Reformation 505

May 31, 2023 - June 11, 2023
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Journey Overview

Your experience in Oberammergau promises to become a treasured memory. Around the Passion Play, we have created an inspiring intellectual, spiritual, and cultural journey.

Join us in in June when strawberries are in season, flowers are in full bloom, and the warm summer air seems to enhance the taste of Thüringen cuisine and the refreshment of Lutheran Tea. Your journey will offer you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful German landscape from mountains to rolling farmland. Our daily adventures will take us to destinations of compelling historical, religious and cultural, significance.

Your Host for Our Journey

Our host for Reformation 505 will be Pastor James Thomas. Following his love for travel and spiritual engagement, Pastor Thomas has led numerous tours to Israel during his ministry. The opportunity to witness the world renown Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany with you will be very special as part of this once in a lifetime journey to explore what living 500 years after the Reformation in Germany means for us today. Pastor Thomas is truly excited to be your host!

Pastor James Thomas and his family are delighted to serve the Lord at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in St. Charles, MO. Pastor Thomas was born in Davenport, Iowa, but is a native of St. Louis at heart. He and his wife Melissa met in 1999 and were married at Ascension Lutheran in south St. Louis in 2001.  They now enjoy the blessing of three amazing children: Mia, Ethan, and Matthew.

Before entering seminary, James worked 15 years (1996-2010) for the wholesale mortgage industry in St. Louis, specializing in FHA and VA residential lending.  Pastor Thomas also served as a marketing representative for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in Midtown, St. Louis (1994-1996) a job that helped the symphony gain greater exposure and provided him much enjoyment.

In addition to his role as pastor, James also serves as a Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard Reserves, managing a Disaster Area Response Team whose primary mission includes Law Enforcement and Search/Rescue operations, which are critical during floods and other natural disasters.

James completed his M. Div. from Concordia Seminary, St Louis in 2015, his B.S. in Communications Management at Washington University in St. Louis and a 1993 graduate of Lutheran High South, in St. Louis, MO.

Day 1 – Wheels up!
Monday, May 30, 2022

Reformation 505 fellow travelers depart from Chicago on an overnight flight to Germany.

Day 2 – Weimar, Herzlich Willkommen!
Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Upon our arrival in Germany, we will travel to our beautiful four-star hotel where we will have time to unpack, relax, or maybe even explore a bit before we gather for our spectacular welcome dinner. D

Day 3 – A Truly Medieval Experience
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Erfurt was situated at the economic crossroads of the medieval world, and today, is a thriving city. We will visit the Augustinian monastery where Martin Luther lived as a monk in the in the early sixteenth century. After our tour of the monastery, our exploration of this fascinating town will include some shopping on the famous Merchant’s Bridge which is the oldest inhabited bridge north of the Alps. B, D

Day 4 – The Reformation in Global Perspective
Thursday, June 2, 2022

We will enjoy a beautiful ride to Coburg where we will enjoy a fascinating tour of the Veste Coburg. This wonderfully preserved castle houses some fascinating reformation era artifacts as well as an amazing art collection including works by Lucas Cranach the Elder. We will return to Weimar in time to relax before dinner. B,D

Day 5 – A Mighty Fortress
Friday, June 3, 2022

In Eisenach, the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, we will visit the Bachhaus Museum and Wartburg Castle. For 1,000 years, the Wartburg Castle has provided the setting for understanding critical intersections of German history. Living in exile disguised as a knight, Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German while living here. B, D

Day 6 - The Reformation at 505
Saturday, June 4, 2022

When we visit Wittenberg, the birth of the European age of Reformations will be 505 years old. We will visit sites and churches made famous by their association with Martin Luther and the Reformation. We will also look forward to hearing A Mighty Fortress is Our God played on an organ in a sixteenth century church as we experience worship. B, D

Day 7 - Never Forget
Sunday, June 5, 2022

Your encounter with this extraordinarily well-presented German testimony and commitment to “never forget” promises to be profound on our visit to K-Z Buchenwald. We will gather in the evening for dinner and conversation over all that engaged us in this penetrating experience. B, D

Day 8 – The Life and Death of Martin Luther
Monday, June 6, 2022

The Geburtshaus that commemorates the birthplace of Martin Luther and the Sterbehaus which commemorates his death will no doubt stimulate conversation on a range of topics about life past and present. B, D

