A cost-effective solution has assisted Ebenezer International Centre in Gqeberha, in South Africa’s Eastern province, to improve the stage lighting in their 1 700-seater auditorium and the quality of their online broadcast. The new installation by DWR Distribution is as simple as 4 by 4m Prolyte trussing, 16 Longman F4UP parcans and a Le Maitre MVS Hazer while utilizing the church’s existing infrastructure and equipment.
Senior Pastor Neville Goldman started the church around 40 years ago, and with a pioneering spirit and faith-filled heart, opened the large auditorium in Algoa Park on 17 October 1998. Just a few months later, in January 1999, the church started a primary school and they’ve been sowing into people’s lives ever since. With their mission statement, Growth Through Developing People, Ebenezer has planted two other churches, one in Jacksonville and the other in the city, and on a practical level, has cared for people via feeding schemes, a soup kitchen and a weekly clinic. “In 2020, we delivered food parcels to 5 000 homes,” said Brenton Goldman, youth coordinator at the church who is walking in his father’s footsteps. It is all about uplifting our community and the church is definitely more than just a Sunday service.”
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the church invested in two cameras to improve the quality of their online Sunday service and have shared a morning prayer every day since 27 March 2020. “One thing the Lord has asked us in times of uncertainty is to be consistent in our approach and to be loyal. We present daily messages online using the WhatsApp platform. For our community, WhatsApp is the most used and cost-effective form of communication, and we have seen an increase in our online presence more than ever before.”
Ebenezer Community Church is structured with smaller groups within the large church. “We focus on a House of Peace system, where in smaller groups, WhatsApp is used to encourage people, share sermons and for worship sessions. We had to be creative during this time. We are growing and seeing God’s people connected to the body of Christ. I know that many churches have experienced this, but we are constantly seeing God’s faithfulness and we have a faithful congregation.”
When Brenton first investigated ways to improve the online service, he reached out to a longtime friend in the ministry, Pastor Peter de Fin of The Acts Christian Church in Midrand, Johannesburg. “Pastor Peter said he knew the right guys for us to work with who would not just install lights but show us how lighting could work in a church,” said Brenton. “Having already received quotations for well over R300 000 from other companies, we met up with Robert Izzett from DWR, who gave us an analogy. We needed a lighting system that had to be somewhere between a Ferrari and a City Golf! He came up with a perfect solution! Rob was extremely patient with us. Last year we looked at the lights and confirmed the order, but then had to trust God for the finances. Thank you also to Pastor Peter who helped us acquire the units. Everything just felt right, and when Robe and Andrew Petite of DWR recently came to our church for the installation, they were phenomenal. I could feel that they were behind what we were doing and what we wanted to achieve. It was a blessing, and we really enjoyed the process.”
Robert concured: “DWR has a great relationship with Pastor Peter from Acts Church and from the moment he called me up about Brenton and Ebenezer Centre, the passion he had for them was contagious. I met with Brenton and his team when they visited our office in 2020, and they were humble and passionate with a love for people. We wanted to help as best we could. We love dealing with amazing people, and the fact they pay us to do what we enjoy most is an added blessing to us!”
Prolyte truss is an internationally respected brand and X30D pieces were used at the church, while Longman F4UP LED parcans provided an economical solution to wash the stage. The Le-Maitre MVS Hazer is geared for small to large sized venues and has two variable speed high power fans to control the force and direction of the haze stream. Onboard DMX enables the control of haze density.
The new lighting gear has made a difference, especially when looking back at the older video footage. “The broadcast quality went up a thousandfold and there’s no comparison,” said Brenton. “Our previous picture quality was average, but when it came to wanting a professional look, Rob suggested small things like the use of a hazer and the focusing of our existing lights, which has resulted in a massive difference to our online presence.”
As much as the world is going digital, church online can be an isolated worship experience. Brenton commented: “We have taught and encouraged people to engage online, but we know that once’s everyone is back and attending services in a church building, it’s going to be wonderful, and the lighting rig will help enhance the experience.”