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26th October 2017

Lancashire's Reformation 500 service is visible show of unity

Representatives of Christian denominations in Lancashire were invited to attend a special service recently at Blackburn Cathedral to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

The Reformation, also referred to as the Protestant Reformation, was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther. For more on Reformation 500 visit this site.

Speaking at the event in Lancashire were the National Ecumenical Officer for the Catholic Bishops' Conference in England and Wales, Fr John O'Toole, alongside the Vice President of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in England, Pastor George Samiec.

Responses and reflections were given by Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; The Chair of the Lancashire Methodist District, The Rev Paul Davies and the Moderator of the United Reform Church NW Synod, The Rev Andrew Mills.

The event was organised by Churches Together in Lancashire (CTiL). County Ecumenical Officer for CTiL, Rev Anton Muller, Vicar of Scorton and Barnacre and Calder Vale writes a short reflection on the event …

"The key ecumenical question is this: Is full visible unity possible in today's church? That question was answered in Blackburn Cathedral recently as church leaders and some 200 members of the Christian community from across the church groups in Lancashire gathered to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Anniversary of the Reformation. 

“Fr John O'Toole, appointed by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster to serve as the National Ecumenical Officer for the Catholic Bishop's Conference in England and Wales spoke alongside the national representative for the Lutheran Church in England. 

“They met head to head and heart to heart as they spoke of the hope that now unites Christians everywhere.   We are a people justified by faith and where works stand as both witness and testimony, not as the means, to the salvation  that God has given freely to all who believe and desire to receive it.

“Reflections from the Moderator of the United Reformed Church in the North West, the Chair of the Lancashire Methodist District and the Bishop of Blackburn also pointed in celebration and rejoicing to the traditions that we share - the richness and variety that is the hallmark of the Holy Spirit at work in the world.”

  • For a simple and effective telling of the story of Martin Luther and the Reformation suitable for children and adults alike, watch this video from Go Chatter, a ministry of