Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kenyan Hymnal Project

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya began in 1948 through the work of Swedish missionaries. Because the congregations were established largely by the laity, services consisted mostly of hymn-singing and preaching. Due to this, as well as the lack of worship resources, worship practice varies tremendously among the congregations. Some parishes use non-Lutheran hymnals because that is the only thing available to them.

Bishop Obare has identified the need for a hymnal as crucial to his church. A doctrinally sound hymnal would aid in catechesis as well as unify the church in her practice. Use of the lectionary would join their practice to that of the church at large.

Our Kenyan brothers and sisters cannot provide these books for themselves. They have few pastors, and many of the Christians struggle to provide food and clothing for their own families. Bishop Obare has requested the help of the Ft Wayne seminary in developing "a good Lutheran hymnal with a Kenyan (African) touch." My friend, Sandy Rhein, is working with men from the church in Kenya, with input from some seminary professors and kantors. The goal is to produce a hymnal by summer of 2012 which will contain:
  • one setting each of the Divine Service, Matins, and Vespers,
  • three-year lectionary
  • selected psalms
  • 300 hymns
  • in the Kiswahili language.

Donations may be sent to
Kenyan Hymnal Project
Concordia Theological Seminary
6600 N. Clinton
Fort Wayne IN 46825

Checks should be made out to the seminary, with "Kenyan Hymnal Project" in the memo line, as well as including a brief note clearly stating that the money is to be used for the Kenyan Hymnal Project.

If youth groups or Ladies' Aid Societies are looking for a way to help with the mission of the Church, this would be a great project to fund. This is one of those projects where a little money seems to go a long way. Maybe consider it as a use for a quarter's worth of Sunday School offerings. Or a memorial for a loved one.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Susan! My intention is to start a blog for the Kenyan Hymnal Project, so that those who are interested can follow the progress. Hopefully I'll get that going in August.

    Pastor Omolo, from Kenya, is at the seminary right now so he and I can work together for three weeks. He's been singing the Divine Service for me so I can write down their melodies. It's wonderful. Maybe with a blog I could show people how the Kyrie or Gloria in Excelsis sounds when the Lutherans in Kenya sing them!