Coral Ridge Presbyterian in Fort Lauderdale houses one of the nation's greatest pipe organs, but this week it no longer has an organist. Tipsters to the Juice say that Sam Metzger, the church's senior organist, playing in the video above, left his post last week, along with the church's Minister of Music Dr. John Wilson, apparently in defiance of the new pastor, Rev. Tullian Tchividjian.
For the last few months, the legendary church has been caught in a civil war between Tchividjian's new school approach and the old school members who seem to think he and his young followers lack respect for the ministerial tradition of Rev. James Kennedy.
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Despite the effort by those traditionalists to send Tchividjian packing, on September 20 the church members voted overwhelmingly to keep Tchividjian as pastor, leading to talk that the old schoolers will split off to form their own church.
But to one of Metzger's non-Presbyterian colleagues it's hard to imagine a dispute that would lead an organist to abandon an instrument like the one at that church.
"It's the most prestigious organist job in Broward County -- because it's the biggest organ in the region," says the local organist, a member of Broward's chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Metzger and Wilson did not be immediately return messages seeking comment.
UPDATE: Neither Metzger nor Wilson have returned calls, but in a church letter circulated to members Tchividjian confirmed the departures of the two. He says he didn't ask for their resignations, that he "loves both men" but that Wilson felt called to serve another church and that Metzger simply lost his own call to serve Coral Ridge Presbyterian.