On June 29, 2003, First Presbyterian Church dedicated a 42 rank pipe organ constructed by Bunn=Minnick Company
of Columbus, Ohio. That was the culmination of a dream that stretched back into
the late 1960s when we began contemplating the move from Walnut Street to Garfield Avenue. The dream continued with the building of the new sanctuary when, through
the generosity of the Flax family, space was provided for the eventual
installation of pipes. In 1999 an organ committee was formed to investigate
the possibilities of obtaining a pipe organ for the church.
The Organ Committee toured the
Bunn=Minnick Company factory in Columbus and endorsed the decision to contract
with them to construct a pipe organ for our sanctuary. A suitable organ for
rebuilding was found in a Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
and a stalwart crew from the church and Bunn=Minnick traveled there and brought
the instrument back to London where it was stored on the second floor of
Dwyer’s Hardware. Meanwhile we discovered the old London Presbyterian pipe
organ from 1901 and its then owner, Bob Groff, donated that instrument to us.
With these two instruments as the base, Bunn=Minnick Company constructed our
new pipe organ.
This project is the result of a
community effort of members and friends of London First Presbyterian Church.
Special mention must be made of the work of Larry Taylor in supervising the
construction of the infrastructure in the sanctuary. His crew of workers
transformed the front of the church so that when the pipes were installed they
appeared to have always been there. And the pipe organ could not have become a
reality without the support of many people whose gifts and memorials have been
the backbone of the pipe organ project.
The organ represents the genius
of thirty individuals who together, under the leadership of Robert W. Bunn, Jr.
and Philip D. Minnick, have created not only a musical instrument but a work of
art. The list of technical detail of the organ goes a long way toward
explaining why this instrument is remarkable. But the organ is more than a
collection of well coordinated parts. The organ is an important means for
helping us worship God and spread the Gospel. It is when the music is heard,
in a church service or concert, that we at First Presbyterian Church know how
truly blessed we are to have this pipe organ.
The first recital on the pipe
organ was presented on Sunday, September 28, 2003 by Paul E. Shellhammer III.
Sandra Ballard, Sylvia Blayney, Craig Chadwell, John Gorman, Phil Hankins, Dave
Hume, Dave Ridenour, James Shaw, Christine Yost