Beginning with John and Charles Wesley, music has always been important among Methodists. The Sanctuary Organ, an instrument of immense capabilities and beauty, continues that tradition. The first pipe organ of 40 ranks of pipes was installed in this Sanctuary in 1952. It had been built by the M. P. Moller company of Hagerstown, Maryland, and had been “dedicated in recognition of Cornelius A. Craig,” who had been very active in the leadership of West End Church and chair of the original building committee.
By 1981, the instrument needed renovation and an organ committee was appointed. They decided to turn again to the M. P. Moller Company and ask them to rebuild and expand the organ. Using all of the original windchests and approximately two-thirds of the pipework of the original instrument, a completely rebuilt organ of 90 ranks of pipes was installed in May of 1983. It was designed to lead congregational singing, to accompany the choirs, and to be capable of playing the world’s very wide repertoire of music composed for the organ.
In recent years, the firm of Luley and Associates, Inc. from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has made additions to the organ, which have expanded these capabilities. The family of Cornelius A. Craig was again instrumental in making the 1983 expansion and the addition of the solo division and solid state upgrade possible.
This instrument is particularly unique among organs in that there are two consoles controlling eight divisions, of which five divisions are in the chancel and three are in the gallery. All eight divisions may be controlled completely from either the Chancel Console or Gallery Console. Additionally, one may have two organists playing both consoles at the same time, which allows some of the rarely heard music for two organs to be performed.
Since 1983, the Sanctuary Organ has tremendously contributed to the worship life and music ministry of West End Church. Its music has inspired congregational singing, undergirded choral music, celebrated weddings, and touched those at funerals. But most of all, this outstanding instrument has been used and is being used to present the ministry of music for the glory of God.
Watch a Video Tour of our sanctuary organ: