Reidville Road UMC in the News

A 25-year-old Reidville church that expects to soon outgrow its facility is planning to expand.

Reidville Road United Methodist Church on Reidville Road near Highway 417 has selected an architect to develop a master plan for its campus.

“We have seen amazing growth in our church and community since our founding. We want to plan for how we can best serve this area of Spartanburg County,” said Pastor Danny Wiley. “As we reach young families and the next generation of Christian disciples, we trust God’s direction as he guides our expansion for his purpose.”

Architect Ron Geyer of Good City Architects in Greenville said the wings off the sanctuary will be expanded for extra classroom space. Also, a new worship/assembly center will be built.

He said his plan will enable the church to grow as needed over time rather than overbuild.

“Too many churches don’t plan for expansion,” Geyer said.

Attendance averages 150 each Sunday, and higher on holidays like Easter, when 300 pack the worship center. The church also has a weekday preschool readiness center.

While the church serves the Moore, Duncan and West Spartanburg communities, Wiley said increasingly more people are coming from farther away.

One family who moved to Spartanburg from Idaho searched for a church online and decided to come to Reidville Road United Methodist, he said.

“Part of our growth is through technology,” Wiley said.

He said first-time attendees are always welcomed and not pressured to join.

Reidville church planning expansion to accommodate growth first appeared at on September 8, 2018

Reidville Road United Methodist Church to Expand

Reidville Road United Methodist Church has selected Good City Architects to design a master plan for its property on Reidville Road serving the Moore, Duncan and West Spartanburg communities. The plan will offer a roadmap for accommodating growth in contemporary worship, young families, and for expansion of the Reidville Road Readiness Center, the church’s weekday preschool ministry.

“We have seen amazing growth in our church and community since our founding. We want to plan for how we can best serve this area of Spartanburg County,” said Pastor Danny Wiley of Reidville Road United Methodist Church. “As we reach young families and the next generation of Christian disciples, we trust God’s direction as He guides our expansion for His purpose.”

Reidville Road United Methodist Church was founded 25 years ago and occupies almost 12 acres at the intersection of Reidville Road and Highway 417.

Cherokee Meals on Wheels Planning Expansion

Good City Architects has completed preliminary planning for an expansion of the Cherokee County Meals on Wheels facility on West Montgomery Street in Gaffney, South Carolina. Meals on Wheels was founded in 1984 and moved into its current building ten years later. The organization now serves more than 400 clients through the work of almost 400 volunteers. Once the plan is fully funded and constructed, it will double the organization’s capacity to serve Cherokee County.

“As the need to serve hot meals to our homebound community members has increased, we have continuously found solutions. But, we’ve simply outgrown storage and food preparation space,” shared Executive Director Terry Dennis. “When United Way determined our definite need for additional space, Good City found an ideal design solution. We look forward to building it with committed community support.”

“As we observed their meal preparation in action, it seemed that the Meals on Wheels team was doing industrial-scale work in space designed for offices,” added Ron Geyer of Good City Architects. “This design should allow Meals on Wheels to make the best possible use of time and resources to serve those who need it most.”

Meals on Wheels provides a free daily weekday meal and personal contact to elderly and handicapped members of the Cherokee County community. With no government funding, the organization relies solely on community donations and support to function and expand, and is governed by a board of 22 local members.

To learn more about Cherokee County Meals on Wheels or to support the expansion project, call 864-487-2730 or go to

AVL + Aesthetics in Design

No denying, there’s a lot to consider during a renovation or design of a church. And to create a modern experience, installing a state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting scheme is critical to get the message across.

Nathan C. Daniel, AIA, principal and faith practice leader for LS3P, Charlotte, N.C., says large LED screens in lieu of projectors have become a current visual component trend.

Among other trends, Daniel notes that more often than not, both the house and theatrical lighting within a worship center and sanctuary are a single package delivered by an AVL designer to maximize flexibility and to provide better control of the experience.

