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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Swahili brings me home'

New York City congregation connects with its African neighbors through Swahili worship

Their spontaneous, joyous notes heralded Swahili as a worship language in the ELCA once again. The preacher finally arrived and the rest of the service unfolded, as planned, in Swahili — spoken by some 50 million people in Kenya, Tanzania and other nations of East Africa.

With Swahili, the ELCA claims 34 languages other than English in which congregations worship regularly.

The service delighted and touched deeply the hearts of the many Africans who live around New York City. "Worshiping in Swahili brings me back home," says Perucy Butiku, a Tanzanian who serves as a lay minister at Our Saviour.


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