An Upgrade Two Centuries in the Making: MediaMerge Integrations at First United Methodist Church

Posted on Apr 25, 2022 12:54:20 PM

Professional AVL integrations give new life to old spaces. MediaMerge drove this point home with their recent work at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Montgomery, a storied structure established in 1829.

FUMC’s last major renovation occurred in 1931. Since then, many sections of the property were in need of substantial updates.

That’s where MediaMerge came in, integrating new audio, video, and lighting elements into multiple FUMC spaces to give the property a touch of modernity.

Lots of Work and Lots of Workers

MediaMerge faced two main challenges on the FUMC project.

The first challenge was the scale and timeline of the updates. Several different sections of the property underwent significant technical renovations, all while FUMC members continued attending services in the traditional Sanctuary. From cable pulls, to equipment installation, and system programming - MediaMerge helped overhaul everything.

But AVL upgrades weren’t the only thing FUMC needed; enter challenge number two.

FUMC was in the midst of a from-the-ground-up makeover. Electrical, structural, architectural – the church hosted every kind of contractor under the sun, all working together - and sometimes on top of each other - to modernize and rejuvenate the space.

Planning Around the Problems

Fortunately, MediaMerge is no stranger to multi-vendor projects; their upgrades in Samford University’s Ingalls Hall saw the team communicating with electrical and construction teams throughout that major project as well.

FUMC was no different. The team maintained solid communication with the other contractors and got to work on their portions of the project: the Fellowship Hall, the Children’s Worship space, the Nursery, and auxiliary spaces and corridors that connected everything.

The Fellowship Hall

FUMC’s Fellowship Hall already boasted a traveling mid-room divider wall but no audio system designed to take advantage of that space. The team’s solution? An audio system designed to seamlessly transition between audio for the full space and the divided spaces at the push of a button. Acoustic treatment and intentional speaker placement ensured that both configurations of the room sounded perfect, and MediaMerge hid all speakers from sight to keep the space clean.

MediaMerge also installed a 193” motorized projection screen for any video needs FUMC might require.

All aspects of the audio, video and lighting systems are controllable through QSys touchscreen interfaces with layouts specifically designed to be usable by anyone. MediaMerge also used a similar system at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The Children’s Worship Space

The Children’s Worship space’s gorgeous arched ceiling, supported by 14x14 inch wooden beams, was too beautiful to mar with visible electrical equipment and wires.

The team integrated a non-obtrusive, 13-fixture RGBW lighting system designed to highlight the space’s aesthetic charm. They also installed a 133” motorized projection screen and a new audio system. This gave the room the functionality of a modern space, while still maintaining all of its historic beauty.

The Nursery and Auxiliary Spaces

FUMC’s Nursery spaces only needed minor updates from MediaMerge. The team installed high-quality displays that can be used for lessons during Sunday services, or throughout the week when childcare is provided.

To update the church’s auxiliary spaces - including hallways, reception areas and conference rooms - MediaMerge installed new displays and connected them to FUMC’s internal video distribution systems, allowing content control of each display throughout these spaces.

A New Look for a Classic Church

After MediaMerge and all the contractors finished their work, FUMC members could finally see the final result. 

And what a result it was. During the Dedication Service, a before-and-after slideshow was presented in the Fellowship Hall, allowing FUMC members to appreciate the drastic improvement. Many admitted that it was hard to believe that the newly renovated space was the same building.

A 193-year history might make a project intimidating to tackle, more so when so many workers are present. But experts like MediaMerge don’t get intimidated by challenges. They just get to work.