Thursday, January 25, 2018

Moderator Looks at the Year - And It is Good

Revelation 21:5 (ESV)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

As a new year dawns let us remember all the good that God has done for us and by us.  Remembering that God in his infinite wisdom has made us all in his image, we can all show by example how we reflect the light of Christ with Jesus at the forefront.

We courageously voted to be a sanctuary church to stand against injustice for demoralizing attempts to target immigrants for deportation risking their well-being.  We have completed renovations on an area to comfortably extend sanctuary to an individual in crisis.   Partnering with multi-faith churches and civic groups to aid us in this cause.

We initiated a Just-Peace Committee to discern whether CCU would consider being a Just Peace Church. The Sylvia Robinson Fund was enacted to give back 10% of our operating budget to mission and justice initiatives. The committee has agreed to pursue being a Just Peace Church and formulated a Just Peace Covenant to present to congregation for a vote.

Building committee has grappled with many areas of interest for renovations and has streamlined a renovation proposal to move us forward on restructuring our building to support our collective vision.

Hiring of Will Miller to fulfill new position as Director of Operations and Community Engagement has helped us to reorganize and update our processes in many areas.

Faith & Action Community Leader Position has been decided on to broaden our, faith formation of all God’s children of any age, ministry.  We bid farewell to Rev. Ruth Richards and cherish all that she gave to us in her time here as Minister of Christian Education and the Arts.

Minister of Music Janet Barry a full year of “New Things “and the introduction of Lowell Learns moving into our Music Church vision

We charge forward into this New Year welcoming the brilliance of God’s light to guide us forward courageous and awake to the truth.  We pray for a collective shift in conviction to the love of God for us and all that has been created.  Hold on to all that is good release what is burdensome and march towards justice.


Valerie Manning-Jones

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

It’s Back! And it’s Beautiful!

Maybe you’ve noticed – our fabulous EM Skinner organ is singing again! After some vital repair work was done last May, the organ stayed unused for many months as an electrical concern was being figured out. And although we are blessed with a quality piano, Voices, drums, guitar, a Hammond electric organ, and numerous guest musicians, it was still a sad thing for this unique and grand instrument to sit silent.

Here are a few facts about the organ that you may find interesting:

EM Skinner (Ernest Martin Skinner,) the designer and manufacturer of our organ, was one of the most successful and widely esteemed American pipe organ builders.

Our organ is an early and rare example of EM Skinner’s brilliance, and remains largely intact.

About 750 Skinner organs were built, but currently less than 100 survive in anything like their original condition.

Some famous Skinner organs exist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NY, and the Washington Cathedral.

Every organ has its own Opus number – ours is number 299, revealing that it was built in 1919.

Our organ has four Manuals! (keyboards), and full Pedals.

Our organ occupies many spaces in the church! It is the original Surround Sound!

The Console, with its keyboards, pedals and stop controls, is in the front to the left.

Above the console is the Left Chamber, housing pipes for one of the keyboards and the pedals.

Across from the console is the Right Chamber, housing pipes for two more of the keyboards.

In the back of the church is the Rear Gallery, which contains the Tower section of 292 working pipes.

In a closet in the hallway is the instrument’s electro-pneumatic switching

And in the basement is the newly rebuilt blower and power supply.

Altogether, the organ has thousands of pipes, several wind chests, and the ability to create music from a booming crescendo to a well supported singing accompaniment to a gentle whisper.

It is my great pleasure to have this instrument to play, and we are richly blessed to be the custodians of it, caring for it as we are best able, and weekly receiving the blessing of music from its complex orchestra! 

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