History and Future of the Organs at Galilee
Before moving to our current building, Galilee had two earlier churches further south at the oceanfront. Some pictures, which can be seen outside of the sanctuary, show a small pipe organ to the right of the altar in the previous building, though we do not know its origins. Earlier still, the former Rector of Eastern Shore Chapel, Rev. W.N. Savage, assisted the Mission Church of Galilee by The Sea, not only preaching, but also playing a small pump organ, which is still used today at Galilee in St. Luke’s Chapel.

When Galilee’s current building was built in 1957, a small pipe organ was installed with the purpose of accompanying a very small choir and congregation. It was built by the Wicks Organ Company, has about 600 pipes, and is tucked away behind the walls in the right side of the chancel. It never produced adequate sound for this space, and certainly does not now that our congregation has grown. When Galilee asked the question of what to do about this 22 years ago, it was decided that the best course of action was to purchase a digital organ. This is the Rodgers organ you can see in the loft, with its light-up stops on the console and its big speakers on the back wall. Unfortunately, as is the case with digital organs, the electronics fail, and the technology quickly becomes obsolete. These organs typically have a lifespan of 20 years. Ours, now 22 years old, has had serval issues in the past couple years, including dying more than once, and going up in smoke a few minutes before a wedding! The repairs were expensive, and we expect other such issues to continue.

The Great division of Galilee’s 1957 Wicks organ.

Over the last year, Fr. Andy and the Vestry have discussed the issue at length and feel it’s worth investing in an instrument that will serve Galilee reliably for the next century – and not go up in smoke before a wedding!

Our new pipe organ will combine an historic E.M. Skinner pipe organ in the balcony with the best parts of our 1957 Wicks in the chancel to form a magnificent, surround-sound instrument. The new organ will be able to lead all facets of music at Galilee, from small intimate services in the chancel to packed pews on Easter morning, accompanying our choirs, and playing all types of repertoire for worship and concerts. It will be one of the most significant instruments in Hampton Roads.

We have opportunities for you to serve in the following areas:

  • Small Groups: Leaders and assistants for small groups (training will be provided)
  • Hospitality: Kitchen team member. Duties include assisting in cooking, set up, and cleaning
  • Greeters: For Sunday Services

For further details, please contact:

Ruth Tanner Wilkins
Director of Adult Programs