Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord!

~ Psalm 150 ~

Welcome!

Here you will discover who we are as a community of faith. As individuals, we are often busy and can find ourselves distracted as we seek to find balance and meaning in our lives.

At times we have questions that are bigger than simple answers can resolve. Yet in the midst of these circumstances, we come together and seek to be transformed by the love of God and extend that love to others through our actions.

We are grateful you have found our site and hope you will choose to join us for one of our worship services or events.

If you have any questions about our church and its ministry please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Grace & Peace, Pastor Steve Wilde - Senior Pastor

Plan Your Visit!

Helpful tips so you won't feel like a stranger

Worship Times

8:30 am - Chapel

10:00 am - Sanctuary

Childcare Available

Grab a Coffee

Coffee served, bring it inside and enjoy the service!

Children's Programs

Childcare available 3mo. - 3yr.

Preschool 3yr - 5yr

Sunday Program K - 5th grade

Student Program Middle/High School

After worship

Join others in the courtyard for further refreshments and get to know others!

Next Step at FPCL

A short series of classes as you progress on your faith journey.

Questions?

Email office@fpcl.us

Call 925-447-2078

visit our FAQ page

Meet The Team

Pastor Steve Wilde

Senior Pastor

925.447.2078x115

Pastor Josh Jonas

Associate Pastor

925.447.2078x116

Pastor Denia Segrest
Pastor Denia Segrest

Associate Pastor, Tentmaker

925.447.2078X114

Brie Johnson - Director of Children, Family & Student Ministry
Brie Johnson

Director Children, Student & Family Ministry

925.447.2078X118

Jane Ackley - Director of Church Operations
Jane Ackley

Director of Church Operations

925.447.2078X120

Janet Holmes, Music Director
Janet Holmes

Music Director

924.447.2078

Kim Salch
Kim Salch

Connections Ministry Coordinator

925.447.2078X112

Michele O'Hair
Michele O'Hair

Project Support Coordinator

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Danielle Hayes

Accounting Specialist

Danielle Hayes

Accounting Specialist

925.447.2078X117

Jen Wilde
Jen Wilde

Support Coord. Children, Student & Family Ministry

925.447.2078X122

Cathy Griggs

Bell Choir Director

925.447.2078

FPCL LEADERSHIP

Elders

Session is responsible for the

mission and government of the church

Session is comprised of

installed Elders and pastors

Meet monthly

on a Tuesday at 7:00 pm

Deacons

Those who feel called into

caregiving ministry join the Deacons

Meet monthly

on a Tuesday at 7:00 pm

Presbytery

Consists of ministers in its area plus an equal number of elder commissioners elected by the sessions of its churches

172 presbyteries in the USA

 

We belong to the Presbytery of 

San Francisco

545 Ashbury Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530

phone 510-849-4393

www.presbyteryofsf.org

 

 

 

weddings-at-fpcl
weddings
  • The historic Chapel built in 1874 for intimate weddings, with seating for 96 guests

  • The elegance and majesty of our wood-paneled sanctuary, offers a unique setting for your nuptials. It features beautiful faceted glass windows and a pipe organ, and seats 450 guests

Receptions

Receptions may be held in Fellowship Hall, across from our beautiful courtyard. 

For availability and further information, please email weddings@fpcl.us or call the church office at (925) 447-2078

Memorial Services

Our pastors provide counseling and planning for a service to remember your loved one. He/She will lead the worship service, answer your questions or give suggestions concerning scripture, prayers, music, etc.

Receptions

  • Receptions may also be held in Fellowship Hall, across the courtyard from the sanctuary and chapel.

For further information, please email office@fpcl.us or call the church office at (925) 447-2078

memorial-at-fpcl

In May 1866 the first Protestant sermon in the Livermore Valley was preached to several pioneering families in the valley by Rev. W. W. Brier, an iterant pastor.  This small group of faithful worshipers grew until in 1871 the First Presbyterian Church was established in Livermore.
After meeting in the schoolhouse, the Exchange Hall and various other buildings in the center of town, the first permanent building was dedicated in July of 1874 with 11 communicant members.  Our historical chapel on the corner of 4th and K Streets has been in constant use since its dedication.

