Patience, Graciousness, Praise and more Patience

On the weekend of May 4-6, I was able to visit Philadelphia for the installation of Fisk's Op 150 in Christ Church. I am thankful to have had this experience. It taught me a great deal and made me anticipate even more the time when we will install and dedicate Op 153 here at Wesley. Christ Church is in the historic Old City of Philadelphia and is where George Washington worshipped. Due to careful design and artistic production, their elegant new organ looks as if it had always been in that balcony, as our Grace will appear to have always been in our sanctuary. Some of the sounds we will hear on Op. 153 will be similar to some of the sounds I heard on Op 150. Each organ is designed or each sanctuary's acoustics and each congregation's specific needs – but we can look forward to scrumptious foundation sounds, pure dancing flutes, and colorful reed stops, as I experienced in Philadelphia.

I was able to talk to the organist there about his satisfaction with that instrument; information we can use as we design ours. But his strongest advice was that I should come back and preach 'Patience' to our congregation. People are of course asking about our progress. Compared to other churches, Wesley is on the fast-track to getting an instrument designed and installed, but he cautioned it will only get harder to wait and watch as the process continues. In February the organ will be delivered and installed. Within the month it will LOOK almost done, but that is when the next stage of painstaking work begins. Each pipe must be voiced (precisely adjusted) to sound right in our sanctuary. That will go on for months. Fortunately, we will be able to hear bits of the organ as it progresses, but won't have a finished product until the Fall of 2019. During this time we will have workers of the Fisk shop with us. It is our chance to return the gracious hospitality that was showered on me as I visited Philly and on our committee when we visited the Fisk workshop in April.

I attended a Saturday recital, the Sunday morning worship, and a dedicatory choral service of Evensong. Two themes seemed to keep running through these worship services: We are One Body and Praise.

We are One Body.

In my travels, I was struck by how often our interconnectedness revealed itself. I was touched by the number of people who said they had shared our grief when they saw on the internet pictures of our sanctuary with the cross suspended over the rubble of our organ. I was surprised to find that my seatmate on the flight from Chicago to Philadelphia had graduated the year behind me from MHS. I am excited to look forward to a young man from the Fisk shop being with us to install our instrument whose uncle is Mark Mitchell, owner of Contrary Brewing Company. We are woven together in ways we may not realize, but I find comfort in the discovery of our connectedness.


Christ Church was happy to have fallen into Fisk's line up of contracts at such a time that their instrument became Opus 150. They related to Psalm 150. 'Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; ...with trumpet sound, ...lute and harp, ...tambourine and dance, ...strings and pipe,...clanging cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!' Op 150 will do just that and will enable the congregation to praise in new ways.

Psalm 153. Shoot – there is no Psalm 153 to go with our Op 153. We will need to write Psalm 153 since none exists, or better yet, be Psalm 153. How will we be Psalm 153? We will practice patience and gracious hospitality as we Praise our Creator who weaves us together into the Body of Christ.

-Sally Potter
Wesley's organist


  • Harry spring


    I'm sure the Risk will be a fine instrument of the highest quality but won't have many of the luscious sounds the former Casavant had. Personally I don't think the Fisk belongs in a Methodist church where music seems to have slipped into the "happy flappy" crapola. Hopefully yours has not fallen down into this pit of no return. I was raised in a large Methodist church, but no more. The Episcopalians have generally retained high quality liturgical music.

    • Sally Potter


      Hi Harry - There is no Risk in our choice of Fisk builders 🙂 Our committee fell in love with the luscious sounds of Op 123 at St Chrysostom's, Chicago and have found those luscious sounds on every Fisk we have visited since (many of them in Episcopal churches). I hope you will be able to visit Wesley after our new instrument is installed. Not to fear - you will find no "happy flappy" here!

  • Jeannette Mitchell


    Hi Sally,
    You may not remember me since I was at MHS only our senior year but I sang in the choir and you were an accompanist, right? I certainly remember your kind demeanor and musical talents. My brother is Mark Mitchell and my son is Alex Bourque, the Fisk employee you mentioned. Alex has both music and engineering degrees and found a perfect fit for his talents at Fisk. I'm so happy you traveled to Gloucester MA to visit the shop, I'm sure you'll return for the factory acceptance test - which is a grand open house for so many to enjoy the sounds and beauty of a new organ. Many in the Mitchell family, who have moved from Muscatine, plan to return for a reunion when Alex is on the installation crew at your church next year. Until we meet again!

  • Wesley United Methodist


    Hi Jeannette,
    Thanks for commenting. Sure I remember you! And I was very pleased to meet Alex. I think it must be a requirement that to work at Fisk you must be brilliant and exceedingly gracious. At least everyone I have met match that description. I am so looking forward to the installation next year. A reunion around the occasion is a great idea. See you then!


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