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Modern worship songs - actually whenever I come across them I want to run out of the Church screaming. And I doubt if many who sing them will ever be much interested in organs. Perhaps,26.msg9854/topicseen.html#msg9854 answers exactly that.

The trouble I perceive is that the modern literal interpretations lead to a worship of Jesus in his personage.

A trinitarian view is quite possible without worship of the person of Jesus. It's capable of interpreting "Who are my mother and my brothers?" and does not have to result in the worship of Jesus, Son of Man, as God.

For me, Jesus Christ Son of God is the one who hears his father's word and does it. In that is the trinity but the trinity does not require worship of Jesus as God, as the Creator.

The Creator, the eternal, invisible, everywhere and all powerful is an understanding in the image of our understanding, and in our capacity to understand, and through the communication of the idea, the spirit of the Creator we are able to progress the Creation at one with it and as Jesus taught.

I do not get on with the "Jesus loves you" mantra.

"Master Master I love you and I know that you love me so much that you will do my homework for me won't you?"

"No I won't" he said to the soldiers who all died 100 years ago in the First World War with bibles in their breast pockets.

For me and I believe for many contemplation of God is just a little bit more complicated, and rather deeper, than modern evangelistic arm waving worship songs might otherwise try to seduce me with.

And for that rather stick-in-the-mud reason I prefer an understanding of God accompanied by an organ than by the jingoism of the Jesus Cult which says that the God of Islam is not the God of Christianity.

The Creator is the Creator and is the Creator of all. The breath of life is that which gives life to all who breathe. For me the direction of modern Christianity has driven into a corner and left the mainstream in the middle of the room.

Best wishes

David P
I don't know if this organ has been reported before.
St Paul's Hockley Birmingham  - A lovely Conacher two Manual rebuilt by Hill Norman and Beard played by Thomas Trotter during the Mander town halll organ rebuild.
See for specification.
The church has gone happy Clappy !
The organ is in reasonable condition but needs a rebuild.

Church website

Hi David

I'm really not sure what you mean by this post.  Is the "Teacher" that you refer to Jesus?  Or is it a reference to St Paul?

Assuming tht it is Jesus, then basic trinitarian theology says firmly that God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit are one, so there's not too much of a problem.  Have you actually looked closely at the lyrics of some of the more recent worship songs?  I agree tht there's a lot of poor stuff about - just as there are poor hymns in pretty well every earlier hymnbook! But most is at least reasonably theologically based.  Have you taken  the trouble to look at the statements of faith of the Evangelical & Charistmatic groups that you seem to be criticising?  It's too easy to "knock" things that don't fit with your personal likes & dislikes - or that you don't fully understand.

Yes - there are problems in the 21st century church.  Nothin new there, and it goes far, far deeper than worhip styles.  One big problem that  I see is a reduction in Bible reading, both privately, and more significntly, during worship.  Too many churches have only one, or maybe two, short readings - and we wonder why  so many Christiians mis-understand their faith!

Enough now - I need to get ready for church

Every Blessing

I'm wondering if the drop-off of interest in organs, expressed in this forum and according to others in Organ groups on Facebook, and the lack of response to Martin Renshaw's call to action is indicative of something else.

When I was growing up, church services rarely touched on the Acts of the Apostles, and focussed more upon Jesus' teachings about God. It was murmured that the Acts of the Apostles were in some way troublesome and not talked about much. Likewise much of the Epistles.

Now wherever I look the Church seems to focus upon the Church and its supremacy and upon worship of its teacher, rather than upon worship of God.

To those not involved in Charismatic nor Evangelical movements I wonder if that is seen by most, and rejected, for what it is.

It is no surprise therefore that demand for organs in Churches in worship of God is declining with the passing of those generations whose focus was upon God rather than the Teacher.

Best wishes

David P

Looks to be a good idea - I hope some useful suggestions & proposals arise from the event.  Sadly, I'm unlikely to be able to attend.

Every Blessing

Unwanted organs – what is their future?

So for these reasons and many more, organs are increasingly finding themselves ‘unwanted’. Everyone ‘in the business’ knows about this but must the present decline continue ? Are the systems that exist to advise on organs, set up when organs were not only ‘wanted’ but seen as normal and good in themselves still really capable of protecting them in the new situation we are in ?

The second reason for calling a conference has been the experience of surveying over 800 medieval churches since 2012 for a research project under the general title of ‘soundsmedieval’. While doing this work, to look for – and find – the surviving physical infrastructure of extensive daily musical activity in medieval churches, we met many people who are responsible for their upkeep. They see their congregations diminish every year, but are determined to try to keep their churches open. We did see and hear some well-loved and cared-for organs, but we also saw instruments, some very good ones, that were not used, and we were often told that finding an organist had become a serious problem. It was clear that maintaining these instruments was a cost whose position in the order of priorities in overstretched budgets was slipping or even non-existent.

Meanwhile, the Church of England has commissioned a number of reports in recent years which show that in most places further decline seems to be inevitable. Last year the Department of Culture, Media and Sport launched an enquiry-review into the Sustainability of Churches. This asked if local communities - whether they attend their local Church of England church or not – might have a ‘responsibility’ for the preservation or upkeep of church buildings. It also asked for suggestions over what churches need to offer in order to be attractive as venues for wider events and ventures. The results of this review, which closed for submissions early this year, were originally supposed to be reported by the receiving committee before Easter, then by early July, but now are due to be revealed ‘in the autumn’. By all accounts, the DCMS was overwhelmed with ideas and reactions.

