Church Musician Mandate

I received my first appointment as an (amateur) church organist in a small Reformed church in Baarn, the Netherlands when I was 15 years old (still learning). The consistory provided with a document outlining their expectations. Every year I had a review and was reappointed.

I translated this document hoping that it may be of service to a Reformed church somewhere.

Regulation for the Organists at the Reformed Church at […]

1. Organist(s)

a. The organist(s) will be a member of the Reformed Church at […] or one of its sister churches. 
b. Appointment and dismissal of organist(s) is the responsibility of the consistory. The consistory only appoints organists after having sought the advice of professional church musicians. Professional certification will be considered an asset. Dismissal due to not fulfilling the requirements described in this regulation is only possible after consultation with an independent committee of professionals. 
c. The skills of organist(s) should be as such that they can provide adequate musical accompaniment during the worship services. 
d. The consistory distinguishes between the head organist and any assistant organist(s).

2. Duties

a. The organist(s) provide adequate accompaniment of the congregational singing during the church services and other meetings organized by the consistory. 
b. As a rule, the organ music will start at least 10 minutes before the worship service. After the service, the organist will play until the worshipers have left the sanctuary. 
c. Organ music before and after the service and during the service will be in harmony with the character and style of the worship service. 
d. The organists make arrangements for replacement during vacation or sickness if needed through the services of an organist of a sister church. Guest organists will be informed of the regulations for organist(s) as defined by the consistory. 
e. Any decisions by the council relating to the musical aspect of the worship services, or the instruments, will only be made after the involvement/consultation of the organist(s).

3. Responsibilities

a. The organist(s) are responsible for the instruments in the church building. If others use these instruments, this will be under the supervision of the organist(s). The organist(s) will handle with discretion in this matter. Organist(s) will be issued a set of church keys and are responsible for the use of these keys.

4. Weddings and Funerals

The consistory will contact the head organist at least ten days before a wedding and minimally three days before a funeral. The head organist will, in consideration of the policies of the consistory, provide an organist for these services.

5. Evaluation

The consistory (or a delegation) will meet with the organist(s) annually for an evaluation. The value, importance, and meaning of the role of church organists will be reviewed in these meetings, as well as the individual performance.

6. Remuneration and Professional Membership

The consistory determines the remuneration for organists and will reviewed this annually. Membership in a professional organization for organists and active participation in its activities is strongly encouraged. Advancement in professional church music certification is highly encouraged. The consistory will reimburse expenses for membership, exams, and professional development activities.

7. Other

In all cases where this regulation does not provide, the consistory will make a decision.

Approved by the consistory in its meeting on […]

(Disclaimer: this is *not* meant for hired organists, official organist positions, career organists, churches with choirs, etc. but for reformed churches where they are happy with anyone who wants to play organ or piano, providing them with some direction).

Posted on: October 24, 2017, by :