Privacy screens are tall wooden screens that typically sit in front of a row of chairs that are positioned near the altar or in front of the very first set of church pews to the altar. They’re most commonly seen in churches with more formal rituals because they give a traditional and formal feel to the sanctuary of the church. Deciding you need church privacy screens depends on the layout of your church just as much as the formal or informal culture of your church. We also make privacy screens for other types of places, like courtrooms or city council chambers, like the ones at the left.
The reason behind privacy screens is to maintain modesty when a church pew or seat faces directly at someone else. Often, they’re placed at the very first pew to divide the church pews from the altar or when there are chairs elevated at the altar that puts the seats up at eye level. A privacy screen keeps the congregation from being distracted by sneakers in the choir, and lets women sit in the front pew without worrying about the length of their skirts.
The layout of your church affects whether you really need privacy screens or not. For instance, if your altar isn’t elevated and your church is really at just one level they’re much more of an optional furniture item than if your choristers’ knees are right at the congregation’s eye level. When your church altar is elevated and there are a seats for a choir, worship leaders, or church sextons, you might decide to have church privacy screens simply for modesty.
This can also be the reason for privacy screens in churches where the congregation kneels, sits, and stands during the service. Older adults, especially, may prefer a bit of privacy while clambering up and down.
Another reason to consider church privacy screens is tradition. For instance, in more formal churches like Catholic or Episcopalian churches, privacy screens continue the more formal look. If your church has vaulted ceilings and a traditional feel, privacy screens might seem like an obvious choice. They can also be a great addition to show off the traditional style architecture in your church, like this privacy screen we made for a church in Wagoner, Oklahoma. This screen has a very narrow and tall end that repeats the vaulted ceilings of many churches across the country.
If you’re unsure whether or not you need privacy screens in your church, take a look at your budget and what your church can afford and start with the best basics you can afford. Privacy screens are very often an optional addition that you can add at a later date if you’re short on funds. However, if you’ve got it in your budget or have planned for the expense, they can be both practical and beautiful.