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Tips for Outfitting the Sanctuary

1. Evaluating Chairs
There is a lot of buyer beware in the import market. Looking the same does not mean performing the same. There are vast differences in foam, fabric, and frames. Always buy from a dealer that has been in business for a number of years, one that represents manufacturers that have been in business for several years. Ask for references, check with the BBB, etc. As good stewards of the Lord’s money, you should do your homework. Are the chairs shipped unassembled? Do they have frames that bolt together instead of being welded? Ask lots of questions before you buy!

-- Quality Church Furniture

2. Furnishing on a Budget
Money is scarce right now, especially when many churches rely on donations to keep buildings running, pay the bills and buy furniture. As a result of the current recession, donations are down. So how can you afford to furnish your church on a budget?

Ask about quantity discounts. What does this mean? It means if you are ordering more than one piece of equipment, you might be able to get a bulk quantity discount. This is because it costs less to manufacture several pieces of furniture at once.

Another way to save money is by ordering a factory seconds or overstock pieces of furniture.

If you’re not certain you’re going to buy furniture right now, you might be able to still lock in a price by requesting a quote from the company. Some quotes lock in your price for a certain amount of time.

-- Heavenly Wood

3. Designing Lighting
Church platform or chancel lighting is basically the same as theatre lighting. If you have experience in theatre lighting, it is easy to apply your knowledge to church lighting. For the majority of people who don't have this experience, there are a few basics you need to know when designing an effective lighting system.

* Provide even lighting from all congregation viewing angles for the people on the platform.
* Reduce shadows to a minimum.
* Reduce light shining on a projection screen to a minimum (if you have one).
* Reduce light shining directly in people's eyes.
* Possibly control areas of the platform (zones) independently.

-- Alectro Systems

4. Selecting an A/V System
It is important to avoid the “buy three, get one” syndrome that so often affects churches. Typically, a church will do its due diligence by acquiring a number of bids for their next audio and video system. In this situation, here is what the church is likely to find. The church will receive several bids, some very close in price, and others, way above and way below. Now, most churches are looking to be good stewards of the Lord's money.

So, they look at the bids, and usually will choose the least expensive bid in the stack. Churches that follow this practice will typically by two more systems before arriving at the one they should've purchased in the first place. By the time this has been done, the cash outlay far exceeds the medium priced bids that they originally received in the first place. So, look at all of your bids very carefully, look at the quality of the gear involved in each, and make the decision that best fits the needs of your church.

-- Direct Pro Audio

5. Replacing Flooring
Generally, carpeted floors are not good for congregational singing. They leave the singing space too dull and boomy. On the other hand, if you like the sound of your sanctuary with the current carpet, then you should replace the carpet with a like carpet. If it feels too dead, particularly for congregational singing, consider removing, rather than replacing, the carpet. As an alternative, you might consider Berber, which has a very tight weave and does almost nothing to the sound, but it is rather expensive.

The point is that hard surfaces support congregational singing and, generally speaking, churches like to have bright and lively sounding congregational areas. Many churches have carpeted walkways and wood or concrete flooring under the pews. This way there is a quiet entry and exit path with a lively singing space.

Another carpet problem to consider is that when a piano is played over carpet it dulls the sound. Try adding an office chair plastic carpet protector under the piano and you'll hear how it brightens up and starts to actually sound like a real wood instrument. Choirs are plagued by the same problem. Putting a choir on a carpeted floor is like pulling out their vocal chords.

Be sure you know the reasons why you want to change carpet before doing so. This will help you select the best solution for your situation. Remember, any change in the acoustics load will appear in the voice of the room. Carpet has lots of fibers, which present acoustic friction. Removing carpet changes the amount of acoustic friction in the room, which changes the reverberation of the room.

-- Acoustic Sciences Corporation

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Religious Product News