In the beginning, God commanded “Let there be light” and it was good. Since then the history of light and lighting technology in the church has always been at the forefront of the industry. After all, if all the world’s a stage, the pulpit commands the most power.
At their start, churches have traditionally used light not only to be able to see, but to set mood and tone. Ages before Genesis and Vari*Lite had their own “in the Beginning,” churches were being built with massive stained glass windows that not only visually portrayed their message. They danced multicolored light throughout the sanctuary creating a powerful emotional current that is still invoked today.
As time moved forward the church has been a historical early adopter of lighting technology. From gas lanterns and early electric lights to ellipsoidal and moving lights, some of the largest installations of these technologies are in the HOW (house of worship) market. This creates one of the biggest challenges and best tools that a worship lighting designer will encounter.
Over the course of this column, we’ll discuss everything from using the newest and best of the lighting world to how to properly execute a church lighting plot. All the while keeping in mind that its not about the toys you have, its about how you use them to create the environment your HOW client(s) are looking for. After all, to borrow from the Ringling Brothers, the church will always be the Greatest…Stage…on Earth.