The Organ

In the January 2005 fire the congregation of First Baptist JP lost their historic 1859 E. & G.G. Hook organ, which had already survived two previous fires.  As Pastor Ashlee Wiest-Laird tells the story, she watched the windows along the side of the building blow out from the heat of the fire and thought, "they're not going to save (the organ) this time."

This picture of the organ appeared in the 2005 issue of The Tracker (the journal of the organ historical society), with an article entitled "Requiem Eternam: The loss of E. & G.G. Hook Opus 253 (1859) in the First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain." 

Months after the fire, through an amazing and improbable set of events, the church found out about an 1872 organ made by the same manufacturer (in their later years known as Hook & Hastings).  Another church, Mount Mariah Baptist Church in Harlem, was looking to unload it to help fund their own renovation. The market value was around $40,000, but when they heard the story of FBCJP's tragic loss, the New York church agreed to sell it to them for $5,000. 

But the First Baptist JP congregation, at that time worshiping in a trailer on the front lawn while reconstruction began on their building, had no where to put an organ!  They bought it on a leap of faith.  The truck carrying the instrument was en route to NYC as Pastor Ashlee and others made frantic phone calls trying to find a place to put it.  Finally, days before the organ was due to arrive in Boston, he JPNDC came to the rescue, calling with the suggestion to put it in the building that had formerly been Blessed Sacrament Church on Centre Street. 

That was in March, 2006, and since then the organ has lived quietly in the building while the construction at 633 Centre was completed, the doors re-opened, and activity in the new building resumed.  Now the JPNDC is moving forward on their plans to renovate the Blessed Sacrament Complex, and it is imperative that our "new" organ find a new home.  

To make a donation to the organ fund, contact the church office or send by mail to 633 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 "Attn: organ fund"
For more information about the organ's journey: