Evangelical Lutheran Schools in Palestine Told Reformation Continues Here, 500 Years Later

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Photo: Ben Gray/ELCJHL

“What can you make of the Reformation 500 years later?”

This was the question Evangelical Lutheran Schools (ELS) Director of Education and Educational Programs Dr. Charlie Haddad challenged the 8th grade students, a cohort of the Lutheran schools, with on Saturday, 29 October.

The students come together each year as a culmination of social studies classes from each of the four ELS schools of which reformation is a large part of the social studies curriculum in 8th grade. They performed musical pieces, completed art projects, presented films on the Reformation and participated in group bonding sports.

Ironically, the demographics of the ELS schools are 59% Muslim but Dr. Haddad said the Reformation is more than a Christian event it is the spirit of Reformation that will serve ELS students living in Palestine, regardless of religion.

“How can you reform government, society, neighborhood, and community?” He asked all ELS 8th graders gathered together at Dar-al Kalima Lutheran School in Bethlehem to recognize the protestant reformation set off by Martin Luther during the 16th century when he posted 95 theses or criticisms of the Catholic church.

As an added challenge, Dr. Haddad offered a cash reward to the top essays from students about how they might use the influences of Martin Luther to create reform in their communities, hence, his original question, “What can YOU make of the Reformation 500 years later?”

Part of the ELS educational philosophy is about graduating students who can be real leaders, and learning about the Reformation encourages students to be reformers no matter their religion, Dr. Haddad emphasized.

” If we had reformation here [Palestine], there would be no occupation.”