Augustine once referred to the liturgy as “only the scaffolding of the heavenly city for which we hope.” Whilst we are still en route this scaffolding is indeed with us. Scaffolding, like most things on earth, can be set up or build in a better or a worse way. WARG was formed in 2011 to reflect on the scaffolding many of us are building and climbing on week after week. The year 2012 was thus only the second year that this group existed, but already we have had a very fruitful year with regards to meetings and publications. In this newsletter we aim to provide a brief overview of our activities, present some new publications by group members (including students) and look ahead to some of the activities planned for 2013.


Firstly, there were three mini-conferences and at each one we hosted an international scholar, one from the USA, one from Europe and one from West Africa. The first meeting was on “Prophetic preaching” with Prof Nora Tisdale from Yale and Prof Hennie Pieterse from UP as the guest speakers. Here is a summary:
WARG Mini-Conference at the University of Pretoria, 13 April 2012 – PROPHETIC PREACHING


Prof. Leonora Tisdale, Yale Divinity School, USA: Prophetic preaching – a pastoral approach. Prof. Tisdale has made use of prophetic sermons of prominent preachers in the USA which she analyzed. The sermons are from different contexts, especially the struggle of black people in the US for equal opportunities. She has demonstrated that a pastoral approach is the best way not to offend the well-off listeners, but to help them to understand the Biblical message.

Prof. H.J.C. Pieterse, University of Pretoria: Prophetic preaching in contemporary South Africa. Prof. Pieterse provided a picture of poverty in the South Africa of today and has demonstrated the affluence of the political elite over against the growing hopelessness of the masses of poor people. Preachers need to preach prophetically on this issue learning from the tradition of prophetic preachers in South Africa, such as Desmond Tutu.


WARG Mini-Conference at the University of Pretoria, August 2012 – BRICOLAGE LITURGY

Prof. Dr. Marcel Barnard, who is professor in Practical Theology at the Protestant Theological University (Utrecht, The Netherlands) and professor of Liturgical Studies at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, presented a paper at the WARG meeting. The overarching theme for the meeting was a theoretical framework of Bricolage Liturgy. The morning started off with a discussion regarding particular liturgical practices happening at the regular worship services of the attendees. After the insightful discussion, Prof Marcel Barnard introduced the theory of Bricolage Liturgy with the philosophical notion of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Jacques Derrida. Barnard emphasised the a-centricity[1] of Bricolage liturgies that appear nowadays. Barnard concluded though that Jesus Christ will always be the reference point of Christian worship.

“Jesus Christ, then, is the point of departure for understanding the rituals of liturgy, without restricting a service to a set pattern.” (Barnard, 2008:14).


WARG Mini-Conference at the University of Pretoria, 30 October 2012 – PENTECOSTAL WORSHIP IN AFRICA


Dr Abamfo Atiemo, Head of the Department of Religion at the University of Ghana in Legon, Accra, was our special guest for this conference. After a public lecture at the Faculty of Theology the previous day on Human Rights and Religion in Ghana as well as preaching in the Dutch Reformed Church Waterkloof on the Sunday, he presented a paper at the WARG meeting entitled. EXALTING GOD, SEEING INTO THE SPIRIT, “SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE” AND A BIT OF ENTERTAINMENT: GHANAIAN PENTECOSTALISM AND LITURGICAL INNOVATION.

Dr Atiemo himself presented us with the following abstract.

          The advent of Pentecostalism in Ghana since the early half of the 20th Century has been accompanied by constant innovation in worship forms.  New worship elements, different from what existed in the older forms Christianity, were among the early markers of Pentecostal distinctiveness. Starting with the introduction of rhythmic clapping of hands, the use of drumming and dancing and practices such as speaking in tongues, prophecies, healing and exorcism, Ghanaian Pentecostal worship has come to be marked by a never-ending  tendency to  innovate.   This paper discusses this feature of Ghanaian Pentecostalism and analyses some of the current trends in this direction against the background of contemporary socio-cultural and economic developments of the country. It concludes that a combination of factors, including the influences of indigenous religious aspirations and attempts to respond to pressures brought on the society by the processes of globalisation are reflected in this tendency to innovate.

Dr Atiemo’s paper was thought provoking and a stimulating discussion followed. It is clear that much research is still needed to better comprehend the fastest growing worship tradition in the world today, namely Pentecostal and Charismatic worship. Hopefully more conferences in future can be organized along the same lines.


Looking ahead at 2013

We will DV be hosting more mini conferences during 2013 and members will be notified of all upcoming events. Anyone with interest in the subject we address and who wishes to become a member are welcome to contact our secretary Suzanne Kleynhans at to be included in our distribution list. We can here as an appetizer for next year mention that Prof Sally Brown, Professor of Preaching at Princeton Seminary, has accepted an invitation to visit us in 2013 and we will host several events around her visit. We conclude with a list of publications of group members during 2012 on the themes of liturgy and homiletics and other related topics and wish all members and readers of the newsletter a blessed Christmas.


