H.O.W. Installations: South Haven Baptist Church

by Debi Moen
in Features
The church turned to Paragon 360 for an assist with their visual transformation.
The church turned to Paragon 360 for an assist with their visual transformation.

Missouri Church’s Modern Lighting Upgrade Creates Warm Family Vibe

A couple of years ago, South Haven Baptist Church in Springfield, MO faced up to a challenge. Its lighting was outdated and uneven. Sight lines in the sanctuary made it difficult for the live and video streaming services of its worship services. While searching for a modern solution, senior pastor Ryan Palmer says they also wanted the environment to exude more of a warm, family feel to welcome parishioners.

The church approached Paragon 360, a local company that works nationwide in transforming houses of worship with a turnkey design solution. While South Haven had partnered with Paragon 360 on small projects in the past, this was the church’s first large-scale renovation project. Consultations began in 2015, design work started in 2016 and the installation was completed in April 2017.

Ron Robertson, the VP of Paragon 360 and head of design and lighting, tells PLSN of the design considerations and their solutions. There were a few things the pastor held sacred to the sanctuary and restricted from alterations, he says. The major “must keep” on the list was the dark wood ceiling, a part of what Palmer calls “the church’s identity.”

To accommodate this request, the rigging team from Paragon 360 used custom-made beam brackets to rig the new truss to the existing structure. A total of 90 feet of truss was hung, using 18-by-12-inch black powder coated sticks from Applied Electronics. This allowed for a modern lighting system, along with many custom scenic and staging elements in the renovation.

The church had several lighting issues that needed to be resolved. Robertson explains, “The front key light positions were located only from the side columns in the church, creating an uneven wash, as well as bad shadowing. Adding new front truss and side light positions corrected this. Now the church has an even wash at the correct angles for both live events and video streaming.

“Second, South Haven did not have any backlighting at all. Paragon 360 added a new light position with all Chauvet ColorDash Hex 12 pars. This allows the church to have the fixtures at the correct color temperature for both live and video purposes, as well as have colored backlight when appropriate.

“Finally, the church did not have any way to have texture and color surrounding the platform area and out in the congregation. Paragon designed and built set pieces that allow the church to add the color and texture that was missing, including Paragon’s signature custom design/build columns and sconces that line the sides of the worship center to pull color out in the house surrounding the congregation.”

 The dark wood ceiling is part of the church's identity, according to Paragon 360's Ron Robertson. Along with ETC Source Four Ellipsoidals, the renovated lighting system includes 14 Chauvet COLORDash Par Hex 12 fixtures.

The Fixtures

Paragon 360 designed, fabricated and installed 14 wall sconces with LED lighting units, as well as a new baptistery that takes center stage on the sanctuary platform. The lighting system includes 26 ETC Source Four Ellipsoidal fixtures, with dimming powered by 10 ETC SmartBar 2 units.

Discussing each lighting equipment choice, Robertson starts with ETC. “The ETC Source Four Ellipsoidals were chosen because we can create an even wash, but also have control over what areas of the stage are lit, staying off set pieces and screens. We accomplish this by using Rosco 119 diffusion gel to help blend the fixtures. We then work with the focus to not only make sure it is even front to back and left to right, but that it can also still be able to zone the stage out and maintain the light level needed. Now the church can make sure they only light the parts of the platform they want to create the visual focus necessary during services, as well as have the appropriate light levels. The ETC Smart dimming bars allow the church to have individual control of each conventional fixture.”

The new lighting system also includes 14 Chauvet COLORDash Par Hex 12 fixtures, which Robertson credits for the color mixing and matching that the church needs. “With the RGBAWUV LEDs, the fixture can be colored to the correct color temperature for backlighting, and can also color match anything on the screens or live on the platform that the church wants. In the frosted glass set pieces on the upstage wall, we used the Iluminarc Ilumiline 12 fixtures because of their size and light output. We needed a slim fixture to fit in a tight space, but also have the light output and color mixing needed. The same can be said for the COLORdash Accent Quad used in the custom-built sconces. It was the correct fixture to fit and has the color mixing needed.” All LED fixtures in the scenic elements are also Chauvet units.

A High End Systems Hoglet lighting console controls the entire system. As Robertson says, “High End’s Hoglet console has all the power the church needs and more. This is a very powerful control surface, and easily takes care of the weekly services and special events at the church. As an added bonus, the Hoglet console comes in at a price point that helps it fit in tight budgets.”

A Warm Reception

Senior pastor Ryan Palmer says the congregation has responded positively to the renovation. “One of our core values is family. We wanted our space to communicate the warmth and welcome of being in God’s family room, he says. “Paragon 360 modernized our audio, video and lighting while retaining some classic features of our space in a way that captured our vision and values.”

Paragon 360’s CEO, Donnie Brawner, says the company is certainly not exclusively in the worship market, but they have become design leaders in church space renovation because they’re providing church solutions that don’t exist anywhere else. This has fueled their growth in the market.

Says Brawner, “we have designed and implemented solutions to so many of the most common issues surrounding today’s churches. We are not just replacing their AVL but we are changing the entire experience in the space from AVL to rigging, acoustics, scenic and staging, interior design and seating for far less cost and less time than would be possible in a regular construction/renovation method. We are also providing 100 percent accountability for the project, designed and managed under one roof. Paragon 360 is providing real, church growth solutions.”

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