9 June, 2023

Church Organs/Organists Featured in Newspapers (Plus News Briefs)

by | 15 April, 2020 | 0 comments

Compiled by Jim Nieman and Chris Moon

Church organs and organists recently were featured in articles in Kentucky and Ohio newspapers.

The organ at Calhoun (Ky.) Christian Church survived a flood in 1937, a near-disastrous move to a new building in 1998, and transitions from hand-pumping to water-pumping to an electrical pump over the past 100-plus years. The McLean County News detailed the organ’s rich history in a story from March.

Since 1905, only five women have played the organ regularly. The present organist is Judy Rightmyer, an octogenarian. Rightmyer’s grandfather used to hand-pump the organ and sing bass in the church choir.

A story in the Marietta (Ohio) Times noted that church organists are becoming rarer.

“A survey by the American Guild of Organists notes 58 percent of members surveyed reported serving 31 or more years as organist at a religious organization, and most of the members were in their mid-50s to mid-70s,” the story said.

The article profiled several area churches that still feature organ music, including Lowell (Ohio) Christian Church, where Jennie Farnsworth has been organist for 35 to 40 years.

“We’ve tried canned music when Jennie wasn’t here, but it just wasn’t as good as her playing,” longtime church member Sheila Tilton told the Times. “The timing and everything was off from what we were used to with the song books.”

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News Briefs

Several Christian colleges have rescheduled their spring commencement ceremonies due to COVID-19:

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First Church in Owasso, Okla., surprised a single mother of four—recently furloughed from her job—with a donated car. Sarahi Guzman has four daughters under the age of 6. She was given a 2011 Dodge Journey filled with groceries and other supplies.

“She was totally surprised,” pastor Chad Broaddus told the Owasso Reporter. “Seeing the tears in her eyes, hearing the joy in her voice at the same time, it was just amazing.”

Guzman attends First Church’s Stone Canyon campus. The church sought to help Guzman after first making contact with her during a holiday food drive last year.

The church raised the money for the vehicle through its “dollar drive.” Congregants regularly give an extra dollar through their offerings for a special cause.

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Downey First Christian Church in California has seen a large spike in weekly food bank clients since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. FoodHelp saw the increase immediately after California’s stay-at-home order was put in place last month.

The previous record number of families helped by the food bank on a Saturday was 153. That jumped to 178, and then to 180, and then all the way to 242. The food bank made some procedural changes and has managed to stay open, the Downey Patriot reported.

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Ozark Christian College president Matt Proctor‘s lunchtime Facebook devotion this past Friday featured an NFL Hall of Famer. The week 3 installment of “How to Hang Tough in Hard Times” included a segment taped by Mike Singletary, the heart of the defense for the Super Bowl XX champion Chicago Bears, known as the “Monsters of the Midway.”

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Oceanpointe Christian Church, Middletown, R.I., organized parades in appreciation of healthcare workers during shift changes outside Newport Hospital and Grand Islander, a healthcare center, last week. NewportRI.com featured photos from the parade, as did OCC’s Facebook page. A few days later, the church had five identical drive-in Easter worship services at Newport YMCA.

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CMF International offers three options for gift-giving that could make a profound difference during the COVID-19 pandemic. The options include the Global Relief Fund (where “your gifts will go where needed most, in communities where CMF missionaries already serve”), the MOHI Fund, and the India Fund.

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Manhattan Christian College‘s annual Vision 360 event will be broadcast via Facebook Live at 6 p.m. this Friday. President Kevin Ingram will present an update about the college.

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Dr. Gary Selby, professor of ministerial formation at Milligan College, wrote a piece for Christianity Today on what C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape might say to us in the time of COVID-19.

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IDES has been active in the fight against COVID-19 by helping to provide medical masks through the organization’s partners in China and partnering stateside with local churches to help supply their food pantries. The emergency service organization continues to review requests for aid from multiple countries (including the United States). Contributions are accepted at IDES.org.

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Northview Christian was among seven churches comprising the Coldwater (Mich.) Area Ministerial Alliance to participate in a Sunday morning Easter service at the Capri Drive In. Law enforcement officials conferred before allowing the event, according to the Daily Reporter. The local sheriff and his wife attended.

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Renew.org‘s regional gathering scheduled for Phoenix has been moved online. The theme for the event—schedule for 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (CDT)—is “Upholding the Teachings of Jesus Today.” Cost is $39. Speakers will include Bobby Harrington, David Young, Julie Bryant, Guy Hammond, and Mark Moore.

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WDRB and the Louisville Courier-Journal carried Southeast Christian Church‘s Easter service this past weekend. The service—featuring Kyle Idleman‘s sermon “Reverse the Curse: Graves into Gardens,” performances by a “Zoom choir,” and special guest Lee Strobel—is still available on the media outlets’ websites.

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