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December 2009 Hot Products and Services

It's that time of year again!

Last year, we brought you the products that caught our eye in 2008, and we're back to offer you this year's picks.

Throughout the year, every product we cover in the magazine is there because we think it's something that you will find useful, so we're excited about each and every one in all of our issues. Our sole mission is to help you make purchasing decisions, so we're all about products, all the time.

We receive numerous new product releases every single day. This is great news for you, as a church leader, because it means that your options for great products and services for your church are expanding daily. On our end, though, it makes it really hard to narrow down the list for our "best of the best" each year.

The receptiveness of churches to new technology is manifesting into a multitude of new products. It's an exciting time to be in the church market, as innovations abound to help you operate your facility more effectively and efficiently.

Here are some of the products that stood out to us this year.

The Defiant Chair from Church Chair
The Defiant Chair was designed and named specifically to defy high prices and cheap imported chairs. Made in America in Church Chair's own factory, you can expect the same legendary customer service and high quality as in all of their seating. The Defiant Chair is one of their best buys. Church Chair is reaching a quarter of a century of serving the world in seating beauty, comfort, elegance, quality, and value. Their past reputation has brought them to the present and will continue to serve you in the future. Ask about their Free Sample Chair Program. 

StageRight's Baptistery Covers
Gain complete use of your stage with StageRight's Baptistery Covers. Their covers are so sturdy that they feel like you are walking on permanent flooring, yet their lightweight construction means added safety and ease during placement and removal. No tool installation and easy assembly makes the transition quick and simple. Different surface options allow the unit to look built in and match your sanctuary aesthetics. 

RISO's ComColor Series
RISO's ComColor series of full-color inkjet printers are five powerful machines engineered to print high volumes at ultra high speed, year after year. Designed to give you the ultimate in ease of use, these advanced printers require virtually no operator training. They are extremely economical and consume minimal electricity. Unlike a copier that constantly heats a photoconductive print drum, the ComColor series use very little energy. It all adds up to the ideal solution for high-speed, high-volume, on-demand color printing with the ultimate in versatility, cost-efficiency, and ease of use.

ElDorado's Aerotech
Aerotech is a steel-reinforced composite bus that is highly resistant to impact, rust, and corrosion. The gel-coated exterior keeps its glossy finish for the life of the vehicle. Aerotech has been tested for 7 years/20,000 miles at the FTA testing facility and is also the only vehicle in its class crash tested in an automotive testing facility. The door frames, wheelchair lift frames, and step wells are made with stainless steel to ensure these critical, exposed areas will last. In business since 1979, their experienced dealer network is a large, long-standing commercial bus distribution organization. 

Scriptural Funding Campaign from TLC Ministries
TLC Ministries helps churches raise major funds for their building and renovation projects. Their Scriptural Funding Campaign consistently raises more funds, which saves the church a fortune in excessive interest. They pioneered and utilize the Ministry Approach, which places both giving and serving in its proper spiritual perspective. TLC offers the booklet "When Your Church Needs to Build" free to any church that asks for one. This very helpful booklet was one of the President's doctoral projects and includes helpful insights for each step of the building process.

Christie LW650
With WXGA resolution at 6500 ANSI lumens, this bright, high performance projector offers outstanding features at a low cost of ownership. Its inorganic 3LCD panels and 2500:1 contrast ratio merges long life, optical design with high quality picture performance. Incorporating 10-bit image processing, the Christie LW650 offers superior gray scale rendering and video with smooth artifact-free images. The Christie LW650 offers a clear advancement in lens shift technology, placing images in spaces where other projectors are unable to reach and without any digital correction required. The Christie LW650 is your congregations' choice for quality presentations, application flexibility, and low maintenance costs.

Wet Greene from Manning Lighting
The "Wet Greene" product family from Manning Lighting offers churches a variety of innovative options and looks for exterior lighting. Two sizes with six panel options capture arts and crafts, natural, and other themes, and they can be easily customized. Several acrylic lens colors and patterns, including alabaster and mica, also add to the appearance. Compact fluorescent lamps or LEDs provide energy efficient illumination. An emergency option is also available to help meet egress codes.

AS-1100 Wireless Personal Monitor from Galaxy Audio
The AS-1100 packs an amazing punch. The transmitter has stereo XLR/¼" inputs, headphone output, and LCD display, which displays the channel and input level. The Receiver has an LCD with channel, battery level, and RF/AF indicator. The AS-1100 is perfect for anyone looking for a first system or to upgrade to the next level. The 1100 Band Pack Systems makes it easy for any band to Get Personal. The system includes four receivers and one transmitter. It is designed to get the whole band wireless in one package. The AS-1100-4 will allow a band to send one stereo mix to 4 individuals. Additional transmitters may be purchased at a later date to add mixes.

In today's world, having a church website is critical. ChurchOnline.net makes that easy. Their web application is easy to use, great looking, affordable, and feature-rich. Their 30-day free trial allows you to build your site risk-free and try everything the company has. They offer email and phone support, along with help pages and video help. They can even convert your existing site for you. There are hundreds of designs to choose from with no cost to change designs. They even have a free version at www.freechurchonline.net.

Simplex Room Dividers from Screenflex
Simplex Room Dividers are economical room dividers with acoustical panels, steel frames, and ball bearing casters. They provide endless opportunities to make efficient use of your space.  They come in one height (6'5") and two lengths (5'9" & 9'5"). They are easy to set up and easy to store. These offer a new, cost-efficient solution for dividing open spaces. Amazingly versatile and flexible, they glide effortlessly on ball bearing casters. There is no assembly required.

National Intelligence Service
National Intelligence Service has provided background investigation services for clients throughout the United States for over 10 years, with licensed investigators averaging 25 years of criminal law enforcement investigations experience and $1,000,000 of errors and omissions insurance. NIS subscribes to numerous real-time criminal court-record databases with a network of courthouse record investigators. Where available, NIS obtains statewide criminal felony, misdemeanor, sex offender records, and outstanding arrest warrants. Confidentiality is paramount.

WTS Media Disc Sleeves
WTS Media has introduced full-color discs sleeves. The industry's lowest pricing, minimums, and turn times make sleeves a perfect fit for any size ministry. Custom-printed sleeves are simply the most economical way to professionally distribute your message. They are available as 2-panel or 4-panel wallet. The minimum quantity is only 100 pieces, and prices are as low as .15 each.

Eartec's Simultalk 24G Wireless Intercom System
Fumbling with buttons on a communication device can be a bother for a busy crew. Eartec's hands-free Simultalk 24G wireless radio is designed with them in mind. Using two frequencies, the radios send and receive signals simultaneously, so users can speak to each other freely as they would on a telephone. No base station is needed, and setup is as easy as turning them on. Each 10-ounce radio is powered by a rechargeable battery and has a range of a quarter mile. It includes four radio units, four midweight headsets, batteries, and battery charger. 

Meridian from Uniflex
The Meridian wood chair is worship seating at its best! The Meridian is the premium choice for a warm and inviting sanctuary. The beauty, quality, and comfort of this fine wood chair are unsurpassed. With its exceptional features, this chair exemplifies flexible worship seating. The chair may be designed to complement the décor in your sanctuary with a plethora of available fabrics and wood finishes. The unique contoured unibody construction and high performance seat foam offer outstanding comfort. Fine quality craftsmanship utilizing hardwoods with mortise and tenon construction assure long-term durability.

Hufcor Operable Partitions
Operable partitions provide the flexibility to create several rooms from one space, easily and quickly. Hufcor, a leading manufacturer of operable and accordion partitions, also offers glasswall partitions for areas where you need a physical, but not a visual barrier. Glass panels can be used to separate and secure office and public areas or to create a cry room in the sanctuary. They can be easily moved when not needed in the opening. Choose from models framed with beautiful wood, clear glass, or aluminum framed for sound control. 

ministrEspace from Cool Solutions Group
ministrEspace is a low-cost, Web-based software solution for your ministry space scheduling needs. It requires minimal start-up instruction, has no setup fee, and operates in an Outlook-style calendar. In a few simple clicks, the straightforward interface makes quick work of all your scheduling demands, and functionality allows quick calendar access from your website. ministrEspace is subscriber based, with no long-term contracts or software to purchase. ministrEspace is as easy as click, schedule, save.

Audio Ethics Video Floor Monitor
A new product designed and developed by the engineers at Audio Ethics solves a growing problem for today's ministries. The AE-VFM-32 Video Floor monitor blends in with audio floor monitors, creating a uniform finishing touch to the professional platform for both live and broadcast services. It can be used in conjunction with existing floor boxes to minimize cable runs and has direct inputs that allow for many applications. The AE-VFM-32's multiple angles allow for various viewing positions and an option that will automatically adjust the video feed using "auto picture rotation" making setup quick and easy.

