A CHURCH in the diocese of Sheffield has been told that it can remove its pipe organ only if a suitable home is found for it in another church.
The PCC of Christ Church, Fulwood, plans to remove its pipe organ and replace it with an electric model, but a diocesan ruling has made it a “condition” for its removal that another church be found to accommodate it.
The Diocesan Chancellor, the Worshipful Sarah Singleton QC, said: “I would not consider it appropriate to permit its removal from its present location unless or until it could be removed to another church in the diocese of Sheffield where it will be played, appreciated, and maintained.”
She concluded that “the organ’s removal would cause minimal harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest,” and it “would not damage the essential character of the church”.
The PCC wishes to remove the pipe organ to make more space for people to sit in the gallery: “at present, those sitting there are overwhelmed by the organ; both by its size and by its sound.” The petitioners say that “the organ is costly to maintain,” and “the instrument makes an excessive noise, which leaves a negative impression on visitors.”
One church has been identified as a possible home for the old organ: St John the Baptist’s, Ellington, which is in the same diocese.
The Chancellor ruled, however, that, as St John’s was “not as well resourced financially as the petitioning church,” Christ Church might be liable to “bear the majority of the costs of such a move for the instrument”. In the ruling, she promised to “deal expeditiously” with any application for permission to move the organ to another church.
Christ Church is one of the largest Evangelical churches in the diocese of Sheffield, and welcomes up to 900 people a week to services and activities.
No one was available to comment from the church.