Removing Two Back Rows of Pews?

Removing Two Back Rows of Pews?

The Worship SLG has been thinking of how we can have more flexibility in our sanctuary. We experimented with taking out the pews on either side of the pulpit area and have been happy to see those new spaces provide more room for musicians in worship and a small, cozy chapel area with flexible seating for small worship gatherings and discussions.

Our next idea is to take out two rows of pews in the back of the sanctuary. This will create room for the choir to sing from the back of the sanctuary and give us the ability to easily make a circle together as part of our worship. With this flexibility we can envision such innovations as being able to share communion in the round, to share a blessing around the circle or sing a hymn while looking at each other around the circle. Being able to make a circle gives us a different experience of ourselves as a worshipping community.

In addition, removing the back two pews will enable us to share our typical celebration of communion without snaking out the back doors of the sanctuary and through the upper narthex. Peter Brigham has noted that removing the back pews would make it much easier for the ushers to access the sound system in the back of the sanctuary.

Because the removal of the back pews involves cutting them and doing fine woodworking to finish them this would be a permanent change. The estimated cost of these renovations is $480.00. For these reasons we are asking for feedback from the congregation regarding this decision.

Over the next few weeks we will have these computer-generated pictures and this explanation on display in the upper narthex of what the sanctuary will look like if we remove the pews. Please take a look at it.  

The Worship SLG will then schedule a special time after worship for conversations where anyone can come and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings.  If the way seems clear, the Worship SLG will go forward with the decision, announcing the meeting at which our decision will be made, so, per the Elders’ suggestion on process, people in the church will have another opportunity for input.

However, if there doesn’t seem to be adequate congregational consensus, the Worship SLG will talk about next steps and report back to the congregation.  

The members and interested friends of the Worship Standing Leadership Group include: Wanda, Alice, Miguel, Griffen, Peter, Julie, Woody, Tim, Yajeh and Michael. You should talk to any of us if you have questions or comments you want to share.

In Christ,

Wanda for the Worship Standing Leadership Group