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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Greer

Pipe Dreams Realized: St. John's Pipe Organ Project Moves Forward

Thanks to the artistry of Jim Ahrend, the St. John’s pipe organ is an integral part of our sanctuary worship services. Since it was installed, this instrument has beautifully accompanied choral and congregational singing, as well as providing a lovely vehicle for both our staff and guest organists through the years.


What you may not know is that the instrument is incomplete.


When the organ was built in 2006 (by the Reuter Organ Company in Lawrence, Kansas), the installation was about 2/3 of the size of the instrument that was designed for the space. Because of budget constraints, we went ahead with the project and hoped that one day we would be able to complete it.


A lot has happened in the interim. The price of materials and labor continued to rise, even as there were steady donations to the pipe organ fund. Then, in 2022, Reuter closed its factory after 105 years of building organs. While many folks continued to dream of completing the St. John’s organ, it did not seem likely.


Until this year.


Back in February, Jim Ahrend received word from organ builder and technician John Grunow that a church in Denver was looking to give away a substantial portion of their Reuter pipe organ. Also, a church in Albuquerque was considering selling off some of theirs. After investigating the prospects, and discussing the matter with our congregation’s trustees, we decided to claim the Denver pipes, and to enter into discussions with the local congregation. We are hopeful that all this will lead to the completion of the St. John’s pipe organ.


On April 18, a truckload of pipes arrived from Denver. A very enthusiastic crew spent a couple of hours unloading large crates full of beautiful pipework. They are now being stored in an unused stairwell, but hopefully not for long.


A committee of folks, including Jim Ahrend, Matt Greer, Carolyn Good, and Dick Perry, are working on this exciting next phase. Stay tuned for more information on the St. John’s pipe organ!


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