The View From the Pulpit

Worship last Sunday held concerns for many All Souls members struggling with health concerns and personal losses, as well as concern for the violence unfolding in Israel and Gaza. There was a great deal to be held.

The extraordinary music from two musicians new to the church, as well as the All Souls Choir, helped the spirit move in the sanctuary.

We welcomed Dante Walker on piano. Dante is a student in the music department at Howard. He will be accompanying the All Souls Choir and, for his debut, offered a piano solo that ministered to the range of emotions in the sanctuary in beautiful ways. His playing deepened the pastoral spirit in the sanctuary.

Perhaps the more dramatic musical element in the service, however, was the sound of the organ. Mark David Buckles, guest organist from the Arlington Street Church in Boston, filled the sanctuary with power, richness and tenderness from the Reiger organ, the star above the organ spinning.

Organ music is not loved by everyone. “Will we have organ music every week now?” was a question I heard both from congregants with hopeful smiles and expressions of concern on their faces.

The answer is that the organ will be used only occasionally.

Most of you, I hope, are looking toward the pulpit and toward the folks around you in the pews most of the time in church. From the pulpit, I see the organ every week…including the one large pipe on the left front that bends out, damaged I think in the earthquake of 2011. The playing on Sunday was so strong that I could see that pipe bending even further out. We will need to have it pushed back before the instrument is played again. The image above was taken this week.

I also want to share an image of the rear of the sanctuary BEFORE this organ was installed. Some of you have told me of the time when the choir sang from that balcony at the rear of the sanctuary, rather than from the floor in front of the pulpit.

The Reiger organ was installed in 1969, during the ministry of Duncan Howlett, before David Eaton was called to the All Souls pulpit. Karl Halvorson was Director of Music

We get accustomed to the way things look and the way things sound in church. Even after my short time at All Souls, the “before” picture looks…unfinished, incomplete. How does it look to you?


Rev. Bill

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lydia

    Rev Bill, I love your reflections and history lessons. I also dearly love the organ, I was downstairs teaching RE and was very disappointed to learn that I had missed the organ. I have fond memories of its sound. I put in my vote for putting its repair on the priority list, followed by adding it to the regular music rotation. Take care, Lydia

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