On an October day five centuries ago, a German friar named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the doors of Wittenberg’s Castle Church, triggering the Protestant Reformation.
This Sunday, Christians rent from one another by that schism will pray together at Salt Lake City’s Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1070 Foothill Drive.
The Rev. Oscar Solis, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, will join the Rev. Jim Gonia, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Rocky Mountain Synod, in offering sermons at the 3 p.m. Common Prayer Service.
Gonia told The Salt Lake Tribune that such joint services are part of a concerted effort by ECLA and Catholics worldwide to work toward their shared faith in Christ.
“I am grateful to Bishop Solis for joining in this unique opportunity to present a shared witness to our Christian unity in a world that is so deeply divided,‘ Gonia said.
In a pastoral letter earlier this year, Solis stressed the need for ecumenical outreach and interreligious dialogue.
“Courage and fidelity to our mission come along with mutual respect, understanding and harmony among diverse people and leaders of different faith denominations,” he wrote. “Commitment to ecumenism, dialogue and unity is our big contribution to the world and humanity.”
Zion Lutheran Pastor Steve Klemz said the event is a “milestone” that seeks to highlight 50 years of ecumenical dialogue between the ELCA and Catholics.
“The service is structured around themes of praise, thanksgiving and commitment to common witness,” Klemz explained. “[It includes] a brief homily by the bishops, prayer and a variety of music, including contemporary worship music, hymns and a joint choir.”
The public is invited to attend the free service.
Other Reformation-related, Salt Lake County discussions scheduled this month include:
• Oct. 11, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 8575 S. 700 East, Sandy, 7 p.m., “Luther‘s Experience and the Priesthood of All Believers.” The Rev. James Wakefield.
• Oct. 18, Community of Grace Presbyterian Church, 2015 E. Newcastle Drive, Salt Lake City, 7 p.m., “Calvin‘s Experience: Reformed and Always Reforming.” The Rev. Jerrod Lowry.
• Oct. 25, St. James Episcopal Church, 7486 Union Park Ave., Midvale, 7 p.m., “The English Reformation.” The Rev. Mary Nestler.
• Nov. 1, Hilltop United Methodist Church, 985 E. 10600 South, Sandy, 7 p.m., “A Methodist Renewal.” The Rev. C. Dennis Shaw.
• Nov. 8, Blessed Sacrament Church, 9757 S. 1700 East, Sandy, 7 p.m., “What the Roman Catholic Church Learned From the Protestant Reformation.” Deacon Scott Dodge.