The congregation outgrew the campus consisting of the chapel, fellowship hall and classrooms by 1960. With three worship services Sunday mornings, a Sunday school and youth groups of several hundred children, and a growing ministry, the congregation needed more space.

With a leap of faith, and the decision to stay located in downtown Livermore, the homes on the block were purchased, the land cleared and our present Sanctuary and education buildings were built and dedicated in 1965. They served the congregation and community well until in 2002 - 2003 a major renovation was done to the campus to enable us to continue our vital and energetic ministry in our community and the world.

The congregation has been dedicated to spreading the love of God through service to the community and throughout the world for 140 years.

To learn more about the history of our congregation, a book, 125 Years:  A History of the First Presbyterian Church, Livermore, California 1871 – 1996 is available in our church office.

The History of the Presbyterian Church
Martin Luther and John Calvin were the two most influential 16th century reformers responsible for the birth and establishment of Protestantism. Luther was excommunicated from the Church of Rome in 1520 when he refused to deny his convictions and concerns about what he felt were seriously destructive tendencies, errors, and excesses in her theology and practice.

John Calvin, a pious Roman Catholic in Paris, was converted to the Protestant view in 1533. He had to flee France, taking refuge in Basal, Switzerland. He wrote the basic document of the Reformed Faith: "The Institutes of the Christian Religion." It is still considered by many to be the greatest theological work ever produced. Traveling to Geneva, Calvin became the mind and heart of the "Reformed Church," of which our Presbyterian Church is but one of several.

John Knox, a powerful Scotch reformer, had to flee Roman Catholic England, taking refuge in Switzerland. While at Geneva he caught the vision and genius of Calvin in both his conception and grasp of the Christian faith, and in his understanding of the real function and place of the Church. In 1559 Knox returned to Scotland to rejoin the Protestant forces in their struggle for freedom. In 1560 the Scottish Parliament officially proclaimed the Reformed faith to be the religion of Scotland. Knox was asked to prepare a confession of faith and a system of government for the church. It was adopted by the Church of Scotland, which in 1560 became the "Presbyterian Church" (taken from the Greek word, "Presbyter", meaning elder.)

In 1643, the English Parliament called an assembly of church leaders in Westminster. They met for four years and drafted the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, a Directory of Worship, a Book of Discipline, and a Presbyterian form of Church Government. With the latter three divisions having been revised several times, these works comprise the Constitution of the United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

Presbyterians were among the first American colonizers. The first permanent Presbyterian Church was organized in Long Island in 1640. The first Presbytery was organized in Philadelphia on 1705, and the first Synod in 1716. Presbyterians followed the westward movement, establishing churches on every frontier.

After much growth and organization, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. was organized in 1789. In 1858 the United Presbyterian Church of North America was formed by the union of the Associate (Presbyterian) Synod and the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Church.

Then on May 28, 1958, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one hundred years later, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. was created by the union of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the United Presbyterian Church of North America.

In 1983 the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (often known as the Southern Branch) and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (often called the Northern Branch) were reunited and became the current Presbyterian Church (USA). Our national offices are in Louisville, Kentucky.

We believe that faith is a journey and that ours is a church that embraces people wherever they are on that journey!  We celebrate the reality that our community of faith is made up of people who have different perspectives and life experiences, and are united in our desire to understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

We believe in the reality, power and love of a personal God. We have a firm commitment to follow God in the way that Jesus of Nazareth has shown us in his life, death, and resurrection. We see Jesus as the incarnation of the love of the living God. But we do not feel great pressure to make everyone else adhere to our particular doctrine (approach) before we agree to pray with them, work with them, and learn from them.

We take the Bible seriously - not necessarily literally. We love and value a traditional approach to worship, which includes thoughtful preaching, excellent music, prayer, the reading of the scriptures, and the reverence of the Sacraments. We value the authority of our leadership that is made up of laity [men and women volunteering their time and talents], staff and clergy.


