Reformation 2017

In the May church magazine, Peter wrote this Vicar’s Letter:

This year it is 500 years since Martin Luther nailed something to the church door at Worms and started the Reformation. I remember “Worms”, I’ve even visited Worms, but ask me what it was he nailed to the door and I’m not very sure.

When I started doing the research, I realised I had got it wrong. Wittenberg, not Worms.

I remember that the White Horse Tavern in Cambridge was where the Reformers drank – Cranmer, Latimer, Coverdale and Tyndale. Cranmer became Archbishop, Coverdale and Tyndale produced English Bibles, but I’ll need to look Latimer up.

I know that the Reformation spread across Europe, that monasteries were dissolved, and that Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn and founded the Church of England. We met Anne Boleyn on a tour of Hampton Court a few years ago. She was delayed while I pushed Julie down a corridor, and I apologised for keeping her waiting. “His Majesty has kept me waiting for six years. Waiting two minutes for you is of no matter” she said. She was a very beautiful young lady – I can understand why Henry wanted to marry her.

Julie and I will lead three sessions this term on the Reformation. For the first I will read some history, and tell the story. How did a man’s actions in Worms (sorry, Wittenberg) lead to the end of Darley’s Abbey?

The text for the first talk is here – reformation talk 1

and the handout is here – reformation handout 1

For the second, we will listen to how music and worship changed over a hundred years. To take just one example, the composer Thomas Tallis. He was born circa 1505 and was organist of the Benedictine Priory of Dover in 1532. Around 1538 he moved to Waltham Abbey where, at the dissolution (1540) he was a senior lay clerk. He was worshipping with the monks in their abbey, and saw his whole world change. In 1541-2 he was a lay clerk at Canterbury Cathedral, and in 1543 became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. Tallis was one of the first composers to write for the new Anglican liturgy of 1547-53, the original Book of Common Prayer. In 1575 he and William Byrd were granted a licence by Elizabeth I to print music. He died in 1585 – so much had happened in the eighty years of his life.

The text for the second talk is here – reformation talk 2

and the handout is here – reformation handout 2

For the third session, Julie will talk about The Reformation in Fiction. C.J. Sansom has written the Shardlake novels, set in the turmoil of Henry VIII’s reign. Hilary Mantel is writing a trilogy – so far we have “Wolf Hall” and “Bring up the Bodies”. I have no doubt that Julie will bring other authors to life as well.

The text for the third talk is here – reformation talk 3

and the handout is here – reformation handout 3

Our faith is never just history. We must think about how the practice of faith is changing in the 21 century. We must think about the role of faith in Europe, and what sort of country we want to be post-Brexit. We live our Easter faith in today’s world – which is a challenge for us all.

On the subject of the Reformation … Sunday 7 May 2017 saw a different afternoon service. We joined with other Augustinian foundations around the country to say the monastic office of Nones at 3 pm. Peter used it as an opportunity to talk about the history of the abbey of Darley Abbey. The order of service is here DA nones may 2017, and the talk here nones – history of DA.

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