EcoPlay Playgrounds from Safeplay Systems
Custom-designed to meet your individual requirements, EcoPlay Playgrounds from Safeplay Systems will enhance your Environmental Stewardship efforts. EcoPlay Playgrounds are manufactured from post-consumer, recycled HDPE plastic (milk jugs), and the average play structure keeps 30,000 milk jugs out of landfill. EcoPlay is impermeable to water, cannot be eaten by insects, never needs painting or sealing, and won't splinter, crack, swell, or rust – unlike metal or wooden structures – making it virtually maintenance free. EcoPlay Playgrounds are PVC/Phthalate-Free.

CDH Partners
"Strategic master planning involves designing churches that are more than just buildings – they are tools for ministry," says Bill Chegwidden, president of CDH Partners. After 33 years of designing churches, the architects, engineers, interior designers, and planners at CDH know how to discover the true needs of a church through gaining a deep understanding of its ministry goals.  CDH Partners guides church leaders as they evaluate their mission, so that together they can plan and build adaptable facilities that will enhance and grow along with their ministries for a greater impact on the community.

MediaShout Version 4
MediaShout Version 4 combines time-saving tools and a streamlined workspace with a comprehensive list of features used by over 50,000 ministries worldwide. From basic worship presentations to intricate multimedia experiences, Version 4 connects creativity with powerful tools to communicate Life's Most Important Message. In addition to PowerPoint Import tools, more than 50 Bible translations, the VJ-friendly Background Mode, and a host of other new features, Version 4 innovated ministry presentation with the Stage Display, an additional display of song lyrics, Bible verses, or text for on-stage personnel.

Bertolini Impressions 7O25–N
America's favorite church chair, the Impressions 7025, has what everyone wants in a chair— comfort, durability, and elegance. It is the only ZERO Maintenance pew stacker with blow-molded Flex-fit seat, injected-molded Ergo-V back and BosScrew technology, which prevents screws from ever loosening and falling on the floor. And, now, there's more to love. The Impressions 7025-N features the COMFORT-PLUSH PILLOW-TOP —a fiber-fill pillow-top seat cushion that's typical of many fine furnishings. It's the difference you can feel and, better yet, at less than last year's prices.

Infinity 655 from Chairtex
The Infinity 655 blends comfort and value in this incredibly durable design. From its highly desirable rolled waterfall seat design that comes standard with Dual-Density OptiFoam to its ErgoMax Triple-Foam Back Support System that integrates an additional lumbar support for unmatched comfort, this chair is built to exceed your expectations. When you find out that it comes in below budget, you'll be amazed to know that it's built right here with zero imported components.

NewTek TriCaster TCXD300
NewTek TriCaster TCXD300 is redefining portable live production with benefits that include high definition/standard definition (HD/SD) live switching, integrated live full HD streaming, live virtual sets, an efficient workflow and multiple effects layers. Shipping in December 2009 at US $14,995 (NTSC) and US $17,995 (Multi-standard), NewTek TriCaster TCXD300 is an industry-changing product.

PowerChurch Plus
PowerChurch Plus is an all-in-one software program that helps organize Membership, Contributions, Accounting, and Event scheduling. Version 11 is the latest release, with many changes that make it easier to navigate and maintain. Also, the PowerChurch Check In system works in conjunction with your PowerChurch Plus data to provide child security, attendance tracking, and reporting. PowerChurch Plus can be installed locally on your computer or network, or installed on remotely hosted servers where you connect and run PowerChurch Plus from any computer with access to the Internet.

PhoneTree Congregational Messaging System
Is your church still sending out communications manually, tying up valuable resources and reaching only a small percentage of your membership? If so, you need a solution that's fast, dependable, and affordable. A PhoneTree Congregational Messaging System will increase efficiencies in your church, greatly reducing the amount of time, funds, and internal resources used to send messages. Effective, consistent communication is proven to help boost attendance and contributions, generate loyalty, and foster a sense of community within the church. www.phonetree.com

McCourt Commercialite
The McCourt Commercialite industrial-strength blow-molded plastic folding table is one of the strongest, lightest, most affordable folding tables on the market. The polyethylene plastic top resists damage, stains, weather, and chemicals. The steel frame bolts through the tabletop, allowing the Commercialite to support over 3,500 pounds.  It accepts skirting clips, too. This table line is available in banquet, round, and conference styles.

