Last year, St. Augustine, Florida, the coastal town that recently suffered a blow from Hurricane Matthew — and the officially recognized longest continuously settled city in America — observed its 450th birthday with much pomp and discharging of antique cannons. Celebrating mammoth milestones is just a thing right now, and these unexpected anniversaries are always valid way to brush up on local history.
Beating America’s oldest town by 50 years, the Protestant Reformation is about to turn no less than 500, as calculated by Martin Luther’s 1517 posting of his 95 Theses, a text that changed the religious world forever. As a movement, this cultural game-changer was more viscerally embodied, at least in England, by the infamous King Henry VIII, who doffed Papal traditions and established the Church of England so he could obtain a divorce from his first of six wives and marry the ill-fated Anne Boleyn. (Luther himself went on to marry a former nun, though his motives are generally construed in a more ecclesiastical light.)
At an upcoming event at Grace Lutheran Church in Hendersonville (1245 Sixth Avenue West), moderators will discuss the reach of the movement’s 500th anniversary in what it calls an “adult study series.” The event’s title suggests part college course, part sports-car reissue: “Reformation 500” starts October 26 and runs Wednesdays through November 16.
5:30-7:30pm. Free. 828-693-4890.