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Contemporary lighting in evangelical Church services

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Here's some pictures of some of the lighting we've achieved at our Church for the major services at Christmas and Easter last year.


Contemporary Christmas Carol Service 2004

Front view of the stage with the band in action singing a carol.


Another view with the service title on the central projection screen


The band in profile


A distant view of the proceedings – yes those are real candle chandeliers suspended.


A monologue explaining the three wisemen. The “practical†star was improvised using a 6 D cell maglite attached to the ladder.


Video and sound desks in the background. Lighting hard at it with the Zero 88 Sirius 48 in the foreground.



Front lights – 2 x 6 way PAR bars

Backlights – 2 x Futurelight PCC-250CMY colour changers

Effects – 2 x High End Cyberlight CX

Even the tree and lit Christmas presents were remote controlled with a switchpack and DeMux (how else do you do blackouts?)

Dramatical front lighting – Source 4 JRs

Front lighting for talking heads – Source 4 ParNels.


Zero 88 Sirius desk for conventional lights

Light Processor Q Commander for moving lights


Easter 2004 (in the round):


This was achieved with a few PAR16 birdies, and some Minuettes (for the red)


Contemporary Church lighting raises some interesting technical challenges for control. At my Church, on the outskirts of London, we have been researching lighting solutions to upgrade our existing architectural lighting system, as the Church's requirements have grown considerably.


So far, the Zero 88 Bull frog, Frog Box and Frog Screen seem to be the best products which come closest to bridging the gap between architectural lighting control (think iLight) and theatrical (think Frog). A modern evangelical Church needs both types of control simultaneously, to accommodate technical and non-technical users. We use a Sirius 48 at the moment patched into a Lutron dimming system, which is very limiting when used beyond the faders and submasters. We've brought in a Q Commander for a few moving lights at Christmas as shown above.


Sorry it’s a long post. Hopefully this will be inspiration for those of you involved in Church lighting. Every time we have pushed the boat out a little further with out lighting ideas, and as long as we've been sensitive to following the needs of the event, we've always been allowed to do it, and had great feedback afterwards.


Any thoughts/comments welcome.

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I'll keep this brief as its a bit outside of the scope of the forum but:


(The Church is a typical Cross-shaped Church of England Church, accomodating about 380 seated in main nave, side aisles and transepts). 2 permanent Da-lite screens either side, front projected by 2 EIKI 1500 ANSI lumens projectors (old and not bright enough!).

The central rear projection screen you can see was with an NEC projector (2000 lumens I think, which we just get away with). This is temporarily rigged for services that require it - it get use at least once a month now.


We have a PC with dual head graphics cards and 15" TFTs. Powerpoint is used for sermons, whilst Media Shout is used for song lyrics. Other Churches we know use Song Pro.


Video material is prepared on Mini-DV, DVD and SVHS. We run on composite video at present, but hope to go component with new projectors in the future, in order to improve quality.


Hope this helps.

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Hi Bright Spark


If you want to combine architectural and DMX you should also have a look at our Chilli Range of dimmers. With the Pro versions you can have a standard architectural lighting system complete with wall panel control that is over riden when DMX is present.

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Thanks Graham,


Yes, we had been considering the Chilli dimmers and are in conversation with an installer who is quoting us at present. My only reservation is that having wall panels controlling the dimmer directly may be a bit limiting, and if we have a frog screen attached to a frog box, would the status of the wall panels be reflected back on the frog screen? These and other issues we are exploring at present.

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You could control the dimmers using the Frog Box and a Frog Screen, in this case you could simply buy the plain dimmers. You would not need the Chillipros. You would use DMX as normal.


Where the Chillipros are good with the wall panels is if you don't want to break the lighting desk out. Assume you have a wedding on a Saturday, you could have programmed a look for the generic lights that lights the congregation at one level, the alter area at another and the choir at another. All this could be triggered by a minister or an organist without needing to have a lighting tech present. You could even go so far as saying have a special for a soloist, this could be activated by the minister or organist and once over push a button and back to the wedding preset. Lots of options.


For the bigger services plug in a lighting console, you override the ChilliNet and have complete control.


Not the best example probably but gives you and idea.

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Sorry it’s a long post. Hopefully this will be inspiration for those of you involved in Church lighting. Every time we have pushed the boat out a little further with out lighting ideas, and as long as we've been sensitive to following the needs of the event, we've always been allowed to do it, and had great feedback afterwards.


Any thoughts/comments welcome.


Looks really good! :) and really inspiring to know that church lighting is taking off!


Our church is pretty much the same in that if theres a big event, we push the boat out a little more and as long as what we do fits the service then its cool!

(if your interested a few pictures and details are on my website!)


We're looking at upgrading our sound and lighting too, we've just had some more LX bars put in overstage and a new 63a power outlet installed on stage! woohoo! :)


Was that a special lighting rig for those services?

I would be interested to see how you light your 'normal' services if you have any pictures?



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At Saddleback in the US they have gone way beyond candles, rock bands, circus tents, dancing, you name it they got!


Thanks....I'm the LD for Saddleback. Yes, we have definitely moved along.


The main Worship Center is:

1 - Hog III

18 - VL2000 Spot

8 - VL2000 Wash

200+ Conventionals


Tent 2:

4 - Coemar Panorama 1800 (houselights!!!!)

12 - Mac250+

30 - S4 Par w/Wybron Forerunner

6 - S4 Par N/C

1 - Fat Frog


Tent 3 (upgrade coming soon hopefully - Movers/Frog)

All S4 Leko/Par

ETC 48/96


I don't have any Tent pics on the site yet, but there are others. You can view them in the gallery at www.housetohalf.com.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, Good to know that other churches are moving ahead.

Here at Hear the Word minstries in Harare Zimbabwe, we light a 3500 seat auditorium with a variety of halogen downlighters, half of which I control via my Bull Frog, and 3 2410i's, and we are about to add a 1225i. I will then use this last to control all house lighting, which I am upgrading. I have a variety of lights, 60 par64s, some 56's and a selection of floods which I have designed and built myself. (I also do other development work for other sites, using this facility). We have two blondes (hanging on one of the FOH bars!!, unfortunately not with me on the desk) 8 OBY600 washers, 2 OBY500 Spots, and 2 OBY Follow spots. We cater for conferences, music events, award ceremonies, youth conventions and other stuff, as well as the "normal" church services. A lot of our sermons are captured for TV, so high levels of lighting are required.

We tend to run in 'mood' mode for praise and worship (songs and hymns!!!) which can get pretty lively, love the FROG function here, especially with the washers (600s) and then we run straight and very bright for the main service. Often we have powerpoint presentations or video clips, run through 2 x Phlips 2500ANSI lumen projectors, and bring the house and stage lighting down for that. If anyone is interested in more, please contact me, if you want some pics, I will try that as well

Regards to all

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