For organs, though, unless a well-thought- out new approach to the problem is found, the picture could be bleak. One recent suggestion has been to designate many rural churches as ‘festival churches’. This sounds good until you realise that this means they will not be used for worship more than a few times a year, just at major festivals or for funerals. No doubt many churches in small or remote communities may go that way, but it doesn’t need much imagination to see that organs in such places will deteriorate to the extent that they cannot be rescued at affordable cost. To ask an organ to perform perfectly after a long silence is obviously unreasonable, as it would also be to ask an organist to play an organ which might inevitably have become unreliable. If churches themselves become community assets, will the maintenace of organs be shouldered by the community as well, unless they see that it has a useful cultural or educational role ?

So a conference that will consider these things does seem like a necessary and timely idea.,2162.msg9849/

Contact : Martin Renshaw
email :
Theme :
Unwanted Organs - what is their future ?

Venue : St Stephen’s church, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, 5 minutes’ walk from
either Belsize Park Underground station (Northern Line, Edgware branch) or
from Hampstead Heath Overground station (Richmond-Stratford section)

Date : Saturday 23 September 2017, doors open at 10 a.m.

Aims of conference :

- To see what systems are currently in place in the various ‘exempt
denominations’ to safeguard organs, and how well these systems are

- To share good and bad experiences,
- and to see if, in the new era of Sustainability, organs can be better protected.

- To discuss how they might be maintained in playing condition
- and to see how they might be used more widely for cultural purposes and teaching.

- To explore what might be done with good organs that need to be moved – do they really have to go abroad ? What organs need to be kept in the UK ‘at all costs’, and what systems are in place to achieve this aim ?

Chair : Peter Burman

Special guest : Judith Weir

Composer-in- residence : David Loxley-Blount ; a new piece by him will be premièred

Organ players : Timothy Roberts, Paul Nicholson

Films about ‘unwanted organs’ specially made by James Dawson

There is no charge for the conference, but conference registration and tickets for the ‘Pipes and Strings’ concert will need to be booked via the link on the web-site. (See below for more details.)

Proposed programme for the day :

Open 10 am ;  tea & coffee

1st session starts at 10.30 with introductions from the Chair and Martin Renshaw. We then will hear up to 8 representatives, including those from the five English exempt denominations, the Churches ConservationTrust and the

Church Commissioners. They will speak about their advisory systems and their engagement with the safeguarding of organs for about 10 minutes each.

Lunch from 1 – 2.30 (sandwiches, soup, cake, fruit, tea/coffee) with live music and films, posters, power point shows etc

2nd session 2.30 – 4 : round-table and open discussion : Where do we go from here ?  How can systems be improved and will denominations work together ? What impact will there be from ‘sustainability’ issues?

4-4.30 : tea and entry of those coming just for the concert

4.30-6 : ‘Pipes and Strings’ : a concert to include music by Purcell and Bach, with organ concertos by Mozart, John Stanley, JohnWorgan and others, and the première of a new composition by David Loxley-Blount.

Organ player : Tim Roberts

String players : Conor James Gricmanis, James Orrell, Hatty Haynes and Bill Hunt

Organs : formerly unwanted organs of 1750, c1790 and 1829

The concert ticket will include a choice wine reception at 6 pm, the wine coming from places where English organs have gone to, or soft drinks.

Booking will need to be made through the soundsmedieval web-site for the conference (10 am to 4 pm) and concert (4 to 6). Please register in advance through this site, even though entry to the conference itself (10 am – 4 pm) is free. We are asking for a £10 donation on the day towards conference tea, coffee and lunch. Concert entry (and drinks) will be £10 if booked in advance through the web-site, or £12 on the door. Full-time student concert advance tickets are £8 ; the concert will be free for children who are 12 and under if accompanied by a responsible adult (maximum 2 children per adult).
Would the estate agent and vendor be aware of that restriction in the listing I wonder? Perhaps someone should inform them before it ends up in the skip!

Bargain indeed, though for a reason. As a listed building but with major structural problems it is only being sold to cash buyers with the means to effect the repairs necessary, and I should imagine that the cost of the building itself would be dwarfed by the cost of restoring it to its former glory. The present owner (himself a noted architect who worked on the conversion of part of Somerset House in London to become the Courtauld Institute in London) sold off much of the surrounding land a few years ago to build housing in an attempt to raise more money to save the manor house, but it sounds as though far more is still needed. And in selling off the surrounding land for a housing development, it has inevitably reduced its value further. Just being a listed building would put a lot of people off buying it (including those who might object to having a pipe organ in the attic!) due to the additional costs of having to do any changes sympathetically. 

Still, for the same money you could have a bedsit in central London and I know which I would rather have if I had the means to buy it!
What becomes interesting is that the instrument was part of the house at the time the house was listed and therefore should be part of the listing as Grade II*, the structural necessities of the instrument being part of the house.

What an absolute bargain for such an amazing house.

Best wishes

David P
The house is for sale, that is....and presumably the three manual Christie organ in the cinema in the attic (yes seriously!) would come with it. £350,000 for a semirural mansion this size looks like a bargain, though I can imagine you would need to spend several times that much to bring the house back to first class condition. And the organ has long been unplayable.

The Christie was installed by the present owner's father when he converted the attic into a paying cinema early in the 20th century. Amazingly I have actually managed to track down a recording of Firmstone senior playing at (scroll down to Eldon Firmstone). It was used to make radio broadcasts in World War II and is one of only two Christie organs to have been installed in private residences apparently.
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