When attending Sunday worship services, most members of the congregation find what they are sitting on as insignificant. While this is not true for everyone, a lot of older members of a congregation have a deep connection to the traditional church pew that over time became synonymous with attending church. In the early days of organized religion, there were no pews to sit on, instead members would meet in homes, where they would stand for the duration of the service, or sat on the floor, if there was room.
In recent times, some churches have opted to transition from the traditional church pew in an attempt to appear friendlier to their congregations and provide a better worship service. Some churches are transitioning to folding chairs, or even plush theater style seats. But, is it possible to be missing out on something more, something greater by eliminating the pew in lieu of comfort? Maybe there is something to be said about the old church pews that have been used by numerous congregations for years.
One element of a pew that is not available when opting for individual chairs, is that pews provide a sense of community, because they are made for community. When seated on a pew, it is hard to wall yourself off from others in the congregation who are in the same pew as you. Pews are designed for multiple people, depending on the size, you can easily seat six or seven, or ten to fifteen people. It is hard to worship alone when you are surrounded by fellow worshipers who have slipped past you to take a seat in the middle of the pew, or a lively family with small children who are seated on the pew in front of you. When you are sitting next to fellow worshipers on a pew, you become instantly connected to them, worshiping as one with them. It is as though, the pews are whispering “we are all of one body, one space. We are all in this together.”
One aspect of pews that many people do not consider to be a positive aspect, is that pews are a tradition. Pews have been used in churches for years, our parents, grandparents, and grandparents’ parents have had the privilege of worshiping from the convenience of church pews. Whether they are new or pews that have withstood countless years of sermons, pews are a tradition that is associated with Sunday worship with friends, family, and community.