JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Musician James Taylor is using his Facebook site to help to promote a Jeffersonville church that's raising money to move and install a new pipe organ.
Ellyn Kusmin, Taylor's assistant, wrote an email to the Rev. Donald Hill, co-pastor of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, saying she had seen a Dec. 24 article in The Courier-Journal about the church.
"We would like to help in some way," Kusmin wrote Dec. 25.
A link to The Courier-Journal story posted Tuesday night on Taylor's Facebook page had garnered about 1,300 "likes" and had been shared more than 200 times within 24 hours.
And church officials are now planning an auction after Kusmin offered an item from Taylor's collection that she said he'll autograph and personalize for the highest bidder — a signed piece of music from Taylor's personal set for "Fire and Rain," parts that Kusmin said Taylor used on tour many years ago with the Pittsfield (Mass.) Symphony.
The auction date hasn't been set, but Hill, who leads the church with his wife, the Rev. Nancy Woodworth-Hill, said they've been overwhelmed by the musician's generosity.
"This came as a total surprise," Hill told the newspaper. "He's just an amazingly generous man."
So far, the group has raised more than $800 toward its $10,000 goal through a "crowdfunding" page called GoFundMe.
Instead of a receiving a cease-and-desist letter for using Taylor's 1970 copyrighted song "Fire and Rain" as background music in a YouTube video to promote the church fundraiser, Kusmin's Christmas email was much more kind.
"We would no doubt give permission to you for the limited life of this video 'cause,'" she wrote.
The small congregation recently restored the 118-year-old, Victorian-style building at 321 E. Market St. from residual damage that followed floods in 1937, 2007 and 2009, as well as a 1981 fire.
Its original pipe organ from 1894 was destroyed by the Great Flood of 1937. The 1981 fire destroyed its replacement organ and parish hall and damaged its sanctuary.
Recently, a pipe organ was donated, but church officials say it will cost $45,000 to disassemble, move and install in the church.