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Loyal Orders to rally for the Reformation

Sir Knights are being encouraged to join with representatives of the other Loyal Orders for a major rally to mark the anniversary of the Reformation.

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

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

As well as the Royal Black Institution and Grand Orange Lodge, representatives from the Apprentice Boys, Women’s Association, Independent Orange Institution, Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter and Junior Association are 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 Royal Black and Orange 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. 

Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr predicted the Luther rally would be a public manifestation of the Christian message and values promoted by the Loyal Orders.

He said: “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.”

He added: “I look forward to your support in making this an event which will bring credit, not just to our Institutions, but to the cause we serve together.”

Only County, District and equivalent bannerettes are to be carried on parade – however if a Preceptory has a banner or bannerette which either portrays Luther or depicts an event from Luther’s life, they are encouraged to carry it in the procession.

Members are free to choose which regalia they wear in the procession, but the Loyal Orders are recommending participants wear the regalia of the Institution in which they hold the highest office.

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