It had long been a dream of First United Methodist Church of Hurst to have a pipe organ. More than 25 years ago, as plans were being formulated for the current sanctuary, the design included a much larger Casavant organ — complete with trumpets to be installed on the back wall of the balcony.
Finances made it necessary to reduce the size of the sanctuary and postpone the purchase of the organ, but the building committee had the foresight to move forward with the building of the chambers and shelves. The instrument that was purchased was primarily an electronic organ which digitally reproduced the sound of a pipe organ through speakers, though it had the capability of incorporating some ranks of pipes.
The journey began in earnest in 2007 with a dedicated committee of 12 church members along with then Senior Pastor Dr. Mike McKee, Rev. Greg Shapley, Minister of Music and Worship, and Organist and Artist-in-Residence, Dong-ill Shin. With the church’s tradition of excellence in music ministry and outstanding organists, the committee’s desire was primarily to enhance the worship experience, while offering a concert instrument for the greater community. The life of an electronic organ is typically 20 to 25 years, and as FUMC Hurst’s was purchased in 1988, it was time to think seriously about its replacement. Our committee made numerous trips to other churches to hear firsthand various styles and sounds to help establish what was right for our needs tonally, acoustically, architecturally, and spiritually. We explored various builders and selected Casavant Frères, located in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Founded in 1879, it is one of the best known and most respected pipe organ builders in the world.
Funds from generous donors have been growing steadily over the past five years, so with the blessing of the Administrative Board, the dream of a pipe organ became a reality — one which will serve First Hurst for generations to come.
I would like to express my appreciation to all those who contributed to this most important project, including the organ committee, staff, donors, volunteers, consultants, builders, various church committees, and most importantly, the congregants who provided prayers, inspiration, encouragement and support.
Organ Committee Chairperson