SAD FAREWELL TO CHURCH OR­GAN

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - RON­ALD ZA­JAC City hall re­porter Ron­ald Za­jac can be reached at Rza­[email protected]­media.com.

Rev. Lynn Dil­l­abough, rec­tor of St. Paul’s Angli­can Church, poses by re­main­ing pieces of the down­town church’s or­gan, which was re­moved ear­lier this week.

i am catholic, so this comes to me sec­ond-hand, but i am told there was a time, among angli­cans well back in the pre- st.lawrence days, when an old say­ing sug­gested one went to Trin­ity angli­can church for piety, st. Peter’s for so­ci­ety and st. Paul’s for va­ri­ety.

i also have it on good au­thor­ity that “va­ri­ety” was of­ten re­placed by “no­to­ri­ety.”

(oth­ers ar­gue that Trin­ity and st. Paul’s were in­ter­change­able in their qual­i­ties, but for the sake of ar­gu­ment, i’ll use this ver­sion.)

Times have cer­tainly changed. Trin­ity is now a hole in the ground on which an apart­ment build­ing is go­ing up, while st. Peter’s has be­come the amal­ga­mated angli­can Parish of st. lawrence, hav­ing taken in Trin­ity.

But plucky lit­tle st. Paul’s, which re­sisted amal­ga­ma­tion in 2007 and kept on its own way, is still big on va­ri­ety and/or no­to­ri­ety.

and while los­ing a part of the city’s sa­cred mu­sic her­itage may not be the best way to main­tain no­to­ri­ety, the small but ac­tive down­town church is do­ing it for rea­sons the lord would con­sider vir­tu­ous.

Work­ers and vol­un­teers this week re­moved most of what re­mained of st. Paul’s ven­er­a­ble or­gan, leav­ing only the pipes be­hind as a memo­rial, along with the keys, which are to be dis­played in plex­i­glas.

The job was sup­posed to last longer, but work­ers found there was not as much pure oak wood in need of preser­va­tion and re­pur­pos­ing as ini­tially thought, said st. Paul’s rec­tor rev. lynn dil­l­abough.

The church held an in­for­mal recital sun­day af­ter­noon, al­low­ing peo­ple to hear the or­gan one last time be­fore it was de­com­mis­sioned.

i had not, as of this writ­ing, re­ceived a de­fin­i­tive word on the aged in­stru­ment’s vin­tage, al­though it is be­lieved the or­gan has been there since the late 1800s.

it was, as is of­ten the case, in need of main­te­nance, but (again, as is of­ten the case) there was only so much money to go around.

The church coun­cil de­cided, at its most re­cent an­nual vestry meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2018, to let the or­gan go.

“it was unan­i­mous,” said dil­l­abough, ac­knowl­edg­ing it was also “very sad news.”

“We could have spent $100,000 to have it re­stored,” said dil­l­abough.

“But we just de­cided that’s not a good use of our money, that we should spend our money do­ing min­istry, help­ing the com­mu­nity .”

That min­istry is ex­ten­sive. it in­cludes a break­fast pro­gram at com­mon­wealth Pub­lic school, sup­port for loaves and Fishes and refugee sup­port, and that’s not an ex­haus­tive list.

st. Paul’s has about 300 mem­bers in its parish, av­er­ag­ing about 100 peo­ple for its two sun­day masses.

There will still be mu­sic at st. Paul’s, of course.

mem­bers plans to have a plat­form built in the spot where the or­gan stood to ac­com­mo­date its mu­si­cians and choir. on a reg­u­lar sun­day, the church fea­tures an elec­tric pi­ano and two gui­tars, while a trum­peter and flautist are brought in on spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

But the loss of an in­stru­ment as ma­jes­tic as the or­gan is a re­minder of the sad re­al­ity we most re­cently felt with the de­mo­li­tion of Trin­ity, the slow dis­ap­pear­ance of Brockville’s rich his­tory of wor­ship, or at least parts of it.

Wor­ship, how­ever, is only one as­pect of re­li­gion. an­other is min­istry, and the folks at st. Paul’s take that to mean a firm root­ed­ness in the present, us­ing present re­sources to meet present needs.

us­ing the money to keep the or­gan a part of the wor­ship would have been a “self­ish de­ci­sion,” said dil­l­abough.

“We’re here for other peo­ple; we’re not here for our­selves,” she said.

That doesn’t mean things are about to go flat on sun­days at st. Paul’s, she said, ad­ding it is known as a light-heated con­gre­ga­tion.

“We have a lot of fun,” said dil­l­abough.

RON­ALD ZA­JAC/THE RECORDER AND TIMES

RON­ALD ZA­JAC/THE RECORDER AND TIMES

Rev. Lynn Dil­l­abough, rec­tor of St. Paul's Angli­can Church, poses by the pipes of the church's or­gan, which will re­main in place.

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