After two long meetings about emergency evacuation plans and budget numbers during the last two church council meetings, you are actually looking forward to the next committee sessions about church furniture, used church pews, and steeple repairs. Looking at pictures of options for new church furniture for the office and talking about the difference between rebuilding and repairing the current church steeple seems far more manageable than having to think about keeping congregation members safe in the event of an intruder. And thinking about updating the altar area is more interesting than spending another meeting having to evaluate the budget for the upcoming year.
Church councils and pastors across the country have meeting agendas that address a wide range of topics. From setting money aside to set up a community food pantry to budgeting money for high school work camp and national youth gathering trips, churches face many decisions. The latest violence that has occurred in a very small fraction of churches has also created more questions that these over sight groups need to address. In the middle of all of these other decisions, church councils and worship leaders also have to consider the physical building as well. And while many people may think that church furniture and cosmetic issues are far less important. In reality, though, decisions about how a church area looks is also important.
Consider these facts and figures about church pews and other furniture pieces that are a part of many budgets around the nation:
- Pews are a mainstay in church buildings everywhere, with the exception of some Orthodox groups.
- Pews are often equipped with kneelers in front of the seating bench in churches that have a tradition of public kneeling prayer portions of their services.
- Most great churches and cathedrals have a cruciform ground plan.
- During the years between 1600 and 1800 many churches’ seating arrangements were made by rank, with higher social classes sitting in pews closest to the altar.
- Before the Protestant Reformation, churches were not commonly furnished with permanent pews.
- Although some pews are simple affairs made of wood, other church pews have benchlike cushioned seating, as well as footrests or hassocks.
Today is not typical. Many groups, including churches, find themselves making important decisions about buildings themselves and well as the services that are provided to and from a congregation.