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A Letter to the Parish from Fr. Rob, September 3, 2014
Thanks to the leadership and vision of a great many people, on Sunday we passed a milestone for our parish.
When I first arrived here people said over and over that they desired better music for St. Dunstan’s. This is not an easy thing to change, but the hand of God was involved. Two very special people came into our midst, first music director Carteena Robohm and then organist Steve Denmark, who have both poured their hearts and souls into our constantly growing music program ever since.
Back at around that time, I remember here and there people talking about a wish for a pipe organ, but it was usually framed as some sort of joke as it was clearly an impossible idea. (The most common version of this joke was that we would steal the organ from Church in the Forest.) However, at around this time, as Steve was starting to settle into St. Dunstan’s as his parish home, and in the midst of his own process of healing after a great tragedy, he had a vision of a fine instrument gracing our space that was very definitely not a joke. He searched for the right organ builder, and all green lights pointed to Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd. in Lake City, Iowa. On the plus side, they are now the top organ builders for tracker instruments available. On the negative side, they are not cheap.
All the while, our music program was growing and growing. As rector, I was seeing how the inspiring music people were coming to expect at St. Dunstan’s was elevating all else that we do (which makes sense, as worship is the heart of all we do!)
Many became inspired by this idea, and Mike Hendrickson, who was then still a relatively new parishioner, presented a plan to make this dream become a reality. He brought in Thrivent Financial to give us a means for raising the money from estate planning and a more gracious timeline by providing us a very reasonable bridge loan.
So today we have raised more than half of what is needed ($450,000 has been raised, and we have $300,000 still to go.) And with our financing in place, we have enough flexibility to be confident to move forward without risk of cutting into our operating budget. We arranged for Dobson to put us on their build schedule with a price for the instrument locked in to not fluctuate beyond basic inflation until making our agreement official. September 1st was the deadline for signing the agreement under those terms and happily the organ committee, the vestry, and Dobson have been in constructive conversation about the agreement to the point where we all feel very satisfied. The vestry voted unanimously on Sunday to enter the agreement, and so we have.
As I said at the music ministries party on Sunday afternoon, I feel that Steve is not just a gifted musician, but also a visionary who saw something that many of the rest of us could not see, or if we could see it we had a hard time believing it at first.
Now this vision is becoming a glorious reality, and our church is already reaping blessings, feeling the connectedness it is already achieving with our surrounding community.
The most blessed connectedness that our new instrument will bring when it is installed in September of 2015 is the connectedness with our Lord, which is something that music can bring in a special way that mere words cannot!
I want to thank all who have supported this campaign in large and small ways. I also want to let you know that we welcome support still, needless to say, and please feel free to speak with me if you have a wish to contribute. This could be in the form of a gift today, or over the next few years, or even in your will.
Blessings and gratitude,