Bishop of London Blesses New Church Organ
Thanksgiving service at St. Michael and All Angels
The Bishop of London, the Right Rev and Right Hon Richard Chartres, joined the parishioners and community of St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, in a service to bless and give thanks for the church’s new pipe organ on Thursday (Sept 26). The Service was the culmination of the five year project and £850,000 of fundraising to give the popular church a suitable organ for its extensive musical programme.
Pictured ( l to right) Jonathan Dods, Director of Music, at the Organ, Mthr. Melanie Marshal curate , at St Michaels, Bishop Chartres, (seated) Fr Kevin Morris, Vicar of St Michaels
The Choral Mass , which was attended by a large number of local people, included Langlais' Messe Solennelle and Tavener's God Is With Us, with singing led by St Michael & All Angels' choir.
"This is a very proud moment for us” said the Vicar, Fr Kevin Morris. “It's the culmination of five years' planning and fundraising, to replace our old organ with a magnificent new instrument that will enhance our worship and bring joy to our congregation and to concert audiences for many years to come.
"It has been a huge effort on the part of many people. The service gave us the chance to say thank you to them and we are delighted that the Lord Bishop of London blessed the organ and officiated at our Choral Mass of Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful occasion and we thank everyone who attended."
The organ was built in Switzerland by the specialist firm La Manufacture d'Orgues St Martin. It has 1,667 pipes, many of which have been sponsored by individuals and groups under the church's Pipe Up! appeal.
The whole project, which includes the building of two new Vestry rooms, has cost about £850,000 and the fundraising continues, with £170,000 more still to be raised.
St Michael’s needed a new instrument due to its growing congregation and more ambitious music at services and concerts. The previous Bryceson organ was in a poor state; the bellows had rotted, the wind chest and playing action were in bad shape and the pipework itself was of a poor quality. As well as replacing the instrument, the team at St Michael have also added an extra floor to the church vestry, creating two more parish rooms for community use, and brought the site of the organ to the level of the chancel floor, as it had been in the original Norman Shaw design.
St Michael and All Angels Church was designed by Norman Shaw, as the centrepiece of Bedford Park, the world's first garden suburb. The church is active in charity and fund-raising work, holding many social events through the year, reaching a peak in June with the annual Bedford Park Festival.
With about £170,000 left to raise, the church continues to fundraise for the project through an innovative programme of events and initiatives. Highlights have included Pipe Up! -in which donors can sponsor an organ pipe, from the largest to the smallest,- which has raised £100,000 so far, and a Hymnathon, where fundraisers sang every hymn in the New English Hymnal over 30 hours, raising £50,000. The project has also received money from charitable trusts, from proceeds of the annual Bedford Park Festival and Chiswick Book Festival, and from two fund-raising Balls.
Read more about how the organ was built and how the money is being raised at www.smaaa.org.uk.
September 27, 2013