Music has always been a vital part of authentic Christian worship. St. Paul exhorts Christians to speak to one another in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” and the first century Jewish historian Philo describes the Christian “all-night vigils of the great festival, the spiritual discipline in which they are spent, the hymns that we always recite, and how while one man sings in regular rhythm the others listen silently and join in the refrains of the hymn” (Eusebius, The History of the Church, 18:1). It appears the music of early Christian worship was similar to the plain chant used in synagogue worship, but as the Church developed its music blossomed and flourished as well.
Congregational singing is a demonstration of Christian community, and at St. Andrew’s our organist leads us in hymns and canticles found in the 1940 Hymnal. This hymnal contains a great number of wonderful selections, such as: O God Our Help in Ages Past, Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken, Just As I Am, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Rock of Ages, How Firm a Foundation, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Onward Christian Soldiers, and many more!
Music is essential throughout the Church year, but it has a particular ability to stir our hearts on Christmas Eve. On the eve of our Savior’s birth, we gather and celebrate with the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. This service uses select Bible readings, hymns, and Christmas carols to tell the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of redemption through the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus Christ. On Christmas Day, our Sunday school children have delighted the congregation by using hand bells to play Christmas carols and hymns!
Watch and listen as our Sunday School class, The Silver Bells perform their 2017 Christmas Presentation.
The Britson Organ
It is a three-manual digital instrument of 55 stops, built by the Johannus Company in the Netherlands, but designed for the American market by Britson Organworks of Sumner, WA. The Britson organ uses digital recordings (samples) of pipes made by distinguished American organ builders, which many American customers prefer over the European pipe recordings, used in standard Johannus organs. However, the European pipe samples are retained in the Britson organ as an alternative set of 55 stops that can be selected by a switch.