Day 9 – Off to Oberammergau!
Monday, June 7, 2022

We say Auf Wiedersehen to Weimar today, but any feelings of sadness are sure to be swept away by the sights on our way to Oberammergau. We should have time to explore Oberammergau before we gather in the evening for dinner together as we anticipate the performance of the Passion Play the next day. B,D

Day 10 – 42nd Passionsspiele-Oberammerau
Tuesday, June 8, 2022

We will enjoy breakfast at our hotel on the day of the Passion Play performance. The play takes place in two parts with a three hour intermission. During intermission, your three course dinner will include a choice of two menus. This Passion Play is performed only once a decade; for most of us, this will be a once in a lifetime experience. B,D

Day 11 – Welcome to Munich!
Wednesday, June 9, 2022

Following breakfast at our wonderful hotel in Oberammergau, we will depart on our comfortable ride to magnificent Munich. We will have time to explore a bit or relax as needed before gathering for dinner to discuss all that we have seen and experienced, especially in Oberammergau. B,D

Day 12 – Ah, Munich, Prost!
Thursday, June 10, 2022

We will enjoy some sightseeing in the culturally rich city of Munich on what promises to be a fun day. We will gather for our farewell dinner at a famous Munich Beer Hall. B, D

Day 13 The Formal End to Our Journey Together
Friday, June 11, 2022

The memories, perhaps most especially the once in a lifetime experience of the Passion Play, will indeed last a lifetime. We hope your conversation, and therefore your journey, will continue with your new friends. Our journey concludes, formally, with the departure of our flight home.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included


The Passion Play was first performed as a thanksgiving to God for sparing the people of Oberammergau from the plague. Just the opportunity to attend this Passion Play with the experience of being welcomed by the people of Oberammergau should provide an inspiring experience and heighten your sense of purpose on this journey in a way that will be uniquely your own.

How can events and ideas that took place more than 500 years ago continue to exert such powerful influence today that millions of people around the world consider “Lutheran” to be an indelible part of their identity?

At the turn of the sixteenth century, breathtaking change created an increasingly complex world demanding of Europeans a reassessment of their place in the cosmos and God’s relationship to the natural world. Along this purposeful journey, we will visit sights of the European age of reformations as well as sights of events that continue to exert their influence on us today. At the heart of this journey will be the opportunity to witness the world renown Passion Play in Oberammergau. The purpose of this journey is to explore what living 500 years after the Reformation means for us today.

Our Philosophy

We hope you will measure the quality of your journey, not by the quantity of sights you see, but by the invaluable experiences you absorb.

Balance of stimulating experience, serious reflection… …and just plain fun.

One word describes our intention for your journey: balance. We believe each place we visit should relate to whole story, the arc of a narrative. We believe in creating journeys formed and shaped as narratives; journeys that are serious, purposeful, and fulfilling with time to reflect with fellow travelers or alone while providing opportunity for experiences that are just plain fun.

Expert interaction and rich personal encounters

Rather than a trip led by a tour guide trained to disseminate information from a script, we endeavor to seek experts to lead you on a journey who are available as a resource for as much depth as you desire or to leave you to your own reflection.

One beautiful base location

Too often, group travel can leave you feeling like you are part of a herd of a large group of strangers hustled from sight to sight, packing and unpacking everyday of your trip. With us you will stay in one beautiful base location that serves as a base for our excursions. Changing hotels as few times as possible during a journey allows greater opportunity to experience people and culture.

Meticulously planned; yet flexible journey

How does a trip become a journey? Carefully selected excursions that form a narrative, staying in one beautiful base location, with time and flexibility for reflection, and activities that are just plain fun.

Cuisine as a delectable complement to culture and conversation

Cuisine, and the wonderful dining experiences we share in an eclectic array of venues, provide a delectable complement to your rich encounters with the culture and the delightful conversation you enjoy with fellow travelers.