Ronald E. Geyer, architect and principal for Good City Architects LLC in Greenville, S.C., notes that Good City recently completed its first design that incorporates a video wall rather than a simple array of 4-9 display screens, and he expects that to be a big trend going forward.

Tom Greenwood, AIA, director of faith-based design for The Beck Group in Dallas sees a growing design trend to integrate the technology into the architecture of buildings.

“With the advancement of LED technology and the lowering of its price point, it’s allowing more creative ways to incorporate screens or walls for video projection,” he says. “Church leaders are also seeing more value in expressing the architecture and building materials of the room for a more authentic experience, rather than just a technology-driven experience.”

Getting started

When starting any project, the first conversation between the architect, AVL designer and integrator should identify the vision and AVL expectation within the room; listening to what the church needs.

“An extension to this conversation is understanding the budget, schedule and strategic planning between the architect, AVL team and electrical engineer to ensure a successful project,” Daniel says. “This needs to be an all-hands-on-deck approach.”

Greenwood notes that the architect and AVL designers need to clearly understand the expectations of the worship experience from the point of view of the communicator (pastor), worship leader and congregation.

“Each represents very different perspectives and may imagine very different experiences,” he says. “Too often just one view dominates, which leads to a room and technology design that only represents one viewpoint of worship. The architect and AVL consultants are there to listen and create an environment that supports what makes a church’s worship experience unique.” Geyer says that the conversation should always address room acoustics.

“Much of what makes a room work well acoustically is embedded in a room’s volume, mass, and surface configuration, and can’t be fixed later, only masked.” Ronald E. Geyer, Architect & Principal, Good City Architects LLC, Greenville, SC

“Because they’re often called late to the game, the assumption seems to be that the AVL designer will ‘fix’ the room as well as the communication systems,” he says. “Much of what makes a room work well acoustically is embedded in a room’s volume, mass, and surface configuration, and can’t be fixed later, only masked. Our acoustics professor taught us that sound absorptive panels—the go-to solution—aren’t a fix. They’re simply a way to turn down the volume of noise you hadn’t already controlled.”

The art of the hide

Both contemporary and traditional churches present different challenges to accommodate AVL within their buildings that the design team must understand.

“Whether traditional or contemporary, each church brings a different set of AVL expectations that the design team must identify and execute,” Daniel says. “This is what makes each design process unique and exciting.”

For instance, in many traditional worship spaces, the design looks to “hide” these components as to not detract aesthetically from the architecture and the setting. This happens with establishing a clear vision for these heavy-AVL spaces that the team has bought into, balanced with a culture of communication between the architect, the AVL team and the general contractor to ensure that the performance and aesthetics are achieved.

As long as you plan for something like this at the beginning and coordinate room design ideas early with the AVL system consultants, Greenwood notes that synergy is not difficult to achieve.

“Video can integrate seamlessly into wall designs, particularly with LED technology, and stage lighting positions can be creatively hidden in ceiling and wall design features.” Tom Greenwood, AIA, Director of Faith-Based Design, The Beck Group, Dallas, TX

“Video can integrate seamlessly into wall designs, particularly with LED technology, and stage lighting positions can be creatively hidden in ceiling and wall design features,” he says. “The most challenging often are audio systems, because of multiple components that can require very unique locations because of room shape and acoustics.”

Sometimes it takes a combined strategy for audio systems, including hiding some components and coloring other components to make them blend into the room’s appearance.

Churches wanting a more modern design typically didn’t mind the technology being exposed, especially when those churches had the one-time standard black-box design. But this trend is beginning to wane.

“If the church wants to bring natural light into the room, which is happening more and more, there seems to be [a greater] desire to better integrate the technology into the architecture,” Greenwood says.

Although there are exceptions, some of the most important events in the life of a church— weddings, funerals, intimate assemblies​—don’t require video display. Still, the display components can be visually demanding to deal with in design.

“We can employ expensive techniques like sliding or hinged panels, or pantographs or rollers, to hide or move [display components],” Geyer says. “Better yet is to find a way to make them seem like they belong. We’ve used highly reflective paint on plaster walls for churches that aren’t built around video. I’d like to see more use of vertical (portrait) orientation in vertically oriented spaces, but planning for it is an extra step for short-staffed or volunteer-run AVL teams.”

