The Kenyan Hymnal Project is an incredible labor of love just completed by Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS), Fort Wayne, Ind.
Discussions concerning the need of a hymnal for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) began in 2008 between ELCK Archbishop Walter Obare and Dr. Dean Wenthe, then CTS president. Together they appointed a hymnal commission with members from CTS and the ELCK with work beginning on the project in 2009. Now, just four years later, Ibada Takatifu(Divine Service) has rolled off the printing presses. The newly published hymnal was presented to the Rev. Tom Omolo, chairman of the hymnal commission and pastor in the ELCK, during the 2013 Symposia Series on January 24.
“It is absolutely amazing to have produced the book in just four years,” says Dr. Timothy Quill, dean of international studies at CTS and advisor to the hymnal commission. “The liturgy and hymnody in the new hymnal are works of beauty. When people hear it sung and prayed by the Kenyans they will say with wonderful certainty, ‘This worship is without question both Lutheran and Kenyan in nature.’”
“Ibada Takatifu contains 175 hymns with 30 of those hymns translated into Swahili for the first time. Other sections in the hymnal are rites for baptism, confirmation, marriage, and funerals, Luther’s Small Catechism, the one and three-year lectionaries and the church year calendar,” explains Deaconess Sandra Rhein, coordinating editor of the hymnal.
The hymnal was dedicated at the Lutheran Cathedral in Nairobi on February 1. There is still the final challenge of shipping the books from Mombasa to Nairobi and from there to the various dioceses and congregations at a cost of approximately $7,000. Donations can be made online atwww.ctsfw.edu/KenyaHymnalProject or sent to Concordia Theological Seminary, Kenyan Hymnal Project, 6600 N. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN 46825