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Posts tagged ‘Traditional worship’

Frederick Swann on the Value of the Pipe Organ to the Worshiping Church

An article from the March 21, 2017 issue of Patheos – Ponder Anew contains an interesting article on the value of a pipe organ in worship.

Famed American organist Frederick Swann was recently asked for his view on the value of the pipe organ in the life of the church. This was his reply.

“As a church organist for 75 years (starting at age 10…and making it my life’s work) I have been privileged to be the organist of three major churches in the country, each with fine pipe organs and musically literate congregations. And, as a concert organist, my travels have taken me to churches large and small in each of the United States and several foreign countries.  I have frequently either attended worship or played for worship in many, many of these churches. Thus I have had the opportunity to observe what the pipe organ can mean to a wide variety of congregations.  The stories of how the organ in worship has literally changed lives are legion.

In reading the responses to your blog in response to A Case For the Pipe Organ it is abundantly clear that those most critical have been written by people who have never experienced what a good organ well-played can mean to the emotional and spiritual life of church members.  And/or the writers have minds that are so tightly closed that they would not be willing to give themselves the experience.  Prejudice and closed-mindedness are crystal clear in many of the comments. So there is nothing I, nor anyone can say to change their minds until they are willing to sincerely give themselves the opportunity of experiencing worship with a pipe organ, or one of the excellent digital organs (more determined and unfounded prejudice shown there!) and about which they have no knowledge.

The first duty of the church organist is to lead congregational singing.  No hand-waving ‘song leader’ can inspire a congregation to sing as can an experienced hymn player…in fact they are more often than not a deterrent to good congregation singing. I have been experiencing hopeful signs lately in many of the churches who eschew the organ and think they are filling their pews with the use of a praise band, some of which are quite good from a pure musical standpoint.

Interestingly, these musical groups are beginning to disappear from many churches as YOUNG church members (who have somehow been able to experience a pipe organ and traditional church music) are losing interest in their praise band and very much wanting to experience an organ and more ‘traditional music.’ The pendulum has swung widely throughout history in regard to what music works best in church. Thus it is encouraging to see it swinging again!”

Let it be so!

Frederick L. Swann is an American church and concert organist, recording artist, choral conductor, and former president of the American Guild of Organists. Music critic Tim Smith called Swann “one of the country’s most distinguished organists”. He is Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral and the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Swann currently lives in Palm Desert, California, where he is Artist-in-residence at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and University Organist and Artist Teacher of Organ at the University of Redlands.

Service Times

Sunday School: 10:15 am     Sunday Worship: 11:30 am

Central Church's SanctuaryBELONG – You Were Formed for God’s Family!

At Central Church, the Mission of Worship is to provide an experience where people can connect to God and grow in their relationship to Jesus Christ – where your spirit can respond to God’s spirit.

If you feel most connected to God in a setting that employs liturgy, beautiful choral music, traditional hymns with accompaniment on the pipe organ and piano,  you will be at home in the traditional worship service at Central Church.

These traditional services feature the great hymns of our faith and choral music of the highest order.  The services also include acts of praise, prayers of confession, thanksgiving, proclamation, and dedication.  The sermons are biblically-based and seek to emphasize spiritual growth and Christian service.  These services are traditional but not stuffy, holy but not solemn, and in a large space with the feeling of a family gathering.

For more information email or call 724-846-3474.

Central Church Decorated for Christmas

Central Church Decorated for Christmas

Worship services are held in the Sanctuary. All are welcome to participate in worship services including families with children.  In the event your little one(s) finds the experience overwhelming, you are welcome to bring your child to our nursery which is staffed with two workers.

Hymnals are used for our worship music and can be found on the back of each pew.  Church-wide program announcements are made, worship attendees are led in prayer, and our pastor delivers an inspiring sermon.  Worship concludes with a closing hymn.  Services typically last one hour.


The communion table in the United Methodist Church is open to all who profess their faith in Jesus Christ, without regard to age or church membership.

Communion is served during worship on the first Sunday of each month.

Are children welcome to attend worship services?

Absolutely!  We encourage all children to attend worship.  If you’re not sure how your child will behave during worship we suggest the following:

  • Give it a try…never assume it won’t work.
  • Be patient…we don’t mind a little noise- if it escalates- simply move to the back of the Sanctuary or bring your little one to the nursery.  Remember, we all have to start our worship experience sometime!
  • Small doses of worship time might work well.  Maybe 20 minutes is all your little one can handle at this point in time.  Not a problem.  Simply bring your child down to the nursery and come back to enjoy the remainder of worship.
  • Some members found that sitting in a different location each week and pointing out the different ‘sites’ prior to start of worship kept it interesting.
  • Please keep your child by your side at all times.  The Sanctuary, a wonderful site to behold, can be a dangerous place for a wandering little one.  Stairways, candles, risers and little ones don’t mix.  We want your children to be safe at all times.

Special Worship Services:

Periodically we will have changes in our worship schedule, most commonly during Advent (Christmas) & Lent (Easter).  Please check our calendar for any changes.