Beauty plus great sound equals Gifhorn

It is said that the organ is the queen of the instruments. And the congregation of Gifhorn boasts a beautiful example that is as massive as it is melodious. The Chief Apostle will even have a chance to enjoy it.

Chief Apostle Schneider is expected in this congregation in Lower Saxony on Sunday, 9 August 2020. Also invited are the two District Apostles Wolfgang Nadolny (Berlin) and Jürg Zbinden (Switzerland). The divine service will have some special additional content, as the retired District Apostle Wilfried Klingler and his wife Helga have asked to receive a blessing on their golden wedding anniversary. The congregation is awaiting its visitors with great anticipation.

An organ of imposing size

In New Apostolic circles, the name Gifhorn is associated with the congregation’s special organ. It has been in operation since 1994 and was installed in tandem with the construction of the large church building that houses the congregation today. This is a traditional pipe organ that is also combined with digital technology. As such it is not only a masterpiece of sound, but is also possessed of architectural beauty.

Sixteen plus thirty-nine

The organ features sixteen classic pipe sounds and is manufactured by the Wilhelm Sauer company from Frankfurt on the Oder. Added to these are another 39 registers of digital computer design from the Ahlborn company in Heimerdingen near Stuttgart. All the registers are equally distributed across three manuals and the pedals—making it the largest organ of the New Apostolic Church in Lower Saxony. The organist has various couplings and performance aids—among them 18 programmable combinations—at his or her disposal. These make it easier to prepare for, and perform, music of both sacred and concert styles.

A vision of beauty

The organ pipes are a special feast for the eyes: the entire façade is 5.8 metres wide and over 7 metres tall. It is ornately structured with the sounding principal pipes in front and the Spanish trumpets arranged horizontally above. The result is an exceptional sound that fills the room. A total of 1,266 pipes were installed, the largest of which measures just under 5 metres in length, and the smallest of which is only 186 millimetres long.

The disposition of the organ is thus enormously rich and varied, allowing for organ music of all eras.

Congregation’s 120th anniversary

The congregation of Gifhorn is part of the Braunschweig district. It became independent at the start of the twentieth century. The first divine services took place in 1901 in the residence of the Mittmann family, and were held regularly as of 1906, in rented quarters at first. In the year 1953 the first church building was dedicated on Dannenbütteler Weg—the congregation numbered 100 members at the time. In 1968, the building was expanded as the congregation had swelled to more than 200 members in the meantime.

Construction of the present church building began in 1993. Its dedication took place on 18 December 1994. There is seating for 500 visitors in the nave, and for another 180 in adjacent rooms.

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Peter Johanning