AVL in action

Midland Bible Church asked Beck to design its new campus, which included a sanctuary to support its contemporary worship, with the use of video and also the use of natural light in the space. The design incorporated high windows in the worship room, and a cupola at the top of the space.

“The windows were covered by deep roof overhangs, which allowed continuous but controlled light into the room,” Greenwood says. “Rear projection video was used to reduce the impact of ambient room light. Audio systems and stage lighting were carefully studied and incorporated into the exposed large steel trusses that support the roof.”

In addition, automatic window shades were provided for all the windows, though they have rarely been used because of the successful coordination and design of the space and AVL systems, Greenwood reports.

First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Ga., occupies two city blocks in in historic downtown Augusta. And it has bucked this trend for downtown churches: growing by adding young families. The centerpiece of the church’s site and culture is the 200-year-old sanctuary designed by architect Robert Mills (designer of the Washington Monument).

Good City Architects LLC did renovations on the sanctuary in 2013, performing updated finishes including the application of acoustical wall panels that match the color and configuration of existing plaster walls; exposing original wood floors under the congregation to reinforce congregational singing; removal of an earlier system of fixed choir risers to allow more versatile use of the platform; introducing instrument “garages” to allow quick change from organ console to drum kit; and integrating projection screens with organ show pipe surrounds.

LS3P’s Faith Studio recently completed the design drawings for both Seacoast Church (contemporary worship) in Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Falls Church Anglican (traditional worship) in West Falls Church, Va. Both feature state-of-the-art rooms, but each has its own vision, goal and aesthetic.

“It is critical to get all of the stakeholders on board early to understand the church’s vision for the room, manage the budget, identify schedule concerns, and minimize challenges during construction.” Nathan C. Daniel, AIA, Principal & Faith Practice Leader, LS3P, Charlotte, NC

“It is critical to get all of the stakeholders on board early to understand the church’s vision for the room, manage the budget, identify schedule concerns, and minimize challenges during construction,” Daniel says. “Ultimately, the foundational success of these complex projects relies on listening and establishing an intentional communication process.”

AVL + Aesthetics in Design by Keith Loria first appeared at Church.Design on April 3o, 2018. Keith Loria is a full-time freelance writer focusing on business and design issues. He can be reached at

Advent UMC Groundbreaking

Advent United Methodist Church celebrated the groundbreaking of its new sanctuary Sunday afternoon, about 13 months after a fire destroyed its old building.

“We’re very excited about this transition to move forward. We can’t wait to see things happening, to see the structure go up, and more importantly than that, a year from now we’ll hopefully be moving into our new sanctuary so we’ll be able to welcome more people and make a bigger impact in our community,” said Senior Pastor Michael Turner.

The congregation gathered in the front parking lot after their worship service to pray and to celebrate a new beginning.

Turner said the fire and the first steps of the rebuilding process have brought the congregation together.

“Over and over, throughout history, God has proven that he carries us through the most difficult times. He’s made it his business to bring light out of darkness and hope out of despair,” Turner said. “It was difficult to watch it burn, but it has been incredible to see God carry us through this and see his faithfulness in the process.”

Turner said the fire was just another reminder that the church is not a building, it’s the people.

The story, “Simpsonville church celebrates groundbreaking more than a year after fire”, from which this post is excepted, was produced by Jenni Knight, and first appeared at March 18, 2018

Summit Church building in Simpsonville

Summit Church has approved the design for renovations and construction of a new campus at 603 West Curtis Street in Simpsonville. The project, designed by Good City Architects of Greenville, S.C., will serve as the combined campus for the current Mauldin and Simpsonville locations of Summit Church.

“The goal of this project is to provide expanded space to serve the communities of Mauldin and Simpsonville and continue intentionally equipping followers of Jesus to live as missionary disciples among the places we live,” said Jason Malone, pastor of Summit Church. “This construction will allow Summit to almost double the space we now have to serve those communities.”

