On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the parish church at Wittenberg in Germany, a date that is generally seen as the beginning of the Reformation. Saturday’s service took place at Bewleys Hotel in Ballsbridge and was attended by approximately 30 members of the Dublin and Wicklow Orange Lodge.
Also present were the Donegal county grand master David Mahon and the Cavan county grand master Henry Latimer.
Attempts to have the service held in mainstream Protestant churches in Dublin were unsuccessful.
In 1795, the Orange Order was founded in Dublin, where the Grand Lodge was first opened on Dawson Street in 1798.
Church of Ireland minister Rev Stanley Gamble, curate at the Newtownbreda parish in Belfast, officiated at the service with Presbyterian minister and former education convenor of the Orange Order, Rev Brian Kennaway, delivering the homily.
The Dublin Conservative Club choir also took part.
“In the medieval church of the 16th century, the word of God did not have central place. If the word of God had been given central place many of the practices of the medieval church would never have seen the light of day,” Rev Kennaway said in his homily.
“How can we best say ‘thank you’ to God for the Reformation of the 16th century? The answer is an obvious one – by discovering, reading and obeying the word of the living God,” he said.
The Orangemen hope the Reformation Day service in Dublin will now become an annual event.
This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times
The Irish Times 2nd November 2009
A full and more detailed account of the service will be published in the next Dublin & Wicklow Newsletter. You can find the Order of Service at the following link – Service of Thanksgiving for the Reformation.