Hitachi CP-SX12000
Delivering power, performance, and versatility to the high-end professional AV market, Hitachi has introduced the CP-SX12000 3LCD Professional Series projector. The CP-SX12000 offers a brightness of 7,000 ANSI lumens, SXGA+ resolution, and five optional lenses for various throw distances. The dust-resistant cooling system enables the filter to operate for 10,000 maintenance-free hours. The CP-SX12000 features a 2500:1 contrast ratio, while a variety of connectivity options are available, including DMI, BNC, DVI, RGB, composite, component, and S-video. Additionally, the CP-SX12000 includes inorganic panels, which offer a higher resistance to light.

Headrick Signs and Crosses
Headrick has taken pride in designing, manufacturing and installing high-quality commercial signage since 1927. This sign pictured is a contemporary blend of church building architecture with "tried and true" sign elements sure to catch the eye.  The sign stands 23' tall and contains a 4' tall by 11' wide full color 20mm pitch Daktronics electronic message center. The ID sections—or the sign's pan formed Lexan faces with embossed copy—are internally illuminated with fluorescent lighting. The church logo is also internally illuminated – but with white LEDs.

SofTILE is a highly durable playground safety surfacing system that locks in place, is vandal resistant, and is class A fire rated. SofTILE provides fall protection ratings that exceed national guidelines by more than 40 percent. The success of the SofTILE brand has been rooted in the ability to offer lower total cost of ownership, while creating durable, colorful play areas that require little maintenance. SofTILE carries a 10-year warranty for structural integrity and guaranteed compliance with fall protection guidelines. With one of the largest distribution channels in the country, SofSURFACES guarantees prompt regional service.

EZCaster Touch Screen Encoder from Long's Electronics
Long's Electronics is proud to start the new year as your audio/visual solution, bringing over 41 years of service to their valued customers. Stream live video and post on-demand video files to your own personalized html website in one easy step with the new EZCaster Touch Screen Encoder. Full featured broadcasting capabilities include: Auto Publish; Auto Stop; Auto Graphics and Graphic Overlay; Interactive Webinar; Built-in Waveform Monitor; Instant Profile Changes via Tech Werks Live Support; Multiple Audio Inputs as well as Standard Definition Video Inputs; File Sharing Via Any Network-Connected Computer and more.

Artist Series by Euphonix
Worship facilities across America are using Euphonix Artist Series media controllers to expedite the post-production process of editing religious services into CDs, podcasts, or online broadcasts for distribution in a timely fashion. Comprised of the MC Control, MC Mix, and MC Transport, the Artist Series offers unparalleled speed, resolution, and DAW integration. Affordable, easy-to-learn, and easy-to-use, the Artist Series fully supports control of the top software applications via Euphonix' EuCon control protocol and can be used for all aspects of post.

The SICO X-PRESS STAGE is a sturdy stage or riser system designed to be lightweight and easily transported from one application to another. This unique staging system is set up in a snap by simply unfolding and positioning the frame, then laying the deck into place. The frame automatically assumes the correct position for attaching the deck. Heights are easily set with an adjustable "pull pin." The SICO deck is positively secured to the frame with a "Flex-Pin" connector. Stage decks integrate a special resin impregnated honeycomb core that creates a solid edge.

Mitsubishi's WD3300U
Mitsubishi's widescreen WD3300U WXGA, 4000 lumens projector has a new color wheel, body design, and lamp drive system that helps increase overall performance, durability, and reliability.  It creates beautiful colored images with a virtually sealed color wheel that helps prevent dust accumulation. An improved air-flow path allows it to operate at a low 26dBA noise level. Its innovative lamp drive system helps the lamp retain consistent projection brightness over a longer period of time while maintaining an estimated lamp life of up to 4,000 hours in low mode.  www.mitsubishi-presentations.com

SeaQuest: Diving for God's Treasure! from Regular Baptist Press
Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Grab your gear and get ready to dive into God's Word with SeaQuest: Diving for God's Treasure! RBP's 2010 Vacation Bible School will lead you on an exciting exploration into the depths of God's Word. Discover priceless treasures! Games, crafts, snacks, and lessons all uncover jewels found in the scriptures and reinforce the day's theme – pointing to the ultimate treasure – Jesus! The SeaQuest kit pulls together all the materials in one convenient place.

Selador Series by ETC from Mainstage
The Selador Series by ETC is a whole new way of thinking about LED luminaires. Go beyond effects lighting and give your church effective LED luminaires that can be trusted in every application - from key, fill and side light to color washes and cyc lighting. Selador Series fixtures perform to your standards for warm and cool white light (lustr family), soft tints, rich pastels (paletta family), and intense primary colors (VIVID family), all without sacrificing the energy efficiency and long life you expect from LEDs.

