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Anyone up for a chat thread?

Discussion in 'Scripture,Tradition,Reason-Anglican & Old Catholic' started by Paidiske, May 18, 2016.

  1. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +11,861
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    It'd be nice to just chat about life, the universe, day-to-day life of faith with like-minded folk... doesn't feel right to gate crash someone else's chat thread.

    Anyone?

    As a light and fluffy starter topic, we could talk about pews. My parish council are busy arguing over whether to buy new ones or not. (I'm so hoping we do!) So what do you like in a pew? Or do you prefer a chair? Or do you even care?
     
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  2. CanadianAnglican

    CanadianAnglican Evangelical charismatic Anglican Catholic

    432
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    Just going to quote from the Parsons Handbook here...

    "Pews are by no means a Protestant invention, and in some ways they are better than chairs. They should, however, always be low (not more than 2 feet 8 inches high), and the alleys both in aisles and nave should be much wider than usual. There are a good many old churches in England which show the mediaeval arrangement of low pews."

    Pews ought not to be padded (it ruins the acoustics of the nave) but pillows/cushions should be made available for those who might require them. Pews should include kneelers and be spaced appropriately to allow for their use.
     
  3. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +11,861
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    I wonder whether padding on the pews ceases to be an acoustic issue, once you've already succumbed to carpeting the nave...

    The main reason I'm keen to have new pews is that we would be replacing very long, heavy pews with shorter, lighter ones; making it more possible to arrange them differently and create some flexibility in the liturgical space.

    The parishioners are keen on padding. I don't care about the padding so much, but then, I don't sit in them!
     
  4. Shane R

    Shane R Priest

    +519
    United States
    Anglican
    Widowed
    My mentor's parish was a poor mission. They built their own pews. They are unpadded and a little rough in the carpentry, but squared and serviceable. They are 'white-washed' as folks use to call it. They'll seat four or five comfortably, and maybe six if the service books are moved. The perimeter of the sanctuary is still lined with chairs from the early days of the parish.
     
  5. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +11,861
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    Hhmm... Maybe I should pray that God would raise up carpenters among us!
     
  6. Shane R

    Shane R Priest

    +519
    United States
    Anglican
    Widowed
    [​IMG]

    St. Timothy's, Poquoson, Virginia.
     
  7. Shane R

    Shane R Priest

    +519
    United States
    Anglican
    Widowed
    I actually rather like this church, which as an historical mock-up of the Anglican church at the old Jamestowne Settlement, in Virginia.

    [​IMG]

    Last I knew (two years ago) they still had weekly service presided by a visiting TEC priest. I'm not sure if it was Communion or Morning Prayer. Perhaps, one day, I can preside.
     
  8. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +11,861
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    Love the little boy grinning in the pulpit!

    I work across two parishes; this is the one "next door," where I spend most of my time:

    The rood screen was hand carved by a daughter of the family who gave the land on which the church is built. Some of her work is very well known, displayed in the National Gallery and so on.

    I don't have a good photo of the interior of the other... really should ask them to put a gallery on their website!
     

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  9. graceandpeace

    graceandpeace Episcopalian

    +555
    Anglican
    Private
    US-Democrat
    I attend the oldest Episcopal church in my city (really old!), & we have pews. They are wooden, with cushions available for those who need them. The church building hosts most of the services, but there is also one service that meets in the hall, with moveable chairs rather than pews.

    I've encountered recent debate on the value of pews. I have mixed feelings about them myself. I think if pews are part of the history or integrity of a particular church, it would be a shame to remove them.Plus, I like the kneeler option. But, in a "newer" church, there are benefits to using chairs (or even minimal seating) - such as being able to arrange the seating in a different way, comfort, less restriction to movement (unless of course there are many chairs packed together).
     
  10. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +19,881
    Anglican
    Married
    Right. For their sakes, I wouldn't be too quick to refuse the padding, but the idea of shorter pews sounds good.

    Chairs--even fairly comfortable ones--just never seem as "comfortable" as pews to me, and I don't mean comfortable only in terms of relaxation. Most of the time, chairs seem awkward and limiting somehow, and they often make the matter of how to handle kneelers a problem on its own. All of that may just be something I feel and no one else does, however.
     
  11. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +11,861
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    I prefer pews over chairs because I think there's something valuable about shared seating. Even if it's only two or three people to a pew, it changes the seating arrangement from "mine" to "ours" and helps shift people away from individualism. (At least, that's my theory).

    But there are pews and pews...
     
  12. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +19,881
    Anglican
    Married
    I didn't say it before, but I think that's right. And it works in a practical way, too. For example, one week that pew may seat five people but the next week it accommodates a family of six. Not so with chairs.
     
