Duquesne helps celebrate history of the Protestant Reformation

Katia Faroun | Staff Photographer
First Lutheran Church is located at 615 Grant St. in downtown Pittsburgh. The church is working with DU to celebrate the Reformation.
Katia Faroun | Staff Photographer
First Lutheran Church is located at 615 Grant St. in downtown Pittsburgh. The church is working with DU to celebrate the Reformation.

Gabriella DiPietro | Staff Writer

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of a Wittenburg church, sparking the Protestant Reformation. This year Duquesne is partnering with the First Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh and the Downtown Pittsburgh Ministerium to commemorate this milestone anniversary of one of the largest religious revolutions in history.

The First Lutheran Church and its partners have come together to launch a commemorative storytelling project called “Always Made New: Formed and Reformed,” in which the people of Pittsburgh are invited to be interviewed and share their stories about life changing experiences. The project is led by Rev. Natalie Hall and Rev. Jennifer McCurry of the First Lutheran Church.

Those who are interviewed will have their stories shared and displayed on posters titled Stations of Reformation located on various private properties in the city, including Duquesne’s campus, in order to mimic the actions of Martin Luther in a contemporary way.

Each poster will include a quote from a Pittsburgh individual and a QR code that will lead readers to the website with more about that individual’s story. Posters on the Bluff will feature stories from Pittsburgh community leaders, such as Mayor Bill Peduto, President Ken Gormley, Bishop David Zubik and many others.

Rev. McCurry explained why First Lutheran chose to display the posters around the city, as well as the importance of the commemorating project.

“We decided to invite people to reflect on what happened for them in times of change, recognizing that it often brings great challenges and costs, as well the possibility of unexpected support, joyful opportunity and ultimately new life,” Rev. McCurry explained.

Rev. McCurry views this project as not only a commemoration of the Reformation, but as a way to bring people together through both faith and community.

“By seeing the witness of others, we all may grow in understanding our own lives and transformations differently, and see our neighbors in a new light. By hearing one another’s stories, we may grow in discerning how we may more faithfully participate in our community life together,” she said.

Along with the “Stations of Reformation” posters mounted around participating local organizations, the content of the project will also be spread through media coverage and the website, as well as a social media campaign.

“Our Ministerium’s hopes for the project seemed to connect well with Duquesne’s broad vision of Catholic education, preparing students for service to the Church, the community, the nation and the world,” said Rev. McCurry.

On Oct. 29, beginning at 2:00 p.m., there will be a pilgrimage walk to each of the “Always Made New” exhibits downtown, accompanied with prayers and the readings of some of the full interviews. There will also be a 4:00 liturgy at First Lutheran Church led by leaders of the Downtown Ministerium and Lutheran Bishop Kurt Kusserow.

Father Ray French, vice president of the Division of Mission and Identity at Duquesne, helped facilitate the collaboration between Duquesne and the First Lutheran Church, and he highly values the “Always Made New” project.

“This is an opportunity to come together and celebrate our common humanity and be inspired by stories of Faith, courage, resilience and change,” said French.

The people of Pittsburgh are invited to join in the Always Made New campaign to help celebrate the Reformation’s anniversary through its events. The project also invites individuals to consider how the community can be engaged and supportive toward each other. For more information about the project, visit alwaysmadenew.org. To RSVP for the pilgrimage walk, visit alwaysmadenew.wordpress.com/events/.