The Austin Organ of Northminster Baptist Church
The joyful adventure of choosing an appropriate organ for the Northminster sanctuary was rooted in the rich soil of past events. The dream of having such an instrument was present from the beginning days of the congregation, but it took the life and death of a unique individual and the generous response of many people to bring this dream to actuality. In response to the Christian life of Roger Stribling, Jr., and his dream for his church, his wife and children, his parents, his sister, and his business partner, Ben Puckett, Sr., saw the dream of the organ as a fitting opportunity to memorialize their loved one. Their major gifts, added to the modest sum already contributed by others to an Organ Fund, were the impetus that made possible the adventure of search to determine the organ for Nothminster’s future ministry. Once again, in God’s ingenious hands, an event of tragedy was transmuted into an event of joy for people now and generations yet unborn.
After much consideration, the organ committee selected the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut, largely in part because of the skill of Alfred Isaacson, Design Engineer. When the Committee showed him pictures of the existing sanctuary and space, creative ideas flowed freely. The group decided that the pipes would suggest the Holy Trinity to the discerning viewer, and a slender cross on the front wall would add to the visible witness of the instrument.
While the crafting of the organ was underway in Hartford, a process which took one and a half years, significant changes began in the sanctuary. Under the capable supervision of Lucian Harvey, Jr., several contractors prepared for the installation of the instrument. Northminster was garbed in scaffolding for about three months as Bernard Higgins and Zoltan Zsitvay displayed their own special gifts by placing each pipe in its pre-designed position. They performed this task like old-world craftsmen with special skills which many felt had become antiquated long ago. The organ was dedicated on March 22, 1981.
Today we celebrate as this beautiful instrument undergoes even further additions to enhance its wonderful sound. Thus, the Austin Organ of Northminster Baptist Church is a work of love with both a long history and a larger future. When none of us present today are still living, we have good reason to believe that the sounds of this instrument will be calling Northminster Christians to the best that is within them and beyond them. For the blessings of such an instrument in assisting us in our praise, may thanks be to God!