500 Years of Reformations — and Their Books

500 years of reformations - and their books.

Introduction: 500 Years of Reformations in Europe and the Ozarks

The Reformations of the sixteenth century radically changed the religious landscape of Western Europe. At the beginning of the century, most Europeans were Christians who looked to the Pope in Rome for leadership. By the end of the century, various new and independent types of Christianity had emerged next to the Catholic church. Some were state churches: the Lutherans, the Reformed, and the Church of England. Others were independent and often persecuted minority communities, the predecessors of today’s Mennonites, Amish, and Baptists. Each of these groups had in common a new emphasis on books: Bibles, devotional books, theological treatises, sermon collections, and hymnals. This exhibit chronicles the development of each of these groups and their books, and explains when and how these various kinds of Christians came to the Ozarks.

“1517-2017 – 500 Years of Reformations” is an educational and commemorative event that aims to inform the public about the rise of Protestantism in Europe, to demonstrate its impact on religion, music, and arts, and to narrate its arrival in the Ozarks.

Featured events of the 2017 Spring term:

January 11-February 28: “The Reformations and Their Books” & “The Reformations and the Arts.” Missouri State University, Meyer Library, New Books Room

February 19: Concert, “Reforming Worship: A Musical Celebration of the Reformation.” University Heights Baptist Church (1010 S. National Ave.). Featuring works by Palestrina, Bach, and Billings, performed by choirs from throughout the Springfield area

February 21: Symposium, “Prints, Propaganda, and the Reformations.” Springfield Art Museum (1111 E. Brookside Dr.), Speakers: Dr John Chuchiak (Missouri State University), Dr Mitzi Kirkland-Ives (MSU), Dr Eric Nelson (MSU), & Dr Maureen Warren (Curator of European and American Art at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

The Exhibition

“The Reformations and Their Books” & “The Reformations and the Arts" will continue on in Fall of 2017 to the Springfield-Greene County Library, The Library Center branch, but is also available here online.

Please enjoy this virtual exhibition of the objects displayed.

Chronology of the Reformation

1506: Pope Julius II begins building the new St. Peter’s Church in Rome; he raises money by selling indulgences.
1517: Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses questioning the validity of indulgences to a Wittenberg church door, starting the Reformation in Germany.
1521: Luther defends his views at the Diet of Worms in the presence of Emperor Charles V and is excommunicated. Increasing numbers of theologians, city magistrates, and princes join the Reformation.
1530: Lutheran theologians and princes present their faith to Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg.
1531: Lutheran princes set up the Schmalcald League, a military alliance to defend their faith.
1534: King Henry VIII is declared supreme head of the English Church; the English Church begins to separate from the Church of Rome (the Catholic Church).
1536: John Calvin publishes his influential Institutes of the Christian Religion and becomes a leader of the church in Geneva, Switzerland.
1537: Menno Simons becomes an itinerant Anabaptist preacher in the Netherlands.
1539: Ignatius Loyola’s Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – is approved by the pope.
1545-63: The Council of Trent rejects Protestant teaching, defines Catholic doctrine, and lays the foundation for the Catholic Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

Chronology of the Arrival of Protestantism in the Ozarks

1831: Methodist circuit rider James H. Slavens arrived in Springfield, Missouri.
1833: Log cabin meeting house built for Protestant religious services. Used by both Methodists and Cumberland Presbyterians.
1834: Kickapoo Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded under a brush arbor north of Springfield. Adopted the name Mount Comfort in 1847.
1838: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church organized. First Baptist congregation in Greene County.
1859: Christ Episcopal Church founded. Earliest Episcopal congregation in Springfield.
1868: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church founded in Springfield.
1895: Mennonite congregation founded in Shannon County, Missouri.
1907: Central Assembly of God founded in a home on the north side of Springfield.
1910: Trinity Lutheran Church founded by the Missouri Synod. First Lutheran congregation in Greene County.