How did a decision to pursue deaconess studies lead Sandra Rhein to become an international hymnal consultant?
“One of my classmates at the seminary was [the] Rev. Isaiah Obare, who is from Kenya. Through our friendship, I became interested in the Lutheran Church in Kenya and wrote a paper called ‘Toward a Theology of Mercy: Hymnody as Bodily Care to the Church in Kenya,’” Rhein explains. “Isaiah’s father, the Rev. Dr. Walter Obare, who was archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) at the time, had asked the LCMS for assistance in developing a hymnal. Bishop Obare asked if I would help, a request that I took to my professors at the seminary, and a hymnal project was developed, with me as coordinating editor.”
That hymnal, Ibada Takatifu (which means “Divine Service”), was completed in 2012 in the Swahili language. Rhein is now working on hymnals in Amharic, Mandarin Chinese and Indonesian, thanks to generous grants from the Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation.
To shepherd a new hymnal from conception to completion is no simple process. Want to know how Rhein does it? Visit Engage magazine and read the story at engage.lcms.org/hymnal-project-spring-2018.