This study is self-initiated and although the research is primarily motivated by the interest of the researcher, it is relevant in many respects. The rediscovery of the church year is one of the most remarkable aspects of the twentieth-century reform and renewal of Christian worship. This renewed interest has also been noted in the Dutch Reformed Church, especially in two decisions during 1998 and 2002, in connection with the church year and related lectionaries. In many publications it has been shown that the church year provides a frame of reference, not only with regard to the liturgy and preaching, but also to other communicative acts of the congregation in serving the gospel. A study of the available literature showed that a gap exists concerning the practice of the church year in the church, especially with regard to the preaching. Since the researcher is convinced that the church year can play a valuable role in the preaching of the church, the study was done by means of practical theological methodology by which the dynamic interaction between the theory and practice is studied. A scientific look is taken at the praxis regarding the church year in the preaching of the church by combining a literary approach with an approach by means of an empirical research, which leads to an adjusted theory for the praxis regarding the church year in the preaching of the church. The research problem is stated in chapter 1 and an explanation and formulation of the question under research, as well as the basic hypothesis of the study are stated: The partial malfunctioning regarding the practice of the church year in the preaching of preachers in the Dutch Reformed Church necessitates certain adaptations. The purpose and method of the study is given and the field of the study is demarcated. An explanation of the project design of the study is also given. In chapter 2 the scientific, practical theological and homiletical points of departure are stated together with reflection on insights of Pneumatological, practical-theological ecclesiological, anthropo-logical nature. The changing society and the challenges it poses to preaching is also reflected upon as part of creating a frame of reference for the research. In chapter 3 a theological basic theory for the church year in the preaching is developed. This part of the study, which includes a description and explication of the church year, also functions as a conceptual framework for the empirical part of the study. After the emphasis of the first three chapters on the hermeneutical activity of understanding, which was done through the study of available literature on the church year in order to get a grip on the topic and to formulate a theory, empirical research aimed at an adjusted theory for the praxis of the church year in the preaching of the church, was still needed. Thus, in chapter 4, an empirical investigation, conducted quantitatively, was undertaken. The information that was gathered, helped to understand and explain the praxis under investigation and the results confirmed the hypothesis of the study, namely that there are indeed problems with regard to the functioning of the church year in the preaching of the preachers in the Dutch Reformed Church. Areas in which problems exist was explicated. In chapter 5 the method and instruments which was used, is explained. Hermeneutical interaction takes place between the results of the empirical investigation and the results of the literary investigation. In the strategic component of the study, a new theory of praxis concerning the church year in the preaching as a communicative act of the church, is formulated as regulative activity which intends to change the existing praxis. At the end of the study, it is concluded that the church year can be of service and could be utilised in such a way that the service and activities of the church which is under-taken in accord and in interaction therewith, could be stimulated. Within a context of poverty and continuing change, the church year - if it is valued positively and if it is accentuated in the preaching - could lead to the celebration of God, Who He is, what He has done, is doing and are still going to do.
Thesis (PhD (Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2005.