Summit Church launched in September 2007 and now has five congregations across the Upstate. The newly renovated and constructed facility will provide space for 500 to gather for worship, space for teaching nearly 100 preschool and elementary age children and an open gathering area to help welcome attendees into the facility. A small courtyard in front of the building, connected to sidewalk improvements planned by the City of Simpsonville, will provide space for church activities and use by the community.

Summit Church places a distinct focus on church planting, and leaders wanted a space that could be used as a model for future congregations Summit will start across the ten Upstate counties by 2030.

“Good City Architects helped us see our mission, values and distinctives as an integral part of the project, while providing a space that is both functional and reproducible,” added Malone.

Heartwood Constructors of Greer is the general contractor. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.

To learn more about Summit Church, visit

Advent Stronger After Fire

Changes are coming to Advent United Methodist Church. Over the next year and a half, the church plans to build a new sanctuary that will connect to its education building. But that wasn’t the original plan. Advent, which sits on a large plot of land on Woodruff Road a little over a mile from Five Forks, was working on a major renovation of its older buildings and construction of a smaller building to connect the sanctuary with the education building.

Then, 10 months ago, a massive fire destroyed the sanctuary.

On Feb. 8, 2017, Pastor Michael Turner watched as firefighters from multiple departments spent hours trying to extinguish flames as they ripped through the roof of the building.

The sanctuary was not in use at the time, due to the ongoing renovation project. Worship services had been moved to a gym on the back of the property, and no one was inside the sanctuary when the fire started.

Turner described the powerful emotions he felt as he stood on the lawn with dozens of church members and neighbors. “Of course, there was the grief of realizing that a space (was gone) that housed so many memories: baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals, as well as other powerful experiences with God and each other,” Turner said. “But also there was the gut punch of realizing that the expansion, renovation and building plans that had required so much thought, time and energy were likely going to have to be tossed.”

A large wooden cross was hanging in the front windows of the sanctuary during the fire. Turner and parishioners assumed it would be destroyed, but after the fire, crews cut the cross down to find it had survived mostly unscathed, apart from some char marks.

For Turner, it was symbolic of the Advent UMC community.

Turner said the morning after the fire, a group of volunteers continued its weekly mission of packing backpacks full of food for children in area elementary schools. The church also maintained its partnerships with ministries in Tanzania, Guatemala and Cuba, and its support of families living in houses purchased with Advent’s Christmas Eve offerings.

“From the first flames, our refrain was that the church is not a building,” Turner said. “Our building was destroyed, but our church is stronger than ever, and that was obvious as we reflected on what happened during and immediately after the fire.”

Turner said the Upstate community’s support made a huge difference as well. “Although the words seem inadequate, thank you. The calls, letters, cards, offers for space and monetary donations were all a part of the ways that our community loved us during that time,” he said.

And they intend to pay it forward. Turner said the goal is to continue contributing to the community and making it a better place to live.

The church is now looking ahead. Turner said Advent’s ministry and mission efforts, both global and local, are continuing, though some of them look a little different for the time being. The construction team has said the congregation will be able to celebrate in its new, larger sanctuary building, about a year and a half after the original project’s expected completion date.

Until then, they’ll continue to worship in the gym under the charred cross that serves as a visual reminder of what the church has been through. Turner said they won’t repair it. “We don’t want to refinish it, because we want to remember the origin of our hope in that tough time.”

Pastor: Advent UMC stronger after devastating fire by Elizabeth LaFleur, first appeared in the Greenville News December 25, 2017.

Talatha Baptist Church adds new building to accommodate growing services

Talatha Baptist Church is currently a construction site, as the church is adding a multipurpose building to accommodate its growth.  The building will be used as a fellowship hall and sanctuary, along with a lobby, kitchen and restrooms. The weekly Sunday congregation is growing at Talatha Baptist, and some were having to sit in an overflow room to watch and hear the sermon. The Rev. Jordan Bird added that longtime members were giving up seats for guests at services.  Along with new worship space, the church also needed a fellowship hall. Bird said when the church has meals, they have been accommodating people wherever they could: indoors, outdoors and in classrooms.