The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) uses a representative form of government. Each individual church in it is governed by a session. A session is made up of the pastor(s) of the church and elders who are elected by and from the congregation. The number of elders on a session is determined by the size of the church. Elders are ordinarily elected to serve on a session for a three year term and a third of the session is elected each year (so, a third of the session changes each year). The session is responsible for the mission and government of its church.

The regional governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the presbytery. A presbytery consists of the ministers in its area plus an equal number of elder commissioners elected by the sessions of its churches. There are currently 172 presbyteries in the United States. A presbytery is responsible for the mission and government of the Church throughout its geographical region. This consists of many things, including working with churches to call pastors, developing regional strategies for mission and ministry, and coordinating the ministries of its churches. It is interesting to note that commissioners to presbyteries and other governing bodies are not bound to vote as they believe those who elected them would want them to vote. Rather, they are bound to vote their consciences. This acknowledges that the Holy Spirit works among us and frees our commissioners to respond to the working of the Spirit through them.

The General Assembly is the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The General Assembly meets every two years to consider and legislate matters of national significance to the Church. Presbyteries elect an equal number of minister and elder commissioners to represent them at each General Assembly. One of the primary responsibilities of the General Assembly is to consider and vote on amendments to the Church's constitution. (For an eyewitness account of the 218th General Assembly, click here.)

The constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) is made up of 2 volumes, the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order. The first of these contains confessional statements of the Church from throughout the ages. The earliest confession in the book is "The Apostles’ Creed" which has its roots in the second century. The latest is "A Brief Statement of Faith" which was written just a few years ago. The confessions guide the Church in its faith and practice, although they are subordinate to the Bible. The Book of Order defines the Church's form of government, contains directions and recommendations for worship, and provides rules for dealing with people or governing bodies who choose to break the 'laws' of the Church.

There is a fourth level of governing bodies in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that stands alongside the other three; namely, the synods.
The United States is divided into 15 synods, each of which is made up of the presbyteries in its area. The synods stand alongside the other three levels of governing bodies in that presbyteries elect commissioners to the synods, but the synods do not have any direct
representation in the General Assembly. The synods are responsible for various administrative functions and have jurisdiction over the churches in their areas.

It is no coincidence, by the way, that there are several similarities between the Presbyterian form of government and that of the United States. Several Presbyterians were instrumental in the formation of the United States government. John Witherspoon, for example, was a Presbyterian minister.

The regional governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the Presbytery.  A presbytery is responsible for the mission and government of the Church throughout its geographical region. This consists of many things, including working with churches to call pastors, developing regional strategies for mission and ministry, and coordinating the ministries of its churches. It is interesting to note that commissioners to presbyteries and other governing bodies are not bound to vote as they believe those who elected them would want them to vote. Rather, they are bound to vote their consciences. This acknowledges that the Holy Spirit works among us and frees our commissioners to respond to the working of the Spirit through them.

The General Assembly is the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The General Assembly meets annually to consider and legislate matters of national significance to the Church. Presbyteries elect an equal number of minister and elder commissioners to represent them at each General Assembly. One of the primary responsibilities of the General Assembly is to consider and vote on amendments to the Church's constitution.

The constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) is made up of 2 volumes, the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order. The first of these contains confessional statements of the Church from throughout the ages. The earliest confession in the book is "The Apostles' Creed" which has its roots in the second century. The latest is "A Brief Statement of Faith" which was written just a few years ago. The confessions guide the Church in its faith and practice, although they are subordinate to the Bible. The Book of Order defines the Church's form of government, contains directions and recommendations for worship, and provides rules for dealing with people or governing bodies who choose to break the 'laws' of the Church.

There is a fourth level of governing bodies in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that stands alongside the other three; namely, the synods. The United States is divided into 15 synods, each of which is made up of the presbyteries in its area. The synods stand alongside the other three levels of governing bodies in that presbyteries elect commissioners to the synods, but the synods do not have any direct representation in the General Assembly. The synods are responsible for various administrative functions and have jurisdiction over the churches in their areas.

