Friday, August 14, 2009

The ELCK Hymnal Commission

This hymnal project started with Rev. Dr. Walter Obare, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Kenya. Bishop Obare is a leader with vision, energy, and determination. He has an amazing ability to see what needs to be done, find people who have the skills to do it, and inspire them.

What Bishop Obare saw as he traveled around his country was a Lutheran Church that needed a hymnal. The majority of parishes are in rural areas, with extremely limited access to any resources. They don’t own cars or have bookstores or Internet. If someone in the parish owns a songbook and is able to read music, this songbook may very well be the source of hymnody for the parish. A Lutheran hymnal would be a huge blessing help and blessing to these congregations.

A hymnal can help unify a church body in its worship practice by providing a setting for the Divine Service and Daily Offices.

It can unify by providing a common lectionary.

It can unify by giving the church a clearer self-image.

It can unify by encouraging worship in the same language. Although Swahili is an official language and is taught in the schools, vernacular languages are far more commonly used.

It can help unify the Kenyan Lutheran Church with the Lutheran Church worldwide.

Because we in the LC-MS recently completed the monumental task of a new hymnal, this is an excellent time for us to help develop a hymnal.

Because many of the leaders in the development of the LSB are on the faculty at CTS-FW, the seminary is in a unique position to give assistance.

The ELCK Hymnal Commission was appointed and officially begun by Bishop Obare on 29 January 2009, with five members. Four are Kenyan, and include professors from the seminary in Kenya and church musicians: Rev. Tom Omolo, Mr. Philip Auma, Mr. John Obaga, and Mr. Philip Ptiso. I am the fifth member.

Advisors to the Commission include Bishop Walter Obare and professors from the seminary in Fort Wayne: Dr. Timothy Quill, Dr. Paul Grime, and Kantor Richard Resch.

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