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(Original Article published on November 7, 2011:

TORRINGTON, CONN (SZS) “The roots of the Reformation that began with Martin Luther’s 95 theses in 1517 are being remembered and watered already in the Luther Garden in Wittenberg, Germany. They are going to grow and thrive in the city as green monuments to the memory of 500 years of living Reformation to be commemorated in 2017.” These words were spoken in Wittenberg, Germany on the occasion of the planting of a tree in the Luthergarten by the Slovak Zion Synod on Reformation Day in 2011. The Luthergarten is an interactive monument of the Reformation and a sign of solidarity, connectivity and reconciliation of the many churches represented there.

While the original symbolic event occurred in Wittenberg, the Slovak Zion Synod, as one among those represented in the Luthergarten, was asked by the Luthergarten Project to follow in like manner and show our solidarity and connection to others by planting a ‘sister’ tree within our own church.

On September 15, 2013, Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek, on behalf of the Slovak Zion Synod, planted a sister tree to the one which presently stands, firmly rooted in Wittenberg, in Torrington, Connecticut, the location of the Synod Office. Shortly after worship, representatives of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Torrington gathered in front of the church building around a newly planted Pyrus calleryana, and dedicated the tree. Prayers were offered and Bishop Kucharek retold the story of our Synod’s tree planting near the birth site of the Reformation and the significance of these events.