I am always fascinated when I get to experience different pews for the first time. Each congregation, or chapel that I have the privilege of attending has their own unique pew, and each congregation and chapel has a story all their own regarding their beautiful, and often intricate, church furniture. While some chapels are adorned with newer furniture, others have older, antique furniture that is engraved with stories from the past.

As a small child, I had the opportunity to attend weekly Sunday service with my family. Each week we attended with the same congregation, except for the sporadic special occasion when we would venture out and experience a different congregation. I clearly remember my excitement when we would be visiting a different chapel, and finding the perfect pew to enjoy the sermon from. I can remember when we would attend some of the old, historic chapels around, and getting to sit on  the curved benches, up in the balcony; this always brought about a sense of excitement and I never wanted the sermon to end—prolonging our precious time on the curved benches.

Other times, we’d attend service with my grandmother, who would meet in a historical building in her neighborhood. It was always an adjustment to visit Grandma’s chapel, as the benches were placed closer together than what I was accustomed to. While the benches were placed closer together, it was easier for my short legs to reach out and touch the back of the pew in front of me, it also made it more challenging to slip past my siblings to reach my mother’s church bag, filled with quite books, and scripture stories.

It didn’t matter what chapel we were attending, I was always excited to rush inside and see the beautiful empty benches. Each chapel had different color wood, and different colored fabric to sit on. You could rarely guess from the outside of the building; what secrets were contained inside. I always was surprised by what I would find. It didn’t matter the color, the shape, size, or even the proximity to the other pews around, on Sunday, sitting on a pew in church with my family is where I belonged.