New Hymnal for our African Partners
Sorry about the picture from my computer through my camera – still learning. 
One of the great honors of my life was preaching at the dedication of the Uhuru Highway Church in Nairobi to be the cathedral for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya.  I got the “goose bumps” standing outside the church and singing “A Mighty Fortress” in Kswahili.  At that time the standard hymnal for the ELCK was Mwimbieni Bwana or “Let us sing unto the Lord”.  My friend John Halake was visiting this week and we discussed the new hymnal project and John gave me these insights.

Archbishop Walter Obare understands that a hymnal would help unify the church in its worship practice as well as unifying it with the church at large, and give the church a clearer identity. Hymnals are that important to a church body. While resources in Kenya are limited, a close relationship exists between the ELCK and the LCMS; thus Bishop Obare approached the LCMS in 2008 for assistance in the production of its first official hymnal. Dr. Kieschnick, LCMS president at that time, gave his blessing on the work, and six Concordia Theological Seminary faculty who had significant roles in producing Lutheran Service Book were encouraged to lend their expertise to this important work. Deaconess Sandra Rhein was appointed as Coordinating Editor. A Kenyan Hymnal Commission was established, and work has been underway since then.

 This first official hymnal of the ELCK has been named Ibada Takatifu(Divine Service). It will have approximately 350 pages with services for Holy Communion, Matins, Vespers, and Daily Prayer; Rites for Baptism, Funeral, Marriage, and Confirmation; Luther’s Small Catechism and the three-year lectionary, and 19 Introit Psalms with Antiphons. We hope to be ready to publish this book by February 2012, with a first copy run of 20,000 books.