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Title: Meisisi Enkai! : claiming cultural identity in Maasai Christian worship in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa
Author: Strang, Fred Foy
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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This study seeks to answer the research question. To what extent and in what ways has the practice of Christian worship and the training of Maasai Christian worship leaders in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) taken into account the distinctives of Maasai culture? In order to answer this question, both library investigation of Maasai culture and Presbyterian history among them and field work research in the PCEA Olchoronyori, Injashat, and Ewuaso mission areas were undertaken. The study provides a background history of the PCEA from its Scottish Presbyterian roots beginnings at Kibwezi in 1891 through African denominational autonomy in 1956 and continued 20th century Presbyterian outreach efforts among the Maasai. Of special emphasis is the work of the historic Kikuyu mission station and its influence on Maasai people. This study also details Maasai culture in both historic and contemporary contexts as it relates to the topic of Christian worship and worship leader training. Extensive use of historic mission photography as well as current images provides primary source material. In addition, a field study was undertaken involving worship observations in thirty-five PCEA congregation in Kenya. At each church, administration of a survey instrument to ascertain attitudes toward worship practice took place. In many of the PCEA Maasai congregations in the study area, one finds western liturgy, hymnody, and formal clergy and worship leader practices. Photography from each site and interviews with the PCEA evangelist assigned to these churches assist in providing a convergence of resources showing the extent of western Presbyterian influence on Maasai Christian worship and the opportunities for and levels of Maasai worship leader training. At the conclusion of the field work endeavour, a focus group debriefing facilitated the clarifying of current issues in Maasai worship and worship leader development. By tracing the Presbyterian Church’s work with the Maasai people and analyzing the gathered data pertaining to the study area, this theses shows that Presbyterian work among the Maasai in the areas of worship and worship leader training has not adequately taken into account the cultural distinctives of the Maasai people. Furthermore, this inadequacy has led to friction, alienation, and the possibility of schism. As a reaction, some Maasai churches in the study area are now beginning to assert more demonstratively their unique cultural heritage by incorporating elements of Maasai expression into service of Christian worship. The study concludes that indigenous cultural models are providing new insight into Christian worship leader training and new emphasis for claiming cultural distinctives in Maasai Christian worship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available