“It makes sense, and it’s going to meet our needs at a reasonable cost,” Jordan said about the new addition.

He said a lot of churches build gyms when they need to expand but then added that many churches build their gyms and then try to hide them; that the building is never really a multipurpose building, just a gym you can do other things in.

Before building anything, Talatha brought in an architect to discuss what was needed and to lay out the church and where the new building should go.  Ron Geyer, architect and principal at Good City Architects, helped bring Talatha’s vision to fruition. Good City Architects works exclusively with ministries.

“What they want is to do ministry better,” Geyer said.

He said it was important to Talatha to be honest about its Southern roots, and that the church had a strategy in mind but changed direction after meeting with him.

“They’re not changing what they’re about. They’re changing how they present it to the community,” Geyer said.

The new building is going to change the direction the front doors of the church face. Bird said the change will give a “new face” to the church.

“We ended up putting it in an unusual place,” Bird said about the building. “Most people wouldn’t have anything in front of their sanctuary closer to the main road.  That’s just not a thing that you do. It sort of communicates that you devalue the worship place, the sanctuary, but since this building is sanctuary space, what we did, we really just changed the direction of (the) front.”

The current sanctuary at Talatha holds around 175 people. The new building will seat around 300. There won’t be pews in the new building rather chairs that can be moved around or stored.

Talatha Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches in Aiken County. The original building was built around 1840. That building is eventually going to be moved to an area of the church’s property that makes it more visible.

Old Talatha Sanctuary“It’s about reminding us that we’re still the same little church believing the same gospel and the same God that that group of people 200 years ago believed when they started it here,” Bird said. “So it keeps us anchored in the unchanging timeless truth.

“You start to think that we all have this ability to become, how do you say, chronological snobs or historical snobs thinking that we’re better than the people that came before us and we’re not.”

Talatha Baptist Church is growing right now because it is sticking to what it knows. Bird said the church’s philosophy is “don’t change anything and go with it.”

“Simple verse and scripture from Romans chapter 10 says ‘Faith comes by hearing,’ so we are simply preaching scripture directly as it wants to be preached itself and sharing the gospel with our neighbors, telling them what Jesus has done,” he said.

The article “Talatha Baptist Church adds new building to accommodate growing services” by Lindsey Hodges first appeared in the Aiken Standard ( on September 3, 2017


Tryon Construction Begins

Workers from Clayton Construction are laying out the foundation for new bathrooms and a lobby enclosure at Tryon Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary.

Summer has been busy at the church campus, as the team works to complete the new building. The church sanctuary was donated by Frank McGregor in 1958 and designed by local architects Shannon Meriweather and Holland Brady. Its design included nautical references that honored McGregor’s sister, who died at sea en route to France while serving with the American Red Cross during World War I.

The new project is intended to preserve much of the original design. Good City Architects’ design will simplify the platform to allow greater flexibility, update finishes and lighting and improve access for members and visitors. The church plans to have construction complete in the fall.

This article appeared in the Tryon Daily Bulletin August 3, 2017.

Talatha Addition Under Construction

Talatha Baptist Church, in Aiken, SC, has begun construction of a new multipurpose building and expanded space for worship and children. The new space, designed by Good City Architects, an architecture and interior design firm based in Greenville, S.C., is part of the master plan developed by Good City last fall. It will create a new entrance for the Church, and include room for both worship and fellowship. Clifton Construction of Evans, Ga. has begun construction, which they expect to complete later this year.

The Southern Baptist congregation occupies about seven acres on Talatha Church Road and has enjoyed significant growth in the last few years. Talatha, founded in 1827, is one of the oldest churches in the Aiken Baptist Association and has been meeting at the current location since 1839.

“The Talatha congregation has greatly benefited from working closely with Good City Architects as God guides and grows our church,” said Jordan Bird, pastor. “We are enjoying watching building begin and are excited about how we can serve God and our community through our facilities.”