Live Design Blog Archive

InterAmerica Stage installs rigging in new Church by the Glades sanctuary

CORAL SPRINGS, FL—It's not every church that requires a full proscenium stage, three audio and video editing suites, and truss that would make the world's top rock bands salivate.

At Church by the Glades on the edge of the Florida Everglades, however, this level of production capability is all in a day's work.

“It's a pretty darned wild church,” said John Gitzy, general manager at InterAmerica Stage, Inc. (IAS), who recently completed the installation of stage equipment at the church's new sanctuary. “They own a very large stock of rock-and-roll-style truss, lighting equipment, audio equipment, and editing suites. The first time I met Ryan Floria, the church's production manager, they were tearing down the smaller theatre's stage from a themed service based on [Led Zeppelin's] ‘Stairway to Heaven.' The next week the service was themed around Pink Floyd's ‘Dark Side of the Moon.' All I can say is this is one wild church—if I lived near there, I would join the congregation!”

The extraordinarily popular, multicultural Baptist church offers seven services each weekend, ministering to about 5,000 people on a normal Sunday. Based on the belief stated on its website that church should be “upbeat, compelling, meaningful, and loud,” Church by the Glades presents a high-energy service filled with live music and video, and conversational sermons delivered by David Hughes, a pastor who regularly appears before the congregation in jeans.

The enthusiastic response from the community led the church to plan an expansion of its sanctuary/theatre to accommodate its growing audience. The new 70,000-square-foot space seats 2,000 people, and includes a special area for the many preschool children who attend services there.

“It's a gorgeous sanctuary with an absolutely massive new stage,” said Gitzy.

In addition to the extensive acoustical design provided by Acoustic Dimensions and lighting, sound and staging equipment provided by Stage Equipment and Lighting, Gitzy and his crew installed a new automated rigging system from J. R. Clancy, Inc.

The system includes five PowerLift motorized hoists for the stage electrics, providing predictable, consistent movements with top and bottom limits. PowerLift motorized rigging provides the added benefit of load sensing for safety. Eliminating the need for counterweights and loading galleries, PowerLift balances the load on each batten automatically, holding the load securely in place with its fail-safe, redundant electric brake system. Should the batten begin to move beyond its commanded or maximum speed, the brake activates automatically, preventing an accident.

PowerLifts also provide the advantage of easy installation, noted Gitzy. “We put in four fixed-speed hoists for the electrics and a general purpose hoist for the house projection screen,” he said. “We just bolt-in the PowerLift, hook it up, and it goes. This was really a painless process.”

To set limits for each line and to run the PowerLifts, the church selected Clancy's SureTarget 10 controller. The SureTarget 10 offers the church crew both versatility and safety, with simple, accurate speed and position control for up to ten PowerLifts. Easy to use with a color touch-screen display, up-down pushbutton control for setup, and a joystick for adjustments on the fly, SureTarget 10 has the ability to “learn” the weight of a new load, and sense any change in the load that might signal a dangerous problem. If the load changes unexpectedly, SureTarget 10 stops the batten's motion.

“The SureTarget 10 for this church has been modified to fit twelve channels,” said Gitzy. “I asked the folks at Clancy to do that, and they did it for me. So now we have the option of moving to twelve hoists from the original five.”

For Church by the Glades, the ability to purchase an automated rigging system came as a delightful surprise, Gitzy noted. “They were amazed that they could afford what they did,” he said. “So much depends on people's budgets, and this system did the job and fit the budget.”

Get more information on J. R. Clancy and its automated rigging solutions at

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