Thousands gathered Sunday at the Bismarck Event Center to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Organizers estimated at least 2,500 attended the worship service. "Especially for Lutherans, the Reformation is the beginning of our church," the Rev. Paul Schauer, of Sunne Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wilton, said before the event.

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 theses, or complaints, against the Roman Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This caused a schism in the church.

Luther was the first reformer to be aided by the printing press and his action resulted in major changes. 

Sunday’s service included a festival choir and musicians along with handbell choirs. There was a processional, hymns and a communion. The Rev. Mark Narum, Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, presided over the service.

For more photographs from the event, go to