We are in the middle of moving our church offices and worship gathering location. We are relocating from the campus of Santa Cruz Bible Church, which is a very new contemporary building built about 6 years ago to a very beautiful brick church building built in 1938. We will launching an additional Sunday morning worship gathering the week after Easter and holding our evening gathering there too. The building is somewhat in need of a face-lift and updating - as despite the beauty of it, there are things in it like bulletin boards, carpets, furniture and wallpaper I think have been there since 1938 and even have distinct odors of being there since 1938.
In preparation of moving over there, we have been doing a bunch of redecorating and remodeling of the children's rooms, the offices and now working on the Fellowship Hall turning it into a coffeehouse/art gallery. The whole place was gutted as of last night when I was there. However, one thing that is very puzzling and tormenting me, is the "pews" in the sanctuary. This sanctuary is entirely all pews. I have never been part of a church that has pews, so these things are very confusing to me.
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When pews were introduced into English churches, they reflected the social stratas of the community. The upper classes and the gentry sat in their own box pews and the local squire had a special box pew opposite the pulpit. The higher an individual or a family was in the social strata, the better was the seat. The lower classes brought their own stools or stood in the alleys, or aisles, of the nave. As late as the seventeenth century the floors of English parish churches were "strawed," i.e., covered with straw. Straw was more comfortable to kneel upon than the flagstone or dirt floor of the nave. The upper classes and the gentry might equip their pews with hassocks, or kneeling cushions. They also put locks on them to keep commoners from using them when they were absent from church. When Charles Simeon first became minister of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, he was