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Luther Exhibit Debuts at Lutheran Gathering

"Martin Luther: The Reformer" to Tour North America

WINNIPEG, Canada, 22 July 2003 - From the modern halls of the Winnipeg Convention Centre into the German Reformation world of Martin and Katherine Luther, one steps back in time 500 years upon entering a remarkable traveling exhibition of Martin Luther memorabilia that was unveiled July 22 at the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The exhibit is titled, "Martin Luther: The Reformer."

Sabine Sparwasser, representative of the German Ambassador to Canada, officially opened the exhibition from the floor of the assembly, welcoming participants to "Lutherís front door" in Wittenberg. She spoke of Lutherís conviction that Christians should be empowered by the gospel to bring about healing in the world through political as well as religious institutions.

The 820 participants in the Assembly will have a full ten days to browse through more than 100 books, manuscripts, illustrations, paintings and other documents recording the life and work of the man whom "Life" magazine ranked third among the most influential people of the past millennium.

Dr Cornelia Doemer, executive director of the Luther Center in Wittenberg Germany, stated that the exhibition is organized in a circle representing "the twelve chapters of Lutherís life." It contains the first Gutenberg Bible, paintings and illustrations by Albrecht Durer and Lucas Cranach, manuscripts by Luther and a letter by his wife.

Astoundingly all the pieces in the exhibit are painstaking replicas and facsimiles of the originals, which reside in the towns of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt that were central to Lutherís life. Dr. Doemer stated that the replicas were created during the years of the former German Democratic Republic by German craftsmen and artists who had no Luther exhibitions to mount and therefore no challenges besides artistic and historic integrity.

The exhibitís creators have succeeded in creating an environment Ė complete with actors in period dress portraying Martin and Katherine Luther Ė that affords the viewer an atmospheric as well as authentic taste of life at the dawn of the Reformation.

The exhibit portrays Martin Luther, monk, spiritual seeker, courageous reformer, eloquent preacher, brilliant teacher, and loving family man, as the theologian who not only transformed western Christianity but also reformed German language and culture. The Protestant Reformation took root in Germany and then spread across Europe and the world.

Since the collapse of communism, Doemer said, it has been a joy once again to invite the people of the world to Wittenberg to visit the Luther sites in person. She added that this tour offers the opportunity to take Luther to North America to be more fully appreciated by North Americans of German heritage, by Lutherans and by the public in general.

It is the ultimate tribute to Luther that the church that bears his name honors him at its world gathering, over 450 years after his death in 1546.

The Luther exhibit will be open at no charge to the public on the main floor of the Winnipeg Convention Center from July 22 Ė 30, during the LWF Assembly. Following the Assembly, "Martin Luther: The Reformer" will tour 12 sites in the United States, beginning at Luther Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota.

The Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is taking place 21-31 July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada, under the theme "For the Healing of the World." It is being hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

There are around 820 men, women and youth participants in the Tenth Assembly including 380 delegates from the 133 churches with full membership and three associate members. The Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the LWF, and meets normally every six years. Between Assemblies, the LWF is governed by its Council that meets annually, and by its Executive Committee.

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