All journeys require the same basic arrangements in the operation of a journey. The specific format of this section will need to be determined. The concept here will be to create a page as a template that will apply, with changes of course, that includes the arrangements under headings such as:

Flight Information

As a fellow traveler, you will have the flexibility to choose how you will join your cohort to formally begin your journey. Purposeful Journeys marks the formal beginning of your journey with the welcome reception and dinner at our destination hotel. On most journeys, you will have three options to join your cohort. Below are the options for joining your cohort with the primary advantage for each option:

  1. Join Your Cohort on Our Group Flight: On most journeys, Purposeful Journeys will arrange a group flight from a major airport in closest proximity and convenience for the majority of the cohort. The group flight will include a transfer from the destination airport to the hotel.
    Advantage: This is often the most cost effective and certainly the most convenient option.
  2. Meet Your Cohort at the Destination Airport: For a number of reasons, you may want to choose a flight other than the group flight and still meet your cohort in time to transfer from the destination airport to the hotel. Fellow travelers who choose this option will incur an additional cost for the transfer from the destination airport to the destination hotel.
    Advantage: Fellow travelers may find a balance between the convenience of choosing their own flight from an origination airport other than the airport where the group flight will depart while still taking advantage of the group transfer to the destination hotel.
  3. Meet Your Cohort at the Destination Hotel: As a fellow traveler, you may want to choose to meet your cohort at the destination hotel in time for the formal beginning of your journey with the welcome reception and dinner.
    Advantage: This option offers fellow travelers the most flexibility. Fellow travelers will need to weigh the flexibility of this option with what will likely be additional costs.

Group flights will usually be announced between 90 and 180 days prior to departure of your purposeful journey. Fellow travelers will be kindly requested to choose the option for meeting their cohort to formally begin their journey soon after group flight arrangements are announced.

Hotel Accommodations

Arrangements have been made for fellow travelers at the following hotels: The Best Western Grand Premiere Russischer Hof in Weimar, a Category B hotel in Oberammergau to be determined by the administrators of the Passion Play, and a hotel to be determined in Munich.


Most meals are included in this purposeful journey. Dining in Europe tends to be as much of a leisurely event as a means of taking sustenance. Meals provide time for us to relax, taken in the culture, and discuss all that we have seen and experienced as fellow travelers that day. See the current, tentative itinerary for details.

Ground Transportation

Transfers to and from the arrival flight into and departing flight from Europe will be provided. Other ground transportation will be provided throughout the journey.

Sightseeing and Events

This purposeful journey includes a premium, two-night Oberammergau Passion Play Package. We will enjoy Category B hotel accommodations as determined by the Passion Play administrators and Category 1 Passion Play tickets.

Land Only Cost—$4,350 (Please be sure to check for current incentives!)

Current Incentives:
  • Deposits through December 31, 2021 are just $150. Your deposit will only become non-refundable with your first payment. Until then, you can cancel at any time.
  • NO PAYMENTS UNTIL 2022: Your first payment will not be due until January 2022.
  • Make payments by check instead of credit card and receive a discount of $150.
Your journey includes:
  • Taxes and airline surcharges
  • Deluxe coach transportation throughout your itinerary
  • Double occupancy hotel room ($750 single supplement)
  • Meals as specified in the final itinerary
  • Admission fees as specified in the final itinerary
  • Only goods, services, or activities as explicitly included in the General Terms and Conditions.
Your journey does not include:
  • Round trip airfare
  • Gratuities for service staff, coach driver(s) and guides
  • Alcoholic beverages, bottled water, after dinner drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Any goods, services, or activities expressly excluded in the General Terms and Conditions.
Remittance Schedule:
  • Deposit of $150 is due with your application.
  • You may cancel any time until your first payment is due.
  • Your deposit is fully refundable until your first payment is due.
  • Your first payment will be due in January 2022.
  • Payments due as specified in your remittance schedule.
  • Final payment must be received no later than the date specified on your invoice and remittance schedule.
When approved as a fellow traveler…

…you will receive an invoice and a remittance schedule from Malone Clan Expeditions, LLC along with a link to a password protected page on our website that will offer details and updates about your journey.

General Terms and Conditions

Malone Clan Expeditions, LLC will administer your journey. You must accept the General Terms and Conditions at the time you submit your application. Please refer to the General Terms and Conditions for any applicable additional fees that may apply in certain situations and circumstances such as any deviation from the group flight itinerary or your requirement of a single room.

We cordially invite you to apply to join us as a fellow traveler

Please complete the application form. You will be prompted to submit a payment deposit of $150 (regularly $300) with your application once your form is complete with all required fields. We are delighted you are taking the step of submitting your application to become a member of a journey with us. We look forward to notifying you of your acceptance as a fellow traveler.

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Travel Insurance

We now offer a new travel insurance benefit. You can now purchase a Cancel-For-Any-Reason travel insurance policy for about the cost of a Basic travel insurance policy. Learn more by clicking the link(s) below:

Our New Travel Insurance Benefit

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