Black Box's iCOMPEL
If your church has considered digital signage, but you've been deterred by its cost and complexity, then you look at Black Box's iCOMPEL. This system for broadcasting multimedia content to one or many screens comes with all the software you need to create signage containing a mix of live and recorded video, graphics, and scrolling text. You can even import PowerPoint and Internet RSS media. There are no recurring licensing fees, and the browser-controllable system is easy to integrate into any network.

LightScribe CopyWriter Pro from Microboards Technology
Utilizing Microboard's proven CopyWriter platform and the revolutionary disc labeling technology of LightScribe, one can record and label up to 10 discs simultaneously. The LightScribe CopyWriter Pro from Microboards Technology is available in 3, 5, 7 and 10-drive configurations, and all include the exclusive Japanese-manufactured five-button, two-line controller, built-in hard drive to store disc images and label files, and LightScribe template software for creating unique CD and DVD labels on your PC. 

Servant Keeper
Servant Keeper is the church software of choice for more than 20,000 churches ranging in size from 25 people to 75,000. The unique and powerful groups manager allows lightning-fast data look-up, mail merging, mass e-mailing, instant contribution reporting, and much more. SK Check-In allows any church to quickly set up an easy-to-use integrated child check-in and large event attendance monitoring solution. Servant Keeper will help you maintain a personal ministry no matter the size of your church.

Lifetime Tables and Chairs
Take a look around and you'll see Lifetime tables and chairs everywhere – churches, offices, conference centers, and at your next group gathering. That is because their patented technology gives customers the assurance that every table and chair is safe and built strong enough to live up to their name. Lifetime tables and chairs provide a place to celebrate, a place to reflect, and a place to plan your next great activity. From a congregation Christmas party to your next big charity drive and everything between, Lifetime tables and chairs are simple to own, ready to use, and easy to maintain.

Audix M1255B
The Audix Micros Series, which consist of the world's smallest condenser microphones with integrated preamp and detachable cable, continue to evolve and break fresh ground with the introduction of the M1255B. This latest development now allows the M1255B to be able to operate, without sacrifice to its performance, on phantom power of 18 – 52 Volts. With a stylishly machined brass housing and modular threaded capsule, the M1255B features a smooth frequency response of 50 Hz – 20 kHz, 12 mm gold vapor diaphragm, a selection of 4 capsules, and complete immunity from RF caused by cell phones and GSM devices.

eTapestry is so confident that you'll have a great relationship them that they're willing to guarantee it. If you don't raise more money with their software than you did before, you get it free for a year. See why more than 5,000 nonprofit organizations around the world have selected eTapestry for their fundraising database. They offer on-demand donor management, advanced email, ecommerce, and website development solutions that are cost-effective and maintenance-free. eTapestry is a Blackbaud company.

Varco Pruden Buildings
Varco Pruden Buildings, a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, is one of the nation's largest providers of innovative building systems. Varco Pruden and its network of more than 1,000 independent authorized builders design, engineer, and build churches to meet owners' architectural requirements. Through the use of the company's advanced engineering programming, Varco Pruden combines steel structural materials with virtually any exterior finish to create buildings that are energy-efficient, look great, and provide years of trouble-free performance.

Net/X from NetworkThermostat
NetworkThermostat is a leading manufacturer of wired and wireless communicating thermostat systems that will change any church into a "Smart" building and will generate significant energy savings at an affordable cost. Net/X allows the user to have complete control over the building's HVAC equipment. Heating and cooling schedules, as well as schedule changes, are easily made using a PC from anywhere in the world. The newest offering is the Net/X-Web browser-based control software for access by multiple users.

Weber Group
Weber Group's experience as creators of place and occasion takes on additional meaning when applied to immersive environments and worship and performance spaces for churches. Architectural services, general and specialty construction, stage and worship set design and construction, as well as specialty fabrication, are offered jointly or separately as required by the client.  Whether a permanent installation, youth building, children's area, teaching lounge, sanctuary or special seasonal performance, the Weber team brings concepts to life in ways that engage participants and Advance the Cause.

SEEKER Communication
In January, SEEKER introduced the New MP-1500 Pager, which combined the most sought-after features of pagers used for the church paging market. The rechargeable pager provided eight easy-to-send preset messages, plus an insert for the church's logo. One month later, SEEKER introduced a three button transmitter called TOUCHPage for staff-to-staff communications. It has proven very successful for church security teams, medical teams, and a tool for classroom communication with children's ministry staff.

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