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Job Opening

Part Time Organist

Iowa City, Iowa (IA), USA 52245




First United Methodist Church, Iowa City is seeking an experienced part-time organist beginning on August 15, 2017 or until position filled. 



As a member of the staff team of FUMC, the organist is a part of and has shared responsibility for the vision and mission of the congregation.


JOB STATUS:  Part time.   

12-month position, estimated 10-12 hours per week plus preparation time.  Evening and weekend hours as described below.

FLSA:   Salaried Exempt

Supervised by:  Director of Worship and Music Ministries

Reporting Relationship:  Lead Pastor, S/PRC, and Worship Planning Committee

Job Summary: FUMC has a rich heritage of high quality music as an integral part of worship, as a way for many people to feel the presence of God.  The organist has a special and powerful role: as a member of the worship planning team, as selector of suitable service music, as a leader of congregational hymns, as a team member with the choirs and choir directors, as an accompanist, and as a soloist.



~ Participate in Worship Planning

Participate in Worship Planning Meetings (typically Tuesday 9:00-10:30 AM). Hymns are typically chosen by the pastor who is preaching; choir pieces are selected by the choir directors.  Work closely with the team to plan service music that fits with the lectionary themes and offer suggestions for hymns.  Select suitable solo music for the services in cooperation with the Director of Worship and Music Ministries, and provide titles and composers to the church office on Tuesday morning before worship planning meeting.

~ Provide meaningful organ/piano music for 2 Sunday worship services each week

Music at a typical service might consist of gathering music, a prelude, several congregational hymns, a piece with the choir, music during communion, a piece for offertory, a doxology, and a postlude.  Services typically start at 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM.  There is warm-up time for the choir ahead of the services for which they sing.

~ Provide organ music for hymn sings

On the fifth Sunday of the month, there is a hymn sing that starts about 15 minutes before the service.  Hymns are typically chosen impromptu upon request, so sight-reading is required.




~ Provide meaningful organ/piano music for special worship services

Typical examples of special services include Blue Christmas, Christmas Eve (four services), Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.   As needed, provide keyboard accompaniment for the Sunday 9:15 AM contemporary worship service.  Subject to availability, provide organ music for special services not mentioned above; if not available, assist in the hiring of substitute organist.

~ Accompany the choirs during rehearsals

Chancel Choir (adult choir) rehearsal is 7:00-8:30 PM on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings before worship services, late August through June.  There may be other rehearsals as needed.

Grace Notes (women’s choir) rehearsal is 6:00-7:00 PM on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings before worship services, early September through May.  There may be other rehearsals as needed.

Typical Children’s Choir rehearsal is Sunday afternoon, September through May.

~ Accompany vocal soloist or instrumentalist during Sunday Services

Accompany vocal soloists or instrumentalists during Sunday Services as requested.  Although less frequent during the academic year, vocal soloists and instrumentalists typically perform during the summer months when the choir is off.  Such accompaniment may require rehearsal with the vocal soloist or instrumentalist, similar to rehearsal with the choir.



~ At the request of the families our organist will be called to play for all weddings and funerals held at the church

The organist fee is set by the pastor and/or funeral director.  Such fees are additional non-salaried compensation. If organist is unable to play, it is his/her responsibility to find a suitable substitute.

~ Provide proper care for the organ and pianos  

Report maintenance needs to the Director of Worship and Music Ministries, Facility Manager, and/or Trustees.

~ Attend other church meetings 

As needed and as scheduled, attend meeting of the Church Staff, Worship Ministry Team, Board of Trustees, Administrative Council, and Charge Conference.

~ Maintain and grow skills

Maintain keyboard skills while learning new repertoire through regular practice; participate in professional organizations of your choice related to worship and music; participate in continuing education events upon consultation with the Director of Worship and Music Ministries.



~ Plentiful and flexible practice time on our organ

You will have high priority in choice of practice times.

~ Teaching privileges and recital opportunities.

The organist is permitted to use the organ and piano for private teaching, provided that use of the facilities is scheduled in advance so as to not interfere with other church events.  


~ A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in organ is required (master’s degree is preferred).

~ Proficiency at organ and piano performance and accompaniment, including playing of solo pieces, accompaniment of choirs, vocal soloists and instrumentalists, and leading congregational hymns.

~ Ability to sight read music and to follow the conductors, vocal soloists, or instrumentalists.

~ Understand and assist with the order and flow, style, and context of the worship service.

~ Knowledge of and ability to select Christian music appropriate for solo pieces (e.g., gathering music, prelude, offertory, music for communion, postlude).

~ Familiarity with and ability to perform a wide variety of music styles including classical, gospel, and contemporary. 



~ Able to move freely about the church (organ/choir loft, sanctuary, choir practice room) and play organ with both hands and feet.

~ Able to visually read music and hear choir, soloist, etc.



~ Spiritual Maturity:

Love God and people.  Shows strong personal depth and spiritual grounding; demonstrates integrity by walking the talk, and by responding with constancy of purpose; is seen by others as trustworthy and authentic; nurtures a rich spiritual life; and seeks the wisdom and guidance of appropriate mentors. 

~ Interpersonal Skills: 

Establishes good working relationships with all others who are important to the completion of work; works well with people at all levels of the congregation; builds appropriate rapport; considers the impact his/her actions on others; uses tact and diplomacy; is approachable; avoids communion triangles.

~ Team Orientation: 

Demonstrates interest, skill and success in team environments; promotes group goals ahead of personal agendas; steps up to offer self as a resource to 

offer self and other team members; understands and supports the importance of teamwork; shares credit for success with others; takes responsibility for his/her part in team failures.

~ Technical Expertise:  

Acquires and demonstrates the technical skills required to proficiently execute the essential functions of the job; understands which skills are lacking and seeks to develop those skills; continually works toward mastery of technical proficiency.

~ Creativity and Innovation:

Generates new ideas; makes new connections among existing ideas to create fresh approaches; takes acceptable risks in pursuit of innovation; learns from mistakes; has good judgment about which creative ideas and suggestions will work.




~ per Offer of Employment document (minimum $14,000)

~ benefits (including paid vacation) per FUMC Personnel Manual


Interested applicant is invited to submit:

1. Cover letter and résumé

2. List of three references with contact information 

3. Recent service bulletins and concert programs, if available

4. CD/tape/DVD/video of recent performances, if available


Reviews will begin immediately.  Application received by June 1, 2017 will be given preference.  


Send application materials to:

Organist Search Committee

c/o Samuel Kwok, Director of Worship and Music Ministries

First United Methodist Church

214 East Jefferson Street

Iowa City, IA 52245

Tel: 319-337-2857