Ebenezer United Methodist Church Moves into the Future Once Step at a Time
With 1,800 new homes under construction nearby, this church is preparing for growth.

Article


Ebenezer
The Ebenezer United Methodist Church (Stafford, Va.) has embarked on a strategy of upgrading the A/V systems one piece at a time, starting with the sound system.
February 20, 2013 By Dan Daley

The 157-year-old Ebenezer United Methodist Church, in Stafford, VA, a suburb of Washington, D.C., has grown considerably in the 10 years since its current sanctuary opened.

Now, as the housing slump of the last five years begins to recede, the church is watching as construction of an estimated 1,800 new homes is poised to start on land adjacent to the church’s lot, with hundreds more homes in the area also planned for.

That represents a huge potential new base for the church, which currently serves 1,200 congregants in its 500-seat sanctuary. At the same time, the proximity of all of this new residential construction limits the church’s options for its own expansion.

The irony of the possibility of a huge influx into the church’s community and the limited number of options that it brings with it is not lost on James Mills, Ebenezer UMC’s director of Technology. “We’re geographically unique,” he says, also noting the church’s nearness to the United States Marine Corps’ headquarters base in Quantico, VA. “We’re about to have 1,800 new homes right next to us and the questions we’re asking ourselves is, how best to serve them? Do we go multi-site? Do we move to a larger site? Every option will come with a huge cost.”

For the time being, the big questions will have smaller answers. The first strategic response to actual and potential expansion of the congregation was to adds services, from four to five, making better use of all 24 hours on a Sunday and had the effect, says Mills, of “adding 500 more seats.”

The church now has four morning services and one evening service on Sundays, with three of them being contemporary worship style. This has underscored the shortcomings of A/V systems designed for the church the way it was a decade ago. A central-cluster main PA system and analog Mackie FOH mixer were sufficient for spoken word and traditional types of worship music but, Mills realized, they were underpowered for larger, the more energetic services the church was moving towards.

With budget considerations hanging over them, the church has embarked on a strategy of upgrading the A/V systems one piece at a time, starting with the sound system. The first piece in the A/V puzzle was the addition of a new Yamaha CL5 digital console, in time for the launch of its fourth morning service.

“Our decision to replace our existing analog console was based on three major factors,” states Mills. “It had to be a digital console since we have a tight turn-around of 15 minutes between services, and attempting to use an analog board to get accurate sound levels at each service would be very difficult. The console also had to physically fit in a tight space. And, as a church, we wanted to spend our money as wisely as possible, so looking at the long-term picture, it made sense to go with the CL5 knowing there would be plenty of room for growth.”

The new console also expanded the number of inputs on the stage to 32, and in the process allowed them to go to a networked pair of CAT-5 strands instead of 14 new copper-wire runs. “The console also has a lot of nice features that make it friendlier to our volunteer-operator environment, including channel labeling and plenty of room for custom banks,” he says.

The new console is also the pivot for the next phase of A/V upgrade, which Mills says will almost certainly be a replacement of the house sound system, from the current cluster design to a line array.

“We’ve really noticed that the existing system has really not kept up with our growth,” Mills says, noting that they’ve had to add fill speakers to improve coverage and subs to accommodate contemporary music. Assuming the church’s two projectors continue to hold up, video upgrades will likely follow in a few years.

In addition to enhancing the worship experience, what an upgraded A/V complement will do is give Ebenezer UMC a bit of breathing room as it tries to plot its next strategic moves to accommodate an expansion of its community. Mills points out that most new systems, like the Yamaha digital console, can come with the church if it decides to move, and digital’s lower overall costs and economies help reduce costs if they choose to go for satellite locations.

“There are a lot of decisions we’re going to have to face,” he says. “At least for the console, that’s one we’ve already made.”

Work Smarter: Keep Ahead of the Competition

Keep up with the changing A/V world with Commercial Integrator. Each issue makes it easy to understand and apply the latest A/V trends and techniques — whether you deal with UHDTV, wireless AV, Digital Video/IPTV, networking, HDBaseT or HDMI.
It's not enough to keep up with the competition. You need to stay ahead of them. Subscribe to Commercial Integrator today for the latest techniques and insights you need to drive your business.

View the 5 photos attached to this entry
         
View photos
About the author
Veteran reporter Dan Daley is based in New York City and Nashville, Tenn.
View all posts by Dan Daley
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
Back to School: 25 Popular Educational Solutions for This School Year

Interactive whiteboards, wireless presentation systems, full-range ceiling speakers and laser projectors are just a few of the education solutions on the market to help schools and universities solve learning challenges during the 2016-2017 school year.

This Never-Been-Done-Before LED Installation Is Transforming Shoppers’ Experiences
12 of Forbes’ 100 Richest Tech Billionaires Who Have Ties to AV
40 CI Influencers Under 40: Class of 2016
Jaguar: The Art of Projection Mapping
View more photo galleries
White Paper:
Your #1 Source for Expanding Your Recurring-Revenue Practice

Adding to your service offering is challenging. We get it. ConnectWise has helped countless technology solution providers reconfigure their business for the future by adding new practice areas and building monthly recurring revenue.

Webcast: Discover the Secrets of Leveraging Third-Party Labor
Webcast: How to Build Your Broadcast Technology Capabilities
White Paper: Ignorance, Defiance on ADA Compliance Among Regulatory Nightmares
White Paper: Secrets to Installing Outdoor Audio-Video Safely
White Paper: New Standard Revs Up Networking Game
White Paper: 7 Tips for Rolling Out University Digital Signage
White Paper: From Chaos to Control - Your Guide to Business Efficiency
View more papers or webcasts


Recent comments

Excellent summary Mike.. in particular that the size and prominent placement of video walls and tiled displays…

Posted by LyleBunn on 2016 08 22 · commented on
'Q & A: Mvix Explains Why You Should Choose Video Walls Over Digital Signage'.

IMS Technology Services has the privilege of making the list for the 5th year in a row.  This year #4532. …

Posted by Michael Shinn on 2016 08 21 · commented on
'Herman Integration Services Named No. 110 on the Inc. 5000 2016 List'.

Congrats to the entire 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.

Posted by Christopher Neto on 2016 08 17 · commented on
'40 CI Influencers Under 40: Class of 2016'.

Thank YOU. It was a lot of fun. And congrats on having the most brightly colored beer.

Posted by Tom LeBlanc on 2016 08 16 · commented on
'The Evolution of Media: Why It Matters to the Industry'.