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  • Fisk Organ and Ripley Chapel Project Update

    The Music & Worship Arts initiative has had a busy fall. Your Working Group has been making progress on the goals of restoring and maintaining our Fisk Organ and remaking Ripley Chapel into a flexible, but still sacred place for a wide variety of activities.

    On December 18th, after Worship, a Hearing was held to present information about the project in advance of an upcoming Special Congregational Meeting scheduled for January 8, 2017 after Worship. Two votes will be offered to the congregation at the meeting. One will formally authorize proceeding with the organ restoration. The other is intended to authorize the use of the gift from Jena Roy received by the church last May for the efforts of the Working Group (to be added to other gifts received for the purpose of Music & Worship Arts). The slides used during the hearing can be found here.

    Fisk Organ update

    The Fisk Organ Company is now ready to proceed with the restoration, beginning on February 13, 2017. The Working Group has signed a contract with Fisk but to proceed, an affirmative vote of the congregation is needed. The work will take up to six weeks and will be completed before Palm Sunday. The cost for this is budgeted at $130,000 with Fisk estimating a cost of $121,123 for their work; the rest of the budget is for electrical and incidental costs and a contingency of $5,000.

    The vote on January 8 includes a commitment from the congregation to raise funds to create a fund for the ongoing maintenance of the organ. It is estimated that an amount of at least $60,000 is needed to generate income to cover annual maintenance and periodic repairs.

    Ripley Chapel update

    Torrey Architecture is continuing their work on the Schematic Design for Ripley Chapel. A number of sessions with church members were held to provide ideas and goals for this work. Early in the new year the results of these designs will be available to the congregation and a process to make decisions on priorities for the final design will begin. Once that is complete we may choose to hire Torrey Architecture to prepare final design drawings (construction ready) and cost projections. This will answer the question of what funds will be required to make the renovations. Overall, the church will need to determine its capacity for fundraising and what other needs within the church may require raising funds as well.

    At the Hearing, an early drawing of the Chapel interior was shown (see the last slide). The design ideas illustrated included the lowering of the chancel to the same level (or close to) as the level of the nave floor, the replacement of the stained glass windows with clear glass, the mounting of the removed stained glass windows to light boxes to be located on the large blank wall on the left side of the nave. Please speak to any member of the Working Group if you would like a fuller explanation of these ideas.


    The hearing also presented information on available funds and there was a healthy discussion on questions and ideas about further fund raising. A total of $282,700 has been donated to the church’s newly created Music & Worship Arts fund; $100,000 of which was the initial gift from Jena Roy. These monies have allowed the Working Group to move forward on the organ restoration and the Schematic Design contract with Torrey Architecture.

    Jena’s gift was gratefully accepted by the church at its Annual Meeting on May 1, 2016. We voted to withhold spending from this gift until authorized by a vote of the congregation. At the January 8th Special Congregational Meeting a motion will be offered to release the funds to the management of the Working Group with the understanding that regular reports to the Leadership Team and the congregation will be made and that a final decision on Ripley Chapel will be made by a later congregational meeting.

    —Laurie Roby, Carolyn Plosky, Bruce Alexander (leader), Rev. Will Burhans, Rev. Judy Arnold, Jane Ring Frank