Pews

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JM

Puritan Board Doctor
A few years ago I visited a Russian Orthodox Church and they didn't have pews! After being heartily welcomed I asked why no pews and was told pews were a Protestant invention introduced when worship became sermon centered.

I sense a spin on this tale. Can anyone enlighten me please?

Yours in the Lord,

jm
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A few years ago I visited a Russian Orthodox Church and they didn't have pews! After being heartily welcomed I asked why no pews and was told pews were a Protestant invention introduced when worship became sermon centered.

I sense a spin on this tale. Can anyone enlighten me please?

Yours in the Lord,

jm
It's generally true for the first 1000 years.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Not a Protestant invention, but they are a later development in the history of the church. For the first 1,000 years, pretty much no churches had pews. They start appearing the later Middle Ages but even through the Reformation there were many churches without them. By the post-Reformation period they became standard in the West, but they were never used in the East.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
I think sitting in widow sills is the preferred method. It is supposed to help keep you awake. However I have heard of at least one case that did not work out very well, at first anyways.
 
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Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Ask many a missionary, and you will find that the idea of sitting in rows, on benches or chairs, feels foreign to many cultures.

I wonder if the convention of pulpit and pews is one reason why many of today's evangelicals treat a worship service as being practically the same thing as a Sunday school class.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Fashioning pews in many contexts is expensive. Muslims just sit on the floor/ground. I thought ancient Jews did also.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
The pews in the church in the village my sister lives in date back to 14th or 15th century, so clearly pre reformation. They aren't particularly comfortable...
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I keep joking that our church should get rid of the pews and replace them with rows of recliner lounges - each one complete with its own mini-fridge.

I don't think the session has considered it yet.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Pews appeared in the West in the Middle Ages. Often, a wealthier family would donate a pew to the church. In some old churches, you'll still see inscribed in the wood the name or the heraldic emblem of the family.
 

hammondjones

Puritan Board Sophomore
read this humorous account today, thought I'd share:

The meetings were held in a barn in warm weather and at a private dwelling in the winter, there being no church in the town till many years after. The rough boards arranged through the barn for the audience to sit upon during the time of sermon formed such uncomfortable seats that it was common for one and another, on becoming fatigued, to stand up in order to rest themselves. This appears to have been somewhat annoying to Dr. Clark. One morning my informant, who is reputed to have been one of the belles of the town in her younger days, with three or four young ladies around her, had been thus standing for some minutes, when the preacher, in the middle of his sermon turned to them saying,"Ye may jist sit down noo - the laddies ha' a' seen ye." Of course, they dropped and none, at least of the juvenile part of the congregation, venture to rise afterwards.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
In the Orthodox Churches men stood for the entire service. In Nepal, in almost all of the Churches there, the congregation sits on the floor for all except the singing. That would have seemed to be the pattern in the synagogue at the time of the New Testament. Acts 13:14-16
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Fashioning pews in many contexts is expensive. Muslims just sit on the floor/ground. I thought ancient Jews did also.
With the sports injuries I've had, and the subsequent knee surgeries, if I sit on the floor I can't get back up!
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
With the sports injuries I've had, and the subsequent knee surgeries, if I sit on the floor I can't get back up!
Bill's sports injury: banging his knee against the coffee table while moving from the living room sofa to the refrigerator during half-time. Heh.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Biola University recently remodeled its chapel, replacing the soft, cushioned pews with hard wooden benches. Who thought that was a good idea? The wood was imported from Europe.

I think the artist who was put in charge of the remodel made the decision to swap out cushioned pews for hard benches.

Fail.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Bill's sports injury: banging his knee against the coffee table while moving from the living room sofa to the refrigerator during half-time. Heh.
Actually, the first knee blew out when I was blocking home plate to keep a runner from scoring. We were both out!
 
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