Hudsonville Congregational United Church of Christ, Hudsonville, MI

Hudsonville Congregational United Church of Christ, located in Hudsonville, MI, is a welcoming community church that values inclusivity and openness and has significant outreach to the LGBTQ community.

An important part of this outreach is the church’s signage, which was a large outdated readerboard with a small diamond shape at the top featuring a rainbow sticker.

The sign presented many challenges to Pastor Dan Furman. In addition to crafting messages, which included inspirational thoughts, upcoming events, and wedding congratulations, Pastor Dan was responsible for changing out the readerboard’s letters. The manual and time-consuming process involved sorting the letters, carrying the heavy letters about 50 feet to the sign, and enduring varying weather conditions while making the updates, which sometimes had to be done several times a week.

When Pastor Dan went on sabbatical over one summer, the message on the sign went unchanged for three months. Eventually, the cabinet’s interior lights stopped working, and the seal failed on the heavy plexiglass cover, allowing water to seep inside and freeze the cover shut. Pastor Dan knew he needed to make a change and partnered with Postema Sign & Graphics to design and install a new, modern monument sign.

The new sign features an internally lighted logo cabinet with push-through acrylic letters and a magnified rainbow diamond atop the logo cabinet with a white cross in the middle, symbolizing the church’s open and affirming stance. An important part of the new sign is a digital message center from Watchfire. “Hudsonville Congregational needed a reliable way to communicate with the community, so we specified Watchfire because the company manufactures the highest-quality signs,” said Marty DuBois, vice president at Postema Sign & Graphics.

The new digital message center allows the church to rotate several messages at the same time, including worship times, social justice advocacy, local school support, Facebook engagement promotions, and a universal "You are welcome here" message. Importantly, the sign eliminates the need for manual letter changes, enabling remote message updates via computer through Watchfire’s Ignite OPx cloud application.

Since the new sign's installation, Hudsonville Congregational has experienced remarkable growth. A noteworthy increase in attendance contrasts starkly with the pre-covid and post-covid averages. The church welcomed 20 new members within a year after installing the new sign, more than double the historical average. More than half of new members said the sign was how they learned about the church.

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