In a joyful service on 12 June, the Feast of Pentecost, the organ in St Catherine's Church, Stuttgart was dedicated by Bishop Joachim Vobbe (Emeritus Bishop of the Old Catholic Church of Germany) and myself. This was the culmination of a year of fundraising and activity in St Catherine's, led by Fr Ken Dimmick, the priest-in-charge. Over €75,000 was raised to purchase, restore and install the instrument. A commemorative book was also blessed, recording those who have contributed financially and in other ways to the project.
After the blessing of the instrument, the Churchwardens of St Catherine's, Eric Jarman and Alex Schmalz, formally presented a document to the Old Catholic parish, indicating that the organ was a gift from our Church of England congregation to them. (The original instrument was destroyed when allied bombing flattened the church building in World War II). The Church of England parish shares the building now owned by the Old Catholic Church.
The inaugural recital was given by Andy Dewar, a former member of St Catherine's, and now the organist at the American Cathedral in Paris. The organ is a unique instrument in this part of Germany. Very English and mellow in tone, with a subtleness appropriate for accompanying the richness of liturgical worship, it contrasts with the sharper, more baroque sounding instruments of the region, and will be sought after by scholars and musicians who will wish to perform on it.
Photos courtesy of Jim Palik