Letter To Campus Community Announcing the Sale of the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ

Service in the Augustana Chapel
Ruth and Paul Manz Organ located in the Augustan Chapel

Update Regarding the Sale of the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ

As friends and supporters of LSTC well know, the Ruth and Paul Manz organ (Bigelow opus 31) has graced our chapel and filled it with music since 2004. In light of our building sale to the University of Chicago and our relocation to the campus of Catholic Theological Union we also knew that the instrument must be relocated to a new home where its purpose and potential could still be realized.

With respect to the history and value of the instrument among our wider constituencies, we used a multilevel approach to advertising the organ’s availability. In late November, the original builder (Bigelow) began to share the news privately, with a listing on Organ Clearing House starting shortly thereafter. Then on December 5, we sent a news release to alumni and friends about the sale, also posted on our website, indicating a decision by January 15.

During the listing period, we received seven expressions of serious interest from around the country. This was a solid response rate due to the number of organs on the market and the inherent challenges in selling such instruments. 

We are therefore delighted to announce that we have accepted a favorable offer from The Church of the Blessed Sacrament, a Roman Catholic parish in Seattle, Washington, which will begin the disassembly and relocation of the instrument in mid-May this year.

Blessed Sacrament is an ideal new home for the Manz organ. The instrument will be one of two organs in the sanctuary of a parish with an active, extensive church music program. The parish will continue the name of the Ruth and Paul Manz organ, including an account of its origins with us. It will be actively used in weekly liturgies and for musical instruction, from children to the University of Washington students. Blessed Sacrament will also maintain an organ recital series that honors Ruth and Paul Manz by name. To learn more about Blessed Sacrament’s organ project and their plans for the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ, read the update in their weekly church bulletin, pages 5 and 6.

Regarding the organ’s purchase, relocation, and installation, Rev. Erik Christensen, Pastor to the Community and Director of Strategic Initiatives, said, “For nearly twenty years, LSTC’s worship has been supported and enriched by the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ. For many of our students, staff, and faculty—both past and present—it is a primary symbol of our life together in this place. I am personally grateful for those whose gifts to the seminary made it possible for us to benefit from this extraordinary instrument for all these years, and I am delighted to know that it will continue to support the assembly’s song in its new home in the community of The Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Seattle.”

In further response, Michael Plagerman, Director of Sacred Music at Blessed Sacrament, said, “For over 100 years, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament has worshipped without the leadership and inspiration of a fine pipe organ. The Manz organ is a providential answer to prayer that will inspire and uplift our parishioners, area students, and Seattle as a whole.”We invite friends and supporters of LSTC who would like to hear the Manz organ in concert before it leaves our building to register and attend the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Recital Series in the Augustana Chapel from 12:15-12:45 p.m. on the dates listed below:

Manz Organ Recital Series

March 7Patricia Spencer
April 18Christopher Urban
May 2Michael Rees

Save the Date

Manz Organ Farewell Music Festival and Leave-Taking Chapel Service
We also ask that you save the date and join us Thursday, May 11, from 4 -8:30 p.m. for the Manz Organ Farewell Music Festival and Leave-Taking Chapel Service. This event is the final opportunity to celebrate the Manz organ and the time we’ve shared as a community in our building. We hope to see you there! For details related to this event, please visit our website.

For further information about these performances for the Ruth and Paul Manz organ, please contact Dr. Keith Hampton, Cantor to the Seminary Community, at keith.hampton@lstc.edu.

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