It is no coincidence, by the way, that there are several similarities between the Presbyterian form of government and that of the United States. Several Presbyterians were instrumental in the formation of the United States government. John Witherspoon, for example, was a Presbyterian minister.

FPCL offers its historic chapel built in 1874 on the corner of 4th and K Streets invites you to our 8:30 worship on Sundays.
Mack Window
Presented by Mrs. C. W. Mack and Family. It was installed in 1949. In the upper section , the emlem is a cross, and in the lower section a medical caduceus. Dr. Mack, who died in 1948, was for many years on the staff of the Livermore Sanitarium, a trustee of the Livermore Union High School, and an active member of the Board of Trustees of the church. 
Christian Endeavor Window
Was a gift by the Christian Endeavor Society in 1917. It bears the "CE" emblem, and carries a plaque "Presented by the Christian Endeavor Society." The young people of the church worked hard to earn the necessary $75.00 for this window. Christian Endeavor officers spoke at the unveiling and dedication program, held April 29, 1917. 
Billy Mac Window
Installed in 1917. It carries the emblem of a crown with cross, and bears the plaque :In Memory of William McDonald by his friends." McDonald, known fondly by his friends as "Billy Mac", was very patriotic, well known to everybody in the valley He taught in the May School for years; was on the County Board of Education; was an auctioneer, and was always the orator for the Livermore Fourth of July celebrations, horse show parades, etc. He died on November 16, 1916.  
Clifford Window
Closest to the pulpit, it has the Dove of Peace emblem and it was installed about 1915. Reverend William J. Clifford served the church from 1910 to 1918. We have more respect for this $50.00 window when we learn that the Clifford family income at this time was $83.50 a month. 
Aunt Mary Window
It has an emblem of Christ and bears the plaque, "In memory of Mary Harlan Smith - Aunt Mary." It was presented at Christmas, 1927. Aunt Mary, as she was lovingly known to all, was the youngest member of the Harlan family that came west by wagon train in 1846. The Smith family had come to the Livermore area in 1867. Miss Emma Smith, who was Mary's daughter, taught grammar school and was at the same time, secretay of the church Sunday School. The Smiths, mother and daughter, lived in a little house on L street which the church later purchased. 
Anthony Window
It has an emblem of a cross on top of a mountain. It was presented at Christmas, 1927. Rev. Charles W. Anthony, was the second pastor of our church from June 1873 to September 1879. His brother, Frederick, was one of the first nine church members and was elected one of the first Trustees. Mr. Anthony's wife was the first adults baptized in our church. She taught Sunday School for many years. 
E. G. Wente Window
It was presented at Christmas, 1927. Its emblem was selected as a fitting symbol of our Valley. It is a standing sheaf of grain with bunches of grapes drooping down the sides. At that time, hay, grain and grapes were the Valley's chief products. Ernest G. Wente was in the warehouse business and the Wente family were viticulturists. 
Geo F. Tubbs Window
It was presented at Christmas, 1927. Its emblem is an anchor with the word 'Hope' written on a bar through the center of the anchor. Frieda Wente Tubbs recalls, "Having been in the Navy during World War I, George said, with his usual keen sense of humor, that every sailor needed an anchor."

experience The elegance and majesty of our wood-paneled sanctuary, (corner of 4th and L St), which holds 450 guests

The four windows surrounding our sanctuary are made of faceted-glass. Chunks of glass are chipped by hand to reflect the light. The concrete holding them is shaped so that it becomes an integral part of the design. The faceted glass process is one in which both glass and concrete have an important aesthetic role. The chunks of glass are chipped by hand to reflect the appropriate light. The concrete which holds them Is also shaped so that it becomes and integral part of the design. In the history of stained glass, the only broadly important technical breakthrough since Medieval times came with the development of faceted glass.  