  13. everbecoming2007

    everbecoming2007 Well-Known Member

    +212
    Anglican
    Single
    I attend a historic parish, an old one by American standards (200+ years) although the actual building is newer. It is designed in a neo-gothic style. The oldest stained glass is from the original building I believe and also over 200 years old and still looks brand new to me. After a hurricane blew through there was a palpable sigh of relief they were not damaged as they are irreplacable and handmade. (Is that true of all stained glass?) We were most worried about the huge Marian window with Jesus over the altar because of its position relative to the wind and debree. When the days are shorter the sun is still rising at the early service and beams of sunlight bathe the altar, an especially poignant moment when I first saw this occur during the consecration at an ad orientem 1928 service.

    We do have carpeting, but the pews are low and wooden, not padded, very beautiful dark wood and kneelers. To me they are extremely comfortable and relaxing physically, symbolically, and aesthetically. I've never heard older members complain about comfort, but perhaps our elderly people are less wont to complain. I saw a recently deceased woman in our parish a couple of years before she died arrive early for a Holy Week service. She came in on a walker, then proceeded to kneel for over half an hour. She always cracked me up. At a labrynth walk hosted by a church friend she sat watching, then turned to me and said, "The beach is as good as that thing!" No one ever seemed offended; I always found her amusingly honest. I guess she wanted to be polite so she adds in the guest book, "A very spiritual experience!" She looked bored out of her mind to me, ha!

    As to padded pews, I guess they are all different, but I visited a church with some and they were terribly uncomfortable. I moved to rest on the arm as I am accustomed and nearly fell on the floor because there wasn't one and the clergy person was laughing! So embarrassing. The kneelers were unattached too and so hard after about thirty seconds my legs were shaking. The kneelers at my parish are padded, so I guess we conceded on that, but so much less awkward to use when attached.

    I never gave much thought to padded pews, but I am happy with what we have. I wouldn't be adverse to providing cushions for our elderly. I would especially dislike chairs - as commented above I find them less practical in terms of seating, less comfortable, more restrictive. And they just don't have the same associations for me as pews. I have perhaps seen only one church without them. Seems secular and looks like a theatre to me with a stage upfront. It wasn't a liturgical church, but definitely not my thing.

    If the Eucharist or Office is being held in an unusual area for special circumstances as was the case when I visited the Rocky Mountains in Colorado I am not so uncomfortable with chairs or a less "churchy" look. We made do with what we had, and I didn't give the chairs any thought.
     
  14. CanadianAnglican

    CanadianAnglican Evangelical charismatic Anglican Catholic

    432
    +101
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    Private
    Good point about a carpeted nave! I suppose it might depend on the size of the space, the thickness of the carpet and underflooring (that will affect how it absorbs sound) and thus whether or not you might see a huge difference with padded pews versus plain pews.

    You guys have posted some lovely pictures of your parishes! My current home parish (until the end of August) is a garish monstrosity of the 1970s. The parish I am being sent to was purchased from the Roman Catholics and again represents something of the 1970s post-Vatican II architectural excesses. Alas, I wish I could go back to St Barnabas or St Barts in Ottawa!
     
  15. Feuerbach

    Feuerbach Continuing Anglican

    121
    +55
    Anglican
    Married
    The little mission where I attend is only 1+ years old... meaning we use folding chairs! I have to say they are padded and comfortable and all, but very few of us are able to kneel since we do not have cushions and the only thing under the carpet is concrete.
     
  16. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +11,861
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    It's so rare to see people kneeling today anyway. I make a point of kneeling when I'm leading services because I don't want that to be lost as a "normal" posture for prayer, but I don't think anyone in my congregation does.
     
  17. Feuerbach

    Feuerbach Continuing Anglican

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    I'm not sure about the Australian Anglican scene, but it's quite standard for Continuing Anglicans in the US to kneel. My experience in the Episcopal Church was that kneeling was still somewhat common but fading.
     
  18. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +11,861
    Australia
    Anglican
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    Very rare here. Even when I worked at the Cathedral, you'd often see a full Cathedral with only one or two people in the congregation who would kneel.

    I think it's a cultural thing; I notice, for example, that Anglicans from Sri Lanka and Burma and so on tend to kneel a lot more. Maybe kneeling is more normal in their culture in general?
     
  19. CanadianAnglican

    CanadianAnglican Evangelical charismatic Anglican Catholic

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    I would say maybe 50% of the people kneel at the BCP service at my old parish, no one knelt at the BAS service, except Lent 1 when people were particularly invited to kneel. Contrast that with an Anglo-Catholic parish I visited recently where pretty much everyone knelt, bowed and genuflected. I think it's more the culture of the parish. I know a Fijian priest who mentioned that most of the South Asian anglicans tend to be rather high church, so it's probably just a part of their liturgical culture there.
     
  20. LaSorcia

    LaSorcia KittyKat Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

    +31,108
    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
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    I don't like chairs in a church.

    I got married in a British church that had chairs instead of pews, and it just looked weird to me. That's just a cultural bias though. If I'd been raised on chairs, I'm sure it would have been fine.

    One nice thing about chairs is that they're adaptable and you can move them around if need be. These had vinyl upholstery though, so I can't image that's very durable.
     
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