April 21, 2021
What a joy it was to be led in worship by our middle and high school youth this past weekend as part of Youth Sunday. These young people did a tremendous job crafting the liturgy, preaching the Word, and telling the story of how the chancel in our sanctuary has helped to shape their faith and lives. Thank you all! And thank you too to Rev. Annie Franklin Arvin for ministering alongside our youth and helping lead them in this endeavor. As you will see below, we are especially excited for Annie, Thomas, and Molly Claire this week as they welcomed Elizabeth “Elsie” Jane – the newest member of the Franklin Arvin Family – just yesterday afternoon. Both mom and baby are healthy and doing well. Welcome to the world, Elsie!

I also want to share an important update with you regarding our plans for indoor and outdoor worship in the coming weeks. At their April meeting last night, the session approved a roadmap for transitioning all of our worship services back indoors over the next month. The first phase of this transition will happen this Sunday, April 25 when we will no longer require attendees to pre-register to attend the 8:30A indoor worship service. You are now welcome to attend either worship service without needing to register in advance. The second phase will happen on Sunday, May 16 when both the 8:30 & 10:30A worship services will move indoors into the sanctuary. The last 10:30A outdoor worship service on the Ashantilly Lawn will happen on Sunday, May 9.

How did we arrive at this decision? Good question. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the church’s leadership has sought to root all of its decisions pertaining to the life and health of the congregation on science, national/state guidelines, and plain old common sense. In recent weeks, some of those guidelines have started to relax as more and more research is being published regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines in the United States. Additionally, we have continued to have regular dialogue with several public health and medical personnel in our congregation. The common perspective among those knowledgeable individuals is that the consistently low rate of COVID spread combined with the relatively high percentage of fully vaccinated individuals here in Glynn County makes it both feasible and reasonably safe to plan for indoor worship in a space the size of our sanctuary. 

That said, we will continue to have a number of safety measures in place as we make this transition indoors next month. First, masks will be required for all attendees at all indoor worship services for the foreseeable future. Continuing to take this added safety measure in a large group setting remains best practice according to all health professionals we have spoken to. Additionally, we will continue to encourage everyone to maintain adequate distance (3-6 feet) between themselves and others not in their family group. If we reach socially distanced capacity in the sanctuary, we will have overflow seating available in the social hall. There will also continue to be no coffee or other food offered indoors. And finally, as with all of our plans over the past year, we will reassess if the COVID situation in our community changes dramatically between now and May 16 or other factors arise necessitating added caution. 

Please be on the lookout for other details regarding reopening the nursery, in-person Sunday school, etc. to be shared in the coming weeks. Finally, we are also very aware that there are many who are simply not able or comfortable returning to worship in any in-person format yet. As such, we are committed to continuing to offer a high-quality weekly livestream service online each Sunday so that everyone who desires can feel connected to the ongoing ministry of St. Simons Presbyterian. 

Blessings to you all and look forward to seeing you soon.

Rev. Alan Dyer
We share in celebration with Thomas and Annie Arvin on the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth “Elsie” Jane Arvin, who was born on Tuesday, April 20. Elsie was welcomed with great joy by her older sister, Molly Claire.

Welcome to the world, Elsie!
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April 18, 2021
Musical Notes
Here is some information about our newly renovated Schantz organ. The new organ is now a hybrid instrument meaning that there are physical pipes or voices as well as digital voices. Our organ console controls five divisions/four keyboards – the pedal, the great, the swell, and the choir and the antiphonal in the back of the church.

There are 38 ranks of pipes. What does this mean? That means that each “voice” in the organ has a set of pipes that encompass the notes on the keyboard (61 in each of the three manuals and 32 pedal) resulting in approximately 2200 individual physical pipes. The “stops” are the knobs that you pull that activate the “voices”. These stops can be mixed in any combination and controlled by “pistons” (there are 12 general pistons controlled by hand and some of these are able to be controlled by feet – “toe pistons”. Those pistons can be set for many combinations of sounds, making it easier for the organist to change from one setting to another for service music and hymns.

Our previous organ had only 23 ranks. Twenty of the 38 ranks are either new or repurposed that were not a part of our organ, which is now 1/3 larger than it was.

The voices in the organ include the brassy reeds, soft gentle celeste, brilliant mixtures, orchestral voices (oboe, clarinet, flute, trumpet, strings), and sometimes even percussion instruments – we have a zimbelstern, which is a rotating wheel of bells that can be turned on for celebratory occasions. The chimes that were installed are digital and will outlast any set of physical chimes that we could install. Arthur Schleuter, organ builder, always donates a rank of pipes to each organ he builds. I believe that the rank he donated to us was a flute voice. At the outset of this project, he also donated the Antiphonal division, which is digital at the present time on speakers and is in the back of the church up above your heads. The space is configured for future real pipes and a “trumpet en chamade” (exposed trumpets). If you have seen Wesley UMC’s organ, the “trumpet en chamade” is located above the choir members heads and sticking straight out. In a way, the organ is representative of the church of Jesus Christ. It is one body made up of many parts and many voices.

The other night at choir practice, Amy Bishop expressed her deep thanks for such a wonderful instrument to play. Now that the instrument is fully installed, she is at the church often, exploring the myriad of combinations that the organ can produce. She is able to have more choices and play more pieces – sort of like cooking a recipe with no substitutions. Those settings are called “registrations”. You will hear a richness and a more colorful, balanced sound that the old organ was never able to have as the kinks get worked out over the next few weeks. Our organ was originally given by Emmett Barnes in 1984 and was a fine instrument that just needed restoration after 38 years of use. The console was replaced in 2016 with generous gifts from Don Carter and others. The strong foundation that these and many others have provided with their gifts will continue to give for years to come with this restoration. James Freeman, our organ technician on a regular basis, is going through the entire organ and making notes for the “voicers” (other techs) to work on. He is very pleased with the outcome and the fact that it will be easier to tune and provide maintenance due to the new position of the all the working parts of the instrument. Part of the organ was located in our attic, exposed to constant temperature changes. Problem solved!

It will be dedicated at a later date with a special concert when we feel comfortable scheduling a concert because of the pandemic.
The Chancel Choir will sing an arrangement by Mack Wilberg of the hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty! this coming Sunday. The hymn is 33 Praise the Lord, God’s Glories Show! Pay particular attention to the organ prelude and postlude at the 8:30 live stream service as Amy has carefully selected pieces that will show off our organ.
Thanks to our youth music participants Emmeline Griffith and Brayden Neill last Sunday for sharing their gifts in worship.
Love & Gratitude,
The Week Ahead
Sunday, April 25
8:30 am Indoor/Livestream Worship - Sanctuary
9:00 am Combined Sunday School - Zoom
9:00 am Britt Class - Online
10:30 am Outdoor Worship - Ashantilly Lawn
6:00 pm Youth Gathering - Youth Suite

Monday, April 26
10:00 am Chancel Ensemble - Location Varies

Tuesday, April 27
9:30 am Staff Meeting - Zoom

Wednesday, April 28
10:00 am Men's Bible Study - Zoom
4:00pm Kids Crew - Veranda
6:00pm Chancel Choir - Sanctuary
7:00pm Chancel Ringers - Social Hall

Thursday, April 29
10:00am Ladies Bible Study - Sanctuary

Friday, April 30
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