During the early days of World War II, a group of young Methodist scientists and engineers found themselves in eastern Tennessee working on a secret government project. Away from home and yearning for spiritual fulfillment during those difficult times, they gathered for services every Sunday in the town's movie theatre, forming what would become the First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge.
By 1958, the cornerstone was laid for their church's first permanent building, a classic gray stone structure that stood as a testament to the enduring values of its founders.
First United Methodist still makes its home in that building today, drawing strength from the tradition-rich features of its sanctuary.
Preserving the original character of this area was critically important to the church's leaders when they decided to modernize their lighting system. They were able to achieve this upgrade, without sacrificing tradition, thanks to a design by Ken Patterson that featured a collection of CHAUVET Professional LED fixtures.
"This is a timeless and very attractive sanctuary," said Patterson, owner of A Tennessee Lighting Company in Knoxville. "Everything about the building is beautiful, but the old lighting system was from the 1960s."
Patterson's new lighting not only preserved the classical aesthetics of the sanctuary with its long narrow nave, stained glass windows and high wood-ribbed vaulted ceiling, it accented many of the room's architectural elements. A case in point is the massive pipe organ located at the back of the stage, which Patterson highlights with Rogue R2 Wash fixtures.
"The church really wanted to light the pastor and highlight the large pipe organ," he said. "We use the Rogues for this accenting. The Rogues are also used to highlight the different performers during worship music recitals. A really good thing about the Rogues in this application is their ability to refocus for multiple positions, which greatly increases the versatility of our lighting.