This morning I had the pleasure of playing the organ and helping to lead the worship in St Dorothea’s Parish Church, Gilnahirk. It was rather unexpected to receive a text message late yesterday afternoon from Fr Nigel Kirkpatrick, the Rector, enquiring whether I was in Belfast. Such an enquiry on a Saturday from a cleric to an organist usually means one thing: I need an organist. On this occasion it was no different: their regular organist, Andrew Smyth, was unwell and I was being drafted in to sub for him.
The organ was built by Wells-Kennedy in 1977 and restored in the last couple of years. The over £6,000 that they have spent on the organ is well worth it, as it was really difficult to play effectively in the past. Such a change has been brought about.
This morning the hymns we sang were from the Church Hymnal,
363 O Lord of heaven
Almsgiving 888 4
682 All Created Things
Kum ba yah 77 77
490 The Spirit lives to set us free
Walk in the light
576 I heard the voice of Jesus say
Kingsfold 86 86 D (DCM)
361 Now thank we all our God
Nun danket 67 67 66 66
Three of the hymns were played on the piano instead of the organ, Jubilate, The Spirit lives to set us free, and I heard the voice of Jesus say.
We had some amusing moments… Fr Kirkpatrick nearly skipped the Psalm, and I turned round and said,
Father, I think you mean the Psalm.
Then at the end of the fifth hymn, the chorus was repeated… the congregation seemed to catch on a little ahead of the choir–Well Done.
On a serious note, it was great to be playing in a church where the congregation joins in and sings heartily, lead by the choir. It is obvious that Andrew has done great work in building up the choir and leading the musical elements of their Sunday worship. If you need a substitute in the future, I’ll gladly do it for you!