Crossway Christian Centre Brings People Together With Yamaha

Serving the ever-changing community in London’s Elephant & Castle for over 150 years, Crossway United Reformed Church has always needed to provide a flexible and accommodating place of worship. In 2017 it has moved to a brand new building and, with more than 10 different congregations and organisations calling it home, a very adaptable audio system was needed. Yamaha provided the answer.

Located where two of southern England’s historic major roads meet, Elephant & Castle has always been a diverse area, with people continually arriving and leaving. As a community changes so, naturally, do the needs of its citizens. This meant the new Crossway Christian Centre needed to be a truly multi-purpose facility.

“We wanted to be able to model sharing as a Christian concept,” says The Rev. Dr Peter Stevenson, who has been the Minister at Crossway Church since 2009. “The new building not only has to serve as a place of worship for many different Christian denominations, but also to act as a true hub of the community, including as a help facility and drop-in centre.”

Peter steered the design of the new building and its facilities. With Daniel Cunnings of Cunnings Recording Associates - which has long experience of quality house of worship AV installations - he chose an audio system based on two Yamaha MRX7-D and one MTX3 matrix processors. The system is controlled by six surface-mounted DCP4V4S panels, with Yamaha’s ProVisionaire Touch iPad app for Peter and church music leaders.

The system provides audio in three spaces - the main worship area, a secondary worship area upstairs (which can also be used as an overflow for the main area) and a third, multi-purpose room. The main and secondary worship areas feature audio inputs for music-based praise, as well as projectors and screens. The system has a range of presets to allow audio to be input and output in any configuration.

“A key factor in the choice of equipment was that the system had to be complex enough to cope with everything from tiny meetings to large congregations with music. It needed to handle different congregations meeting in different rooms at the same time, using the same system,” says Daniel.

“There were a lot of people to please, so everything in the building needed to be configurable to suit whatever reason anyone has for being here,’ Peter adds, diplomatically noting, “We are in Zone 1 London, so the audio system also had to be integrated into the building’s structure, with no need for any movable components.”

“It needed to be very much ‘hands-off’, with very straightforward control,” continues Daniel. “The Yamaha solution did everything we needed, including Dugan automixing for the microphones. People turn up, they press a button and the system configures itself to do exactly what they need.”

The final requirement was that the system should be future-proof. The processing power of the MRX and MTX series units means that many enhancements to its operation and control can be made, if needed, while extra inputs and outputs can be quickly and easily added.

“With such a diverse and fast-changing array of users, one of the hardest things was knowing exactly how the spaces would be used once the building was open,” says Daniel. “We did things like duplicating inputs on the left and right of each room, but one of the great things about the system it is that nothing needs to be replaced if it has to be expanded - it’s very easy to reconfigure the system. It’s nice knowing that, no matter what the church asks for, we can say yes!”