Some of what we do at Providence is counter-cultural, including how we operate our school calendar. Our desire is to honor such holidays such as Christmas and Easter, and acknowledge other special days in the history of the church.
If you walk into Providence’s building at the end of October, expecting to see students sporting their usual Providence blue and green, you may be surprised. Instead of trim uniforms and dressy shoes, you discover colorful costumes and props everywhere you look – flowing skirts, archery bows, armor, cloaks… a whole parade of creativity. At first, you glance at the date and think you know what is going on, but soon you notice particular trends in the costumes sported by students and staff. In all their diversity and creativity, the costumes all seem to reflect one particular era: Europe around the year 1500. In fact, without realizing it, you have joined Providence just in time for our celebration of a particularly important moment in church history: Reformation Day!
History of Reformation Day
On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther, frustrated with abuses and false teachings he encountered within the church, nailed a list of propositions known as the 95 Theses to the church door in the city of Wittenberg, Germany. Since the church door in that era served as the town bulletin board, by doing this, Luther meant to officially open a discussion of the problems he observed in church teaching. Without particularly meaning to, on that day Luther, in God’s providence, sparked a movement that would result in the Protestant Reformation, which emphasized the doctrine of justification by faith and gave birth to the “five solas” that encapsulate the Protestant faith: “by Scripture alone,” “by grace alone,” “by Christ alone,” “by faith alone,” and “to God alone be the glory.”
At Providence, we enjoy creating and nurturing a unique school culture. Part of this involves developing fun yearly traditions, where we commemorate important people and events while also having a great time! Since the Reformation, with its focus on Scriptural truth and the sufficiency of the work of Jesus Christ, is central to our heritage of faith at Providence, we celebrate it in style each year on October 31 (or the school day closest to that date!). Costumes themed after that particular era in history; games and contests of all types; a delicious feast for all students and faculty at lunch time; and an all-school/parent assembly at which we sing songs from the Reformation era and commemorate the dedication and sacrifice exemplified by the men and women of that time – our celebration lasts all day long and features all sorts of fun activities!
We also value Reformation Day as a time to build community across all the grades. Secondary students design and direct games and contests for the grammar students, and the whole school attends lunch and assembly together. Students from early grammar school up through high school eagerly anticipate this special day in our yearly calendar, as we celebrate the church’s history, our school community, and most importantly, Jesus Christ and his grace!
The celebration of Reformation Day at Providence not only allows us to teach some important elements of history, but also offers an opportunity for students to celebrate with one another and across grade levels. Through costumes, games, competitions, and feasting, all members of the Providence community (students, teachers, and parents) join together in Christian fellowship and celebrate this festive and momentous day in church history.