Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reformation Party

It is one week and counting to the 6th annual Reformation Party at our church, Clifton Baptist. This is my first year to participate, however, and I am enjoying it immensely and learning a lot as well. I love this idea of celebrating the Reformation for several reasons, but chief among them is that having such an event on October 31st (which is the day in 1517 that Luther nailed up his 95 theses, for those of you who are not history buffs) is far better than a church celebrating "Harvest" or Halloween. Of course I love harvest and I even love Halloween (the candy and costume parts, not so much the horror-movieness), but Reformation Day is an actual historical event that we can learn from and celebrate what God did for His church.

How do you have a Reformation party? Here's what we're doing at Clifton.

First, choose a Reformer to focus on. In the past, they've done Luther and Calvin, and this year we're doing Martin Bucer, who is a lesser-known reformer. The night of the event, everyone dresses up in costumes such as monks, medieval maidens, knights, etc., and booths are set up with different activities that pertain to the main reformer. Bucer was a traveler, for instance, so we have a map room where the kids find certain locations on a map. He also helped Calvin find his wife, so there is a ring toss where you try to toss a ring around the doll wearing the wedding dress. Fun, right? And educational! At each of the booths, the kids can earn a stamp on their "passport", which you are trying to complete. In addition to that, we have a jail, where persons who are spreading "heresy" can be thrown, a "jousting" match using pillows, the Reformation University where children show projects they have created at home as well as tons of CANDY! One of the best parts, I'm told, is when everyone sings the "Reformation Polka". I cracked up laughing when my friend Annie (the Reformation Super-fan) sent them to me. Here they are:

(Sung to the tune of "Supercalfragilisticexpialidocious")

(This song is very much tongue in cheek, my dear catholic friends.)

When I was just ein junger Mann I studied canon law;
While Erfurt was a challenge, it was just to please my Pa.

Then came the storm, the lightning struck, I called upon Saint Anne,
I shaved my head, I took my vows, an Augustinian! Oh...


They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exempleror;
The Pope, however, hauled me up before the Emperor.
"Are these your books? Do you recant?" King Charles did demand,
"I will not change my Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand!" Oh...


Duke Frederick took the Wise approach, responding to my words,
By knighting "George" as hostage in the Kingdom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin's model if the languages you seek,
Stay locked inside a castle with your Hebrew and your Greek! Oh...

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation -
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

I'll try to post some pictures after the event is over! Let me know if you've done an event like this . . .


Name: Karen said...


We studied the Renaissance and Reformation last year in home school.

We put on a Reformation Day Celebration last year and it was tremendous. Each family signed up to do a "shoppe" My family was the music shop. Which was the cover for the Bible smugglers. Each person was given a "paper bible" to try and smuggle through the night to the music shop. Dads were dressed as monks trying to catch someone w/a Bible. If caught, they took them to the stockade that we had built.

We had a wall of faith in our sanctuary that was built with the cornerstone being Christ and then building from that a wall of faith using different martyrs and heroes of faith from the Cross through the Reformation. Many kids were assigned these martyrs and were assigned to write a dialogue about their character. My Natalie was Blandina, a 1st century Christian Martyred in the arena in Rome. My Tayler, was Katie Luther. As each kid came out and said their part, a brick was laid upon the foundation of the cornerstone. We did this chronologically from the Cross through the Reformation and Luther, Calvin, Huss, Wycliffe and so many others. It was amazing.

If I remember it right, we did food from the time period (Reformation Time) and had games/shoppes from the time period. For example our music shoppe, we did Name that Tune, using things like Ring around the Rosy (from the black plague) ect...and they had to name that poem/song. Of course, our co-op put this on for our church and since we had just studied all of this, we understood it all. I think there is a huge non-understanding of the Reformation from the Evangelical Church at large. Even I was guilty of not knowing much about Luther other than he wrote, A mighty fortress is our God!

What a tremendous study it was! I am so excited to hear what your church did/does!


momma of 3 said...

Our Homeschool Co-op is doing a Medieval Feast on Sat at church! Wish you could come! Your parents are being the King and Queen of the evening! It'll be a hoot!

Anonymous said...

oh my, GRET! What are you going to wear? That sounds great! :) I am going to be Hermione for Halloween, but DUH. Of course I am. :) I just need a wooden wand and a headband. BTW that sounds like something YOU would think up what your church is doing, so no wonder you love your church so much! :)


Jana said...

Getchen--What a wonderful idea. I love it. I have never heard of that before. I can hardley wait for the pictures!!!

Gretchen said...


Thanks for telling me about your event at your church. It sounds like a great place. I LOVE those ideas. We'll have to file them away for later! This year the plan is simple (so Annie tells me) because SO much went into VBS (which she also did). But maybe next year it can be a bit more full-blown. :)

Brit -- sounds like fun! I hope you put up some pictures!

Anna -- I have a peasant outfit with a brown pin-on apron, brown boots and a sort of wrap thing for my hair (I'm braiding it). The wrap thing goes around my head and then around my braid. I didn't want to make a formal into a princess dress or something. I DO love my church and I'm so glad I get to help with the kids and the events!

Jana -- glad to give you an idea! Maybe you can have a little Reformation fest with your little darling someday!

Emily said...

Oh my gosh, that son is hilarious...a smart person must have made it up, to make it all rhyme so well...haahaa! :)
I must admit I'm a little jealous, still...there's mothing like the good ole' Switch...and at a reformation paty, I couldn't be a fairy.:)

Gretchen said...

Emma -- you could be a princess! Or a girl knight or a medieval maiden or something. I'm being a peasant.

Anonymous said...

3 days to go until Reformation time!! :) I love Karen's ideas from her reformation celebration (esp the wall of faith & bible sumuggling). I'm trying to tuck them away in my memory for future years. Gretchen, it is a joy to know & work with you (as I'm sure your other readers can testify to). Thanks for getting the Ref Polka chorus in my head for the rest of the day! ;)
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Gretchen - that may blow off the top from our Harvest party...I LOVE IT!!! Especially that song!

John E said...

So what happened to the party after everyone in the church was thrown into jail for heresy?

(Another [semi] tongue-in-cheek jab) ;)

Roderick_E said...

See the Youtube version of this with a bit more visual historicity: