The performances often featured works by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Handel sung by a choir of more than 100 accompanied by Whitworth on a massive pipe organ.
Although the size of some mainstream Protestant congregations in Lexington has declined in recent years, the 1,800-member First United Methodist thrived and was especially popular for its all-music service every fifth Sunday.
Now members of the West High Street church say it is suffering from a painful division after the September firing of Whitworth, 70.
The numbers of those singing in the choir have dropped from more than 100 to about 30, members say. And Sunday attendance at the downtown church dropped by nearly 200 from mid-April to mid-October, according to church bulletins.