As Cresaptown United Methodist Church approached it’s 225th anniversary, Keith Beeler had an idea of how to commemorate the occasion. "I thought it was the perfect time to get a LED sign," he said. "What a great way to show the church is alive and going strong."
Everyone at the church wanted the sign, but no one was sure how to pay for it. That is when one of Beeler’s colleagues had a novel idea: To sell commemorative engraved bricks for $225 a piece. The profits would pay for the sign, and the bricks would be used as a decorative foundation for it.
"We figured out we would need to sell 125 bricks," Beeler said. To promote the fundraiser, Beeler’s son used a demo version of Watchfire’s Ignite software to create a mock-up of the new sign, and showed it off in Powerpoint presentations during service and on the church Web site.
"The software really helped us sell the sign – and the bricks," Beeler said. "Not only did we sell the 125, but we sold enough to cover all the incidental things, too."
Phil Kenney, of Kenney Signs Inc., who sold and installed the sign, was bowled over by the church’s ingenuity. "Talk about a unique project," he said. "And they made it happen. It came together nicely." And thanks to Kenney’s help, so did the sign. "We handled installation, and set a good level surface for them to stack their bricks," Kenney said. "We even bought a brick ourselves."
"That’s the funny thing," Beeler said. "A lot of the people who bought the bricks weren’t members of the congregation."
Now the church can broadcast topical messages in real time. "We recently had two couples get married in the same week, and we were able to congratulate them on the sign as they were leaving the church," Beeler said. The sign has also helped boost attendance, and is finally getting the church noticed by passing motorists. What else can the sign do? Beeler put it this way: "The possibilities are endless."