Jesus as Interpreted by Matthew: The window above the pulpit

Matthew's story of Jesus stands first in the New Testament order. Reminding us by its emphasis on Jewish history that the background of Jesus was Judaism. The author sees Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, the fulfillment of Old Testament hopes. He is the new Moses, a teacher of righteousness with a law that shall be written in men's hearts. So concerned is Matthew that Jesus' words and actions be remembered that he is careful to arrange his book in as useful an order as possible. He groups the teachings in five great discourses according to subject matter. These are followed by narratives showing Jesus as he acts out in his life the words he has taught. Notice how the window reflects these emphases. The focus is on the upper half of Jesus' body. One hand is reaching upward as if in contact with the Father. The other hand reflects his desire to interpret God to man. The purples and blues of royalty heighten this impression of a mediator. The artist has used the classic passage of the Sermon on the Mount. Notice the three listening figures below, the suggestion of mountains in the background, the Hebrew symbol for "blessed" overhead. You can almost hear Jesus as he emphasizes his teaching. "Everyone who hears these words and does them will be like a man who built his house upon a rock." In Memory of: Mr. John C. Huber, By: Mrs. Rose A. Huber, Mr. & Mrs. Oren J. Huber 

Jesus as Interpreted by Mark: The window next to the courtyard

The gospel of Mark was the earliest to be written. The book is compact, realistic, and fast-paced. Many of the small details of Jesus' life are found here...his love, anger, grief, amazement, and above all, that integrity and authority which set him apart from other men. Here is the portrait of a man determined to do God's will in the face of great opposition.

Note the strong stance of the figure of Jesus, the feet firmly planted on the ground, the muscular body, the hand upraised in authority, the set of the face. The window reminds us of a key scene in Mark --- the cleansing of the temple. Small figures can be seen retreating in the center right. Here is the man of authority who moves with action, who conflicts with destructive religious and political powers. The earthy greens and blues tie Jesus to the world of men. Determined to do God's will he calls others to join Him. "Follow me." In Memory of: Earl W. Holcomb, Jr. and Kalbert George Lowe, By: Mr. and Mrs. Earl W. Holcomb, Sr. 

Jesus as Interpreted by Luke: The window above the baptismal font

Luke was a traveling companion of Paul the apostle, and his book reflects Jesus' interest in the world beyond Judaism. His dominant theme is that Jesus is the Savior of the whole world and especially of the despised and outcast. He reminds us that the gospel is for all men, and it is offered first where the need is the greatest. Only in Luke do we find Jesus' story of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, Zacchaeus, etc. Chapters 15-19 have been called the "gospel of the outcast" for in them is concentrated Jesus' teaching about God's care for those whom men despise and condemn, teaching which calls into question man's self-righteous pride. 

Here in the window is Jesus seen as the Good Samaritan. In the warmth of the red tones and in the swirling lines which seem to draw the figures together Jesus compassionately identifies with the sufferer. The love reflected in the face of Jesus and in his gesture of caring suggests that he shares the man's pain. Especially is the man's agony reflected in the eye of Jesus. 

In Memory of: Hans, R. and Anna S. Nissen, Charles, Margaret, Henrietta, Roger, Janes, Louis and Otto Nissen, By: May Nissen 

Jesus as Interpreted by John: The window looking toward 4th & L Streets

John's gospel was written much later than the others and is more theological in nature. The writer, in a concluding chapter, suggests that he chose his material from the life of Jesus in order to show that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing; you may have life in his name." 

Jesus, in the book of John, is seen as the revelation of God -- the WORD of God. He is the clear, full expression in human life of the nature and purpose of God. He calls himself the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the true vine, the way, the truth and the life. Throughout the book is the note of victory. "In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 

In the window the victorious Christ is seen. The gold’s of deity predominate. Halos of light, seen in the other windows to some extent, here gloriously reflect his oneness with God. There is a sense of his being the light of the world in the midst of darkness. His confident stride and beckoning hand welcome us. "Come unto me." This is a window of victory and resurrection. 

In Memory of: Mr. Rasmus A. Hansen, By: Mr. H. Ross Hansen, Mrs. Rae Hansen Ising, Mrs. Mabel R. Hansen 

 

In 1955, a generous gift from a family allowed the Church to install a two-manual Baldwin Model 5 electronic organ.The pipe organ dreams persisted, however, so when the present sanctuary was being designed the congregation believed that suitable pipe chambers should be provided. Consequently, organ experts were consulted as to the proper size and configuration of the chambers. The recommendations were followed in the new construction which was completed in 1965.