Cas Wepener (Coordinator WARG)


List of publications in 2012 by group members

Barnard, M. & Wepener, C., 2012, ‘Reclaiming space for learning in liturgical contexts: Cracks in the maxim of the uselessness of liturgical ritual’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 68(2), Art. #1184, 8 pages. hts.v68i2.1184

Barnard, M; Mbaya, H. & C. Wepener. 2012. “Burning, Blessing and Burying. Social Capital Formation in Churches in South Africa”. in: Wilhelm Gräb / Lars Charbonnier (eds.): The impact of religion on social capital formation and social development in different cultural contexts. Entering the field in an international and interdisciplinary perspective. Berlin / Münster: LITVerlag.


Bartlett, A. et al. 2012. Woord en fees – Preekstudies en liturgiese voorstelle gebaseer op die kerklike jaar 2013. Bybelmedia.


Flynn, D.S. MTh (2012). Liturgiese kategese deur sportontwikkelingsprogramme: ‘n prakties-teologiese evaluering.


Kleynhans, S.C. MTh (2012). Sosiale kohesie en multikulturele eredienste: ‘n ritueel-liturgiese evaluasie.


Burger, P.  MDiv (2012). Die verryking van liturgie deur ervaringsleer : ‘n verkenning van moontlikhede


Janse van Rensburg, P.  MDiv (2012). ‘n Liturgiewetenskaplike evaluering van drie gesins-/familie-erediens modelle in die NG Kerk


Pieterse, H.J.C. 2012. “A grounded theory approach to the analysis of sermons on poverty: Congregational projects as social capital.” Verbum et Ecclesia 33(1), Art. #689, 7 pages. 689.


Pieterse, H.J.C. 2012. “Die noodsaak van die verrekening van metateoretiese aspekte rakende ‘n hermeneutiese benadering tot die Praktiese Teologie.” In die Skriflig 45(4), 719-737.


Pieterse, H.J.C. 2012.”Social analysis of the poverty situation in South Africa revisited.“ Theologia Viatorum. Journal of Theology and Religion in Africa 36(1): 1-22.


Swart, C. MDiv (2012)   Kuns as oorbrugging tussen liturgie en die alledaagse lewe.


Stander, N. MDiv (2012). ‘n Intergenerasionele liturgiese praxis model vir ‘n plattelandse NG Gemeente


Oberholzer, L.MDiv (2012). ‘n Prakties-teologiese verkenning van tafelgemeenskap by die huis en in die erediens.


Van Graan, B. MDiv (2012). Die Funksies van die Kerklied met spesifieke verwysing na Gemeentesang. ‘n Ritueel-liturgiese ondersoek.


Wepener, C.J. & B.A. Müller. 2012. “Water rituals as a source of (Christian) life in an African Independent Church: To be healed and (re)connected.” Studia Liturgica (forthcoming).


Wepener, C.J. & E.E. Meyer. 2012. “Liturgical inculturation as a missionary perspective: Ritual burning and slaughtering in an AIC and Leviticus and Numbers” Missionary Perspectives in the OT. Wellington: Bybelmedia, 69-79.


Wepener, C.J. & E.E. Meyer. 2012. “The liturgical inculturation of the priestly understanding of cleansing in the Corinthian Church of South Africa (AIC) with special emphasis on the book of Leviticus”. Religion & Theology 19, 3&4.


Wepener, C.J. 2012. “Gebed in die liturgie. ʼn Prakties-teologiese verkenning”. Acta Theologica 32/1, 189-209.


Wepener, C.J. 2012. “Reflections on Recent Developments in Liturgical Studies in the Light of Experiences from the Research Field and the Lecture Room”. Journal of Theology in South Africa Vol 144, 109-125.


Wepener, C.J. 2012. “Ritual route markers for reconciliation: Insights from a South African exploration.” Theologia Viatorum 36/2.


Wepener, C.J., 2012, ‘Wat maak ‘n kerkorrel gereformeerd? ‘n Verkenning van Afrikaanse ‘gereformeerde’ musiek in die jare 1980 en 1990 in Suid-Afrika’, Verbum et Ecclesia 33(1), Art. #709, 8 pages.

The above is not an exhaustive list of publications of group members, but it provides an overview of themes and approaches to the subject.


Presenting a new ecumenical worship resource

This is the second volume of Word and Worship and it presents Liturgical and Preaching material for every Sunday and major Feast Day of the Church Year starting on Advent Sunday 2012. The Lectionary used for this material is the Revised Common Lectionary for Year C, the Year of Luke and John. 

          The material has been developed by a team of preachers representing a range of denominations and traditions within the church in Southern Africa. They are men and women who are actively leading worship and preaching week by week in local congregations and bring that kind of immediacy to their writing. The varied communities within which they work ensure that Word and Worship provides a resource that will reflect upon the diversity of situations within which we proclaim good news for this generation. 

           It is in that spirit that we offer this publication to the churches at this time, and we would welcome any responses that might make the material more accessible and more helpful to those who are seeking to proclaim good news to Southern Africa.
For more information contact


[1] The notion that there is no longer any normative structure or content.

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