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May 14, 10:54 AM EDT

Lutherans mark 500th anniversary of Reformation in Namibia

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Thousands of members of the Lutheran church have gathered at a stadium in Namibia to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The commemoration occurred Sunday during an assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, which represents tens of millions of people around the world.

The stadium where the commemoration happened is in Katutura, an area of the Namibian capital of Windhoek where blacks were forced to relocate during white minority rule. Namibia became independent in 1990.

A sermon about hope and liberation was delivered at the stadium by Lutheran Zephania Kameeta, Namibia's minister of poverty eradication and social welfare.

The Protestant Reformation was initiated in 1517 by Martin Luther in response to what he said were excesses and abuses within the Catholic Church.

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