The Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation is organizing an in-depth discussion and study of how Martin Luther’s ideas spread from Germany to Denmark and beyond. To provide a comprehensive presentation, SACHF, also known as the Scandinavian Center, is devoting two of its annual Nordic Spirit Symposiums to this history.

Scheduled for February 12 and 13 at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, the first symposium will focus on Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The second symposium, to occur in 2017, will concentrate on Sweden and Finland. “Power, Politics and Belief in Reformation Scandinavia” is the title of the two-part Nordic Spirit Symposium.


Rev. R. Guy Erwin, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will introduce the topic. Erwin, a former professor of California Lutheran University, is bishop of the ELCA’s Southwest California Synod. He is expected to talk about the beginnings of Martin Luther, who dramatically nailed 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in October 1517. Luther’s writings and sermons, which rejected certain practices and dogma of the Catholic Church, led to the development of Protestant churches.

Other Nordic Spirit Symposium speakers include religious leaders, professors, theologians and experts from England, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. Lectures will take place at California Lutheran University’s Samuelson Chapel. The program on Friday, Feb. 12 is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday’s hours are 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The cost depends on whether people attend all lectures both days and/or whether they choose to pay for meals and receptions. A “no frills” package of lectures only costs $60 for both days. Early registration deadline is January 20. Details are available from Howard Rockstad, director of the Nordic Spirit Symposium, who can be reached at or 805-497-3717. Rockstad serves on SACHF’s board of directors.

For more info about the 2016 and 2017 Nordic Spirit Symposiums, see Scandinavian Cultural and Historical Foundation:

California Lutheran University and SACHF collaborate on various educational events highlighting Scandinavia, with Scanfest being the most famous. Despite the popularity of the annual two-day medieval-style fair for the past 41 years, it will not be held in 2016. SACHF’s board of directors decided new leaders and volunteers are needed to maintain the spring festival’s high quality and to strengthen future programs.