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    This Changed Everything: Documentary about the Protestant Reformation

      This year marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Reformers have existed throughout church history, but a professor in Wittenberg, Germany, named Dr. Martin Luther created 95 talking points listing what he thought needed to change in the Roman Catholic Church. It is said that in 1517, he nailed these discussion-starters to his local bulletin board—the church doors—and many mark this event as the start of the Protestant Reformation. The influence of Luther and his followers led to many changes. Here are a few of the more subtle ones: People shifted holiday gift-giving from St. Nicholas Day (December 6 in most Western countries) to Christmas Eve. Church art…

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    Another Woman of the Reformation: Katharina Zell

    A sixteenth-century German, Katharina Schütz Zell (1497/8–1562) was one of the first Protestant women to marry a clergyman. Katharina lived all of her life in what was formerly Alsace, known today as Strasbourg, France, close to the border of Germany. A Reformer, she published a collection of congregational hymns, cared for the sick and imprisoned, and reached out to refugees displaced by religious warfare. Matthew Zell, one of the priests in her community who researched the ideas Martin Luther was speaking about in 1521, began preaching about "grace alone." Katharina found solace in the message that God’s salvation is purely a gift through the grace of Christ. They married, which…

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    Protestants at 500: The Best-Known Female Reformer

    In this year, which marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, many are focusing on the male reformers. But Germany is also focused on some of the females.  Though quite influential, they are often forgotten. And we can learn much from their lives. I'm thinking of one in particular. Come back in time with me to about 1499 in what we know today as eastern Germany—then called Saxony. And picture a girl born to a noble family. When she turns five, her mother dies and her father sends her to a cloister.  There she receives a nun's education. When she is about 24, she and some of her friends—aware of…