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Local Lutherans celebrating 500th anniversary of Reformation

William J. Craft, president of Concordia College will be speaking at Calvary Lutheran Church on Oct. 8 in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. (Submitted photo)

Calvary Lutheran Church in Park Rapids will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which was officially October 31, 1517.

The reformation was a split from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther in 16th-century Europe.

In celebration of the reformation, Dr. William Craft, president of Concordia College Moorhead will be the guest speaker and presenter at Calvary on Sunday, Oct. 8.

"As president of one of the colleges of our church and a believer in liberal arts education, there's nothing that goes more hand in hand with Christian freedom than that," Lead Pastor of Calvary Steve Norby said.

In 2011, Craft, who has a lake home in the area, was elected President of Concordia College. Prior to that, he served as dean of Luther College and vice president for academic affairs, holding a faculty appointment as professor of English. Leading up to his tenure at Luther, he served as dean of undergraduate studies and chair of the Department of English at Mount Saint Mary's College in Maryland.

He currently serves as chair of the Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Board of Directors, which is best known for its aid in response to the disasters of flood, famine and drought. LWR works everyday across the globe to support sustainable farming, climate adaption, and the resilience of women and men in the world's poorest communities.

Calvary will designate their cash offering and all checks, made out to Lutheran World Relief, from their Oct. 8 weekend services.

Craft is also a member of the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Executive Committee and the Public Policy Committee of the Minnesota Private College Council.

He is also past chair of the Wye Seminar Advisory Council, a program of the Aspen Institute.

He serves on the regional board of U.S. Bank and on the board of the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation.

"We're going to commemorate reformation heritage. I have a feeling that some of the things that we so take for granted today, that came out of the Reformation, we're going to raise those up," Norby said, "such as separation of church and state, that's no small thing, or translation of the Bible, which had people killed and one that's dear to my heart: clergy can marry."

Craft will speak at both services and will be a teacher/facilitator during the 9:15 a.m. adult Sunday School.

"This isn't a Lutherans only thing, it's for everybody," Norby said.

Calvary will also be jointly sponsoring a Reformation Festival of Music with St. Johns Lutheran Church at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15 at St. Johns, followed by fellowship.