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Re: pews within the Church

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James
March 10, 2002 02:26PM
John wrote:

>>Without pews one can experience the physicality of Orthodox worship in a way that is simply not possible with pews.<<

True, but not entirely. It "is" possible, just more difficult.

>>In the absence of pews I also find that young children can move about or even curl up in a corner and are therefore less likely to be vocal and squirm.<<

heh heh... John, they move about and curl up here in our church regardless of the pews.

>>Pewless naves also have distinct advantages for people in wheelchairs.<<

This is a distinct advantage, I must admit. We have very wide aisles and our temple is very accessible, but this is unique to our church. You have a good point here.

>>Some of the issues cited about the comfort of pews could also be remedied by people simply wearing comfortable and modest clothing!<<

Not sure which issues you're referring to, John. The issue I was discussing had more to do with my back problem and my wife's reluctance to stand for that period of time.

>>That being said I think that the real culprit is our increasingly shortened attention span which makes us feel uncomfortable with sitting for an hour at anything where there is not constant motion or easy emotional gratification.<<

Hmmm... this is definitely not the case in our church. We're up and down frequently... more up than down. I would venture to say (taking out the sermon of course) that we stand about 75% of the entire Liturgy.

>>That seems to be a more crucial issue and if it can be addressed and handled I think that those who come to corporate worship will find a depth and richness regardless of whether their local parish has decided to install pews or not.<<

I like the word "regardless". I've been in pewless churches (mostly ROCOR) and not found a necessarily richer and fuller spiritual atmosphere than some churches with pews. I don't think the pew issue is that critical. I appreciate the points you've made, but I suppose it comes down to each of us responding to this situation from our own unique set of circumstances. For us the addition of pews has proved to be a distinct advantage. I would guess that many (not necessarily most... it's impossible to tell) Americans/Canadians would be less inclined to attend a pewless church given our "nature" (oyyyyy...shame on us). And I don't think it's an issue with which the Lord is particularly concerned. The heart of the standee or sittee is much more important, don't you think?

Best wishes to you on your Lenten journey.
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