctuary, dedicated by Luther. In St. Mary's church we will see the tomb stone of Katharina von Bora, Luther's wife.

On to Leipzig where Johann Sebastian Bach served as cantor of the St. Thomas boy's choir. While in Leipzig, Bach composed a new cantata for every Sunday. Today Leipzig is a vibrant city with a lot of shopping possibilities. In 1989 Leipzig became important for the uprise in the former East Germany. Following prayers for peace the people started to march the street with not more than candles in their hands - one of many steps towards the reunification of Germany.

> Who Does The Festival?


Start registration:  May 29- June 4, 2017  |  June 19- 25, 2017  |  October 2- 8, 2017