Original Research

Prayers for the departed: A white elephant in the hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania

Kim S. Groop, Nehemia Moshi
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5162 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5162 | © 2019 Kim Stefan Groop | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 June 2018 | Published: 14 February 2019

About the author(s)

Kim S. Groop, Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology, Åbo Akademi University, Finland; and, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Nehemia Moshi, Faculty of Theology, Tumaini University Makumira, Tanzania; and, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The aim of this article is to study the general and contextual issues related to prayers for the departed with a focus on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). In 2012, the ELCT published a new hymnal, which included a number of prayers for those mourning their deceased friends and relatives, as well as prayers for the deceased individuals themselves. As a result of considerable criticism, this hymnal was replaced by a new edition in 2017, in which the prayers for the departed were omitted. The article further scrutinises the historical and theological aspects of praying for the departed in Lutheranism. It studies examples of prayers for the dead in Lutheran churches in two other countries, Finland and Sweden, and relates these to the situation in the ELCT.


Keywords

Lutheranism; Tanzania; Hymnal; Prayers for the departed

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