In January, 1963 an organ committee was formed to determine whether the Baldwin electronic organ already in the chapel was adequate for the new sanctuary. If not, the committee was charged to set specifications for electronic and pipe organs for the sanctuary. The committee decided that the existing Baldwin was not adequate. The committee's assignment was then expanded to include obtaining funding and actually procuring a new instrument.

A fundamental difficulty lay in deciding whether it was the Christian approach to spend so much money on an expensive organ when many poor people, both near and far, were going hungry. Should we build a cathedral or should we spend this money on benevolences? Within our church the issue was also quite focused on another point - should we limit such expenditures for the sake of maintaining a third minister? Under these conflicting priorities the Session was not very active in promoting an expensive pipe organ and chose to leave such a commitment to the initiative of individuals within the church.

In choosing an instrument some of the choices can be quantified, primarily the purchase price, the maintenance cost, and the expected life of the instrument. After these came the evaluation of the tone qualities and capabilities of the instrument, highly subjective areas.

At this time employees of the growing Lawrence Livermore and Sandia Laboratories formed new life in our church, and being specialists at the cutting edge of technology many, but not all, of them believed that with modern science and technology the sounds of pipe organs could be very accurately reproduced by electronic circuits at a much lower cost. Others disagreed, feeling that although this might be true in theory, in practice existing electronic organs were much inferior in tone to pipe organs.

In trying to establish some order in this muddled situation the committee visited organ installations at other churches and heard other pipe organs built by Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., M.P. Moller, Inc., Casavant Frères, Holtkamp Organs, Swain and Kates, and Wicks Organ Co. These organs included two- and three-manual installations with estimated prices ranging from $35,000 to $45,000. The committee members made efforts to classify these organs and to establish an order or preference among them. They considered cost, construction quality, and the sound quality of each instrument, particularly those of the flutes, strings, reeds, mixtures, and ensemble blend.

Meanwhile, the funding program for a new organ was not going well, so the committee turned more attention toward used pipe organs and electronic organs. No acceptable used pipe organ could be found, leaving electronic organs as the remaining contenders. At about this time the technology of building electronic organs was in a state of flux with the introduction of solid state circuits. But, the committee had to consider existing models. At that time the Allen Company, one of the two manufacturers preferred by the committee, presented their newly developed model the 600D. This was a two-manual electronic organ with good tone, incorporating several new features, including the capability of inserting a computer card to augment the stop list of the various sections. The organ was purchased for $16,000, the console was installed in the sanctuary and speakers were mounted in the pipe loft, and it was ready for use in 1973.

The 18-year-old Baldwin it replaced was returned to the chapel but was not adequate for some events, such as weddings. Eventually, in 1984, it was replaced with a used Allen Model 423C electronic organ. This model was similar to the one installed in the sanctuary although it was considerably smaller and included fewer speakers.

Our Allen organ served the congregation well for nearly twenty years. During that time many members and friends of the church continued to be interested in the ultimate goal of obtaining a pipe organ for the sanctuary. This interest heightened when it became apparent that the electronic organ was showing signs of age and would need to be replaced. A three-year fund raising drive "Restoration and Renovation" to raise money to address long overdue maintenance and capital improvement projects had raised $80,000 toward a new organ. Conversations about used pipe organs were not uncommon around the church and donations to the organ fund, both individual contributions and concert proceeds, were begun. In 1992, responding to this climate, the Session impaneled a committee to determine the feasibility of realizing the long held congregational dream of purchasing a pipe organ. Members of earlier organ committees furnished valuable information and unfailing support.

As it became clear that there would be no grants for that purpose, the committee asked the Session for three months in which to hold a pledge drive. Through a combination of the Restoration and Renovation drive seed money, bequests, one-time gifts, concert revenue, and pledges, the $300,000 goal to purchase a new pipe organ was achieved. The Session then expanded the charter of the committee to include selecting an organ builder.

The committee visited a number of organ installations, listening to the instruments and talking with members of the churches involved and to representatives of organ builders. These representatives also gave presentations at our church. The primary aim of the committee was to purchase a pipe organ to enhance worship in our sanctuary; concert considerations were secondary. We wanted the best organ we could find for the purpose of enhancing our experiences in the worship of God.

In late October, 1994 the Organ Committee met to vote on specifications submitted by five organ builders. After careful consideration a contract with Casavant Frères was accepted.

The organ was installed in time for use at Christmas services in December, 1995. A formal dedication recital as an element of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore was performed on February 11, 1996.

The congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore views this fine musical instrument, the 32 stop, 38 rank Casavant Frères Opus 3748 pipe organ as the realization of long held dreams and plans for our sanctuary; a beautiful example of craftsmanship, artistry, sound, caring, cooperation and giving dedicated to the glory of God. (See Casavant Frères at http://www.casavant.ca). Prepared by Myron Heuesinkveld and Peggy Burdick.

Since earliest times, bells in church towers have been rung to call parishioners to worship, celebrate or announce services and special events such as weddings and funerals.

As churches built towers with multiple bells, bell ringers began to form choirs who rang increasingly difficult patterns. A practice, which today is called change ringing. practicing, was difficult in cold, drafty towers, and of course noisy! The small number of bells and the strength and stamina required to move the heavy bells limited the performances. Handbells were originally developed to allow the ringers to practice the patterns (which had to be memorized) indoors in relative comfort. Over the years, handbell ringing has developed into an art form of its own.

Handbell choirs ring from two to five octaves. The bells are set up in keyboard order on padded tables. Each person in the choir is usually responsible for two notes and their sharps and flats. Ringers at the upper and lower ends sometimes have additional notes. Ringers wear gloves in order to avoid tarnishing the bells.

Handbells can be rung using a variety of techniques. In order to get a more percussive sound they can be played with mallets or struck on the padded tables using techniques such as plucks and marts. (Mart is short for Martallato, the name given to the technique of gently striking the bell on the table to produce a muted tone.) The American Guild of English Handbell Ringers has developed a notation system for techniques that is unique to handbells.

Bell music is printed in full score fashion (like piano music) and each ringer is responsible for finding and playing his or her notes as they come. A pianist uses all ten fingers to play the keys of a piano. When a bell choir rings, each individual is like one finger, each working together to play the right notes at the right time. Thus, ringing handbells requires coordination and teamwork analogous to an orchestra. When one ringer is absent, that person's notes are missing!

Through fundraising and many gifts, additional bells and hand chimes were gradually added to the original three octaves. Currently, the church owns five octaves of Schulmerich Handbells and 4+ octaves of Malmark hand chimes.

Five octaves of bells translated to 61 bells (A piano has seven octaves and 88 keys) Bells are numbered by octaves. Middle C on the piano translates to C5. The church’s lowest note and largest bell is C3, the highest C8. Each bell is cast, polished and set to ring on a specific spot so that when the clapper strikes the inside of the bell it is in tune. The clapper is on a pivot inside the bell, allowing the ringer to control the timing and loudness of the bell as it is rung.

Many different techniques are used to change the sound of the bells. Bells can be plucked, malleted and struck gently against the table to create a variety of percussive sounds.

Our new Malmark hand chimes look like hollow, tubular tuning forks. The church has four complete octaves with some additional fifth octave base chimes. The clapper is on the outside of the chime. The same bell techniques are used to ring hand chimes. The chimes are much lighter in weight than bells. The sound they produce is mellower than a bell and is reminiscent of a wind chime hanging in the backyard. The church often combines the bells and chimes within a given piece, creating an interesting blend of sounds. Some of the bass chimes sound like an organ pipe and they resonate for longer than the note value of a comparable bell.

Get in touch with us!

we are happy to answer your questions

Call: 925.447.2078  |  Email: office@fpcl.us

Church office hours: 9:00 AM  - 3:00 PM Monday -Friday

Summer office hours: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Monday -Friday Mid-June/Mid August