The first time I sat down in this Sanctuary to play for this church was in September of 2012. I was brought in to play for a Hymn Festival. I was playing our former organ, which was not without its challenges, but I was so humbled and thrilled to be playing for such a prestigious church in Downtown Fort Worth. And now, five very special years later, I’m still delighted to be part of this great legacy of music ministry.
To have the unique opportunity to be your organist during the building, dedication, consecration, and weekly worship at the helm of our fabulous pipe organ is a blessing I never anticipated. I continue to be humbled with this opportunity, and as I think about all the others who have played here before me, it is a special thrill to be part of this legacy of the many special organists who have faithfully served here. Each and every one of our past organists holds a unique part of this rich history of our music ministry.
Organists get us through different phases in our lives — from Baptism, Third Grade Bible Presentation, Confirmation, Senior Recognition Sunday, Weddings, Funerals, Christmas, Easter, and all kinds of other services in between — the constancy and consistency of an organist is a fixture we depend on to always be there with a very special dedication to set the mood that carries us through each worship experience.
FUMCFW has had such a rich history of music that started in 1926 when our first organist, Will Foster, took the bench for a 16-year tenure. He was followed by Robert Clarke who played for us for the next 30 years. And the list goes on.
This Sunday, we will welcome to worship three of our living former organists who will actually play the organ and piano, and we will honor all of our former organists including those who have passed. This special celebration of our FUMCFW music ministry will also showcase the Anne S. and Henry B. Paup Sanctuary Pipe Organ as we honor the organists who served us with such dedication and commitment during their tenure here.
In thinking about this magnificent instrument we now have to inspire our worship, I think it’s so important to continue to celebrate this amazing gift to our congregation, each year in a different way. To be able this year to organize this event to highlight both our organ and the history and the legacy of our past organists will always hold a special place in my heart.
As an organist, I know the unique blessings and challenges of playing week to week, season to season, providing a tonal backdrop for the worship experience of our congregation. This experience, for most if not all organists, is an individual expression both of our commitment to glorifying God and our desire to serve as part of this ministry. The majority of these organists we’re honoring this Sunday have had no previous celebration such as this — and each has expressed to me how very grateful they are to be remembered in this way.
I hope you will join us in the Sanctuary this Sunday for this very special occasion. During the course of worship we’ll get to hear a few of them (plus our friend and Organ Builder Dan Garland!), and then we’ll honor them in the Garden with a special reception after the 11:00 am service, where Anne Paup will be presenting each organist with a special memento to honor their years of service and contributions to our church.