Celebrating God’s work in the Protestant Reformation has been a long standing tradition in our church. In the early 1980s, Pastors Richard C. Miller and Carl E. Erickson (of New Covenant OPC in South San Francisco) would conduct joint reformation services complete with dramatic and colorful reenactments of various reformation scenes. Then in 1990, a long tradition of combined evening worship services on Reformation Sunday began between our church and the churches pastored by Pastor Kevin Kirby (Petaluma Community Church, and later Sovereign Grace Community Church). Popularly known as the Reformation Rally, these combined services have become an annual ecumenical event in the best sense of the words, with participation from various churches from our presbytery and the local community.
These reformation services have sought to commemorate the spiritual heritage of the Protestant Reformation, giving opportunity each year to remember the historic recovery of the doctrines of grace while recommitting ourselves to these truths in the spirit of ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda.
Traditionally, the services have included a recitation of the five solas of the reformation, delivered from various area pastors, with a keynote speaker to preach on a reformation topic. The services have also been filled with various reformation era psalms and hymns, always concluding in that most famous of Luther hymns, A Mighty Fortress is Our God. With so many guests each year, a bountiful fellowship meal has also been a favorite part of the festivities to round out the evening. In more recent years, a pre-service lecture has been added to the evening to give opportunity to delve into more detailed matters of church history while allowing us to better preserve the worship format of the main service.
One thing that history has taught us is that professing Christians can be prone to wander, including in areas of doctrine. Our annual reformation services seek to remind us to continue to safeguard these most foundational doctrines of the church for the very gospel is at stake. Our annual reformation rallies have not only served that purpose, they’ve also been very joyous and festive occasions!