Lodge Life: Loyal Orders to rally for the Reformation

Promoting the Luther rally at Shamrock Park, Portadown, are (from left) Orange Order Deputy Grand Master, Harold Henning, Royal Black Sovereign Grand Master, Millar Farr, Orange Order Grand Master, Edward Stevenson, and Royal Black Grand Registrar, Billy Scott
Promoting the Luther rally at Shamrock Park, Portadown, are (from left) Orange Order Deputy Grand Master, Harold Henning, Royal Black Sovereign Grand Master, Millar Farr, Orange Order Grand Master, Edward Stevenson, and Royal Black Grand Registrar, Billy Scott

The Loyal Orders are preparing for a major rally next month to mark the anniversary of the Reformation.

On Saturday May 6, members of the Orange and Royal Black Institutions will step out in tandem as they participate in the flagship event of the Luther 500 project, hosted in Co Armagh.

The evening religious service at Shamrock Park in Portadown will be preceded by a procession through the town, commencing from Edenderry.

Representatives from the Apprentice Boys, Association of Loyal Orange Women of Ireland, Independent Orange Institution, Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter and Junior Association are also expected to be in attendance.

The rally comes ahead of the actual 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation later this year.

In October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ‘95 Theses’ on the castle door in Wittenberg in Germany – an act widely seen as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, which spread throughout Europe.

Last year, the Loyal Institutions produced a series of booklets and resources to help explain the events surrounding Luther and the Reformation.

The Portadown event is expected to underline the Christian witness project on a much larger scale.

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said: “We hope this event will be an impressive expression of our shared Christian ethos as we come together with members of the other Loyal Orders to collectively convey our faith, and remember and celebrate one of the most momentous events in history five centuries ago.

“For its part, the Orange Institution is proud to commemorate such an evangelical milestone through such gospel witness, and we very much look forward to partaking in the religious service at Shamrock Park.”

Sovereign Grand Master, Millar Farr, added: “The Royal Black Institution stands unapologetically for the truths of the Reformed Evangelical Protestant faith.

“In this decade of centenaries, and as a Protestant fraternity, we recognise the need to commemorate such an important evangelical landmark.

“I would encourage all of our members to make every effort to attend this iconic event to celebrate the Reformation.”

The parade is scheduled to leave Edenderry at 5.30pm. The subsequent rally at Shamrock Park is due to commence at 7.15pm.