Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Hymnal Project

One of the reasons why the Kenyan Pastoral Conference was so important is Bishop Obare's desire to publish a new hymnal for the ELCK. Currently, they use a hymnal that is Tanzanian - in which the liturgy isn't bad, but the hymns are really not very good. Bishop Obare is desiring the creation of a solidly confessional hymnal for their church body to use for years to come - like LSB is for our church. So, the conference focused on worship, preaching, and catechesis, all with the goal of educating and working toward a good hymnal.

To help with this, there was another member in our group - which you've probably seen in some of the pictures - a deaconness student name Sandra Rhein.

She is not only being trained to be a deaconness and so learning theology, she is also a trained musician. Her presence not only helped us talk about good Lutheran hymnody, she also recorded and listened to how the Kenyans sang. And they are wonderful singers! Without any accompaniment, they sing in beautiful harmonies and are a joy to listen to. If this hymnal project can take advantage of their ability and inclination to sing like this, and incorporate it into the hymns and liturgy in an appropriate and reverent way - what a gift to the church that would be!

The second week in Kenya also saw the arrival of a good friend, Kantor Richard Resch, who presented about the history and theology of Christian hymnody.

The Kantor used a DVD resource entitled "Singing the Faith" (which is available here from CPH) and which I encourage you to either purchase or borrow! (Here is a review of the DVD written by Prof. Aadland of the Matongo Seminary.) This was a project of the Good Shepherd Institute from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, and will open your eyes to how rich and deep is the treasury of hymns with have as Lutherans, and how wonderful the theology that is sung in our churches each week.

All of these presentations were very well received and generated a lot of excitement among the pastors and seminarians, which was very good to see. Constantly battling bad theology can get a bit wearying, and it was good to encourage and lift the spirits of these brothers.

Tomorrow: Teaching the Evangelists.

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