First Congregational Church of Falmouth, MA
of the United Church of Christ

68 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02540 | Sunday Morning Worship 10:00 AM


                          Bell Choir

Music in our Congregational Church
It’s been said that New England Puritans hated music. One might get that impression because, until the late-1700's, they rejected anything that hinted of Roman Catholic worship practices – they did not allow choirs, anthems, chants, or any 
musical instruments, including organs, in their services. While many of them had instruments in their homes, when it came to their worship, they had the following concerns – In the New Testament they could find no use of musical instruments in early Christian worship; thus they assumed God did not intend for such instruments to be used in services. The second concern was that, if music in worship was too elegant, it would distract worshipers and hinder their spiritual communing with God. 

The records of our church tell us that in 1798, the building that preceded our present church was constructed on the Village Green and that it contained a reed organ, reputed to have been the gift of Deacon Elijah Swift. In 1869 the congregation decided to have its old organ repaired and tuned, but six years later the instrument was declared un-repairable. An organ committee of six was chosen in 1875. During the next three years, through such devices as “Social Entertainment at Town Hall” complete with pianists, singers and readers from the town, the Organ Fund Society raised the necessary twelve hundred dollars. In 1878, the church purchased a new custom-built pipe organ – a tracker instrument of about 15 ranks, which stood in the center of the gallery with space around the sides and back. The organ was first pumped by hand but later an electric blower was added. This organ served the church until 1952, when it was replaced by an electronic Wurlitzer amplified-reed organ. 

During the subsequent years, many hoped that the music of the church might again be graced by a true pipe organ, and the organist, Mr. James A. Stevens, often urged that the church seek such a goal.    Memorial gifts during that time formed an important part of an early organ fund. At the annual meeting of January 1973, the pastor, the Rev. Stanley F. 
Johnson, urged and promoted that the time had come for a committee to be formed to seek a suitable instrument.  After considering proposals from several organ builders, a committee presented a recommendation at the church’s annual meeting in January 1974 that a contract be entered with the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, CT, one of the leading builders of electro-pneumatic pipe organs in America.