How do you use your church?
- Do you require multiple configurations of seats in your church?
- Does your community wish to use your place of worship as an alternative space?
- Do you enjoy conducting services in varying layouts, in the round, for example?
If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you need seating in your church that can be moved, stacked and stored away with ease.
Traditionally, as you know, churches were community spaces to worship collectively. However, now churches host many community gatherings, not just those of a religious nature. To adapt to the changing needs of the modern-day town, many places of worship up and down the country are utilising their space in new ways to ensure the church remains central to community life.
The most common forms of alternative use include concerts; yoga classes; mother and baby groups; support group meetings; and art shows.
A yoga class will need an empty hall to provide plenty of space for flexible movements. A concert requires rows of seats for the audience and seating for the orchestra, band, or chorus. Art shows will need designated display areas and seating for the gallery-goers. Therefore, flexible space is a must for the modern church.
|"With all of these different community groups requiring your church to be laid out in various ways to suit their needs, it's no wonder that your furniture has to be hard-working too."|
If, like Valparaiso Chapel, you have 1,600 seats, you’ll need them to be easy and quick to arrange, stack, and store away so you can arrange your space for the support group meeting at 8am, yoga at 11am, mother & baby group at 2pm, and a twilight service at 6pm, for example.
As your vergers and volunteers will need to lift the furniture it must be light yet able to withstand knocks, movement, stacking, and being sat on for hours at a time over decades. Having seating that is not only light to move, but has specially designed storage trollies or dollies to allow for easy movement across your space and into designated storage areas, allows your community to rearrange that space themselves. You'll have the comfort of mind that your furniture will work in any situation, for every member of your community.
Which would be better for your area: pews, chairs, or both?
A gut feeling can be very powerful, so knowing what you would prefer is an essential starting point. However, the preference of your congregation, colleagues, and the broader community will have an impact on the final choice for your church. An open mindset is a must.
Depending on your funding, and your community’s willingness for change, the reordering of church furniture can take anywhere from three months to several years. Such an important decision can't be made lightly.
Engaging with potential partners and suppliers that work with places of worship to establish the right reordering arrangement is a great place to start. For example, Sheffield Cathedral, in the UK, knew that we could help ensure they received the best solution for their hard-working urban Cathedral. Their demand for pews, so that the homeless can sleep in the church at night, was imperative to the Cathedral's need for new seating.
Valparaiso University Chapel knew they wanted the Coventry Chair, but still felt they needed an expert opinion to ensure they were making the right choice. When we consulted with them, we provided examples of how pews, chairs, and a mixture of the two would work in their 1,600 seat Chapel. We considered and demonstrated all the space planning, layouts and storage solutions before the Valparaiso Chapel stakeholders made a final choice of 1,600 Coventry Chairs.
Whether you are just starting to think about reordering your church furniture, or you've been researching the topic for a while, the team at Luke Hughes is here to help you whenever you need it.