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Replacing an electric organ

01 February 2013

Our church, which has a small congregation, is fund-raising to replace an electronic organ that is 25 years old and past its sell-by date. We have raised about £5000, but would like to hear of any grants that might help us.

AS YOU rightly noted in your email, we do hear about organs from redundant churches, but normally these are pipe organs, which cost a great deal to move and have high maintenance costs when compared with the electronic kind.

I have not found any outside trust or agency that helps to fund electronic organs, and it is extremely difficult to raise funds for even the historic pipe organs. I suspect that local fund-raising will be your main source of help: appeals should be targeted at all who may benefit from even occasional use of the church.

Seek help from local residents, and from those who attend for occasional services such as weddings and baptisms. A discreet leaflet or sign could be distributed at funerals in church. And do ask any organisation that uses your church for its assistance in fund-raising.

A reminder. Perhaps the most important thing is - and I overlooked this item last autumn - is to check the gutters. The last of the autumn leaves may still be blocking hopper heads, and now the snow has arrived. Take a regular - even daily - look at gutters and hopper heads, especially when the snow begins to melt. There may be ice and snow blocking down-pipes, meaning that the melt from further up the roof has nowhere safe to go. Critically, the snow-melt may back up and flow into the church, depending on the gutter design, rather than slop out above the hopper heads.

It is better to spot the problem before internal walls and plasterwork are damaged; so get a local builder with the appropriate ladder to divert the slipping snow or assist with unblocking.

It is wise, regardless of snow issues, to book a builder at least once a year, to clear the gutters of debris; this will decrease the chances of water getting into the building, or washing away mortar on external walls through overflowing. Your quinquennial inspecting architect, now that we have heavier rainfall than in earlier decades, may recommend altering hopper heads to include a "spout" to carry overloads of water out and away from the building.

If your churchwardens and PCC members have not been to a Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings day-conference on church maintenance, look it up and get its DVD, which takes you through the regular tasks required.


Comments and questions to maggiedurran@virginmedia.com.

Use the same email address for enquiries about upcoming Village Churches day conferences in 2013 (in Bedfordshire and Oxford diocese).

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