Why a Pipe Organ? Why Now?
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church has been presented with a unique opportunity. What shall we choose to do? The Pipe Organ Committee, created at the request of the clergy and Vestry, has been charged with presenting information to the church membership and to seek membership’s interest in this endeavor.
This brochure is intended to share the knowledge that the committee has learned so that the entire congregation can be on the same page.
Here’s where we are today
Pipe organs in churches have a long history of enhancing the spiritual experiences of churchgoers. If you have ever experienced pipe organ music in a church setting, you know how much better is the quality of sound and feeling it creates as opposed to the music we currently experience from our electronic synthesizer.When St. Patrick’s was first in the design phase, there was discussion about the benefits of the eventual installation of a pipe organ, because it was understood that one of the important features of a church that attracts people is its music, in addition to the liturgy and The Word. It appears that there is a space that can accommodate a pipe organ.
Most of you are aware that over a year ago, the Vestry decided to act when it learned through a local organ builder that a set of used organ pipes was available from a Methodist Church in Moundsville, West Virginia. From a $10,000 gift by an anonymous donor, $5,000 was used to secure an option to purchase the pipes, which are in pristine condition. They were disassembled and transported to Columbus where they are stored at Peebles and Herzog, specialists in building and repairing pipe organs.
However, the Vestry must soon decide if we will use the pipes or not. If we delay the decision into 2019, the cost of the overall project will increase. Eventually, by agreement, the company will take possession of the pipes and can dispose of them in other ways. Consequently, action should be taken soon to determine if we can move forward on this project. If the church decides to not proceed with the organ project, we have no continuing liability with the pipes.
In the beginning, this entire project was sparked by another anonymous donor who, without being solicited, offered St. Patrick’s $250,000 of matching money to make a pipe organ a reality. This matching money cannot be used for anything other than the purchase and installation of a pipe organ. We can take full advantage of this donation if the parish can raise $250,000 to reach the anticipated cost of $500,000 for the creation of an organ keyboard console and the installation of the pipes and related expenses. How shall we proceed?
Benefits and Opportunities
The electronic organ that we use today will not last forever. Organs of this type wear out in 15 to 20 years. In a few years, it will need to be replaced at a projected cost of $48,000 to $50,000. On the other hand, a well maintained pipe organ will last, according to some estimates, 100 years. A brand new organ and pipes, built from the ground up, would cost between $800,000 and $1,000,000. Consequently, we would be avoiding some significant costs with the proposal at hand. And please keep in mind that other music forms used at St. Patrick’s would not go away with the installation of a pipe organ. If you like contemporary music at 5:30, it will still be there. The handbell choir will still practice and perform, as will the choir. However, a pipe organ would enhance the worship experience almost beyond measure, and would also create opportunities in music ministry and community outreach. How so?
A pipe organ would make St. Patrick’s more attractive as a worship and sacred music destination. The talents of our music director would be showcased with a pipe organ, and we could attract other organists who would want to come to St. Patrick’s to play. Imagine organ concerts where we attract talent from area churches and universities, and where we could raise money for outreach into the community, like Habitat for Humanity, mission work, Dublin Food Pantry, and so much more. Many other area churches with pipe organs see their organs as significant assets and feature their instruments in concert. We are missing that opportunity, and as a prominent church in the diocese, we can do even better. With an enhanced music program, we would attract more visitors and potential new church members.
Thank you for your attention, and if you should have questions, please contact any Pipe Organ Committee Member.
The Pipe Organ Committee of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church
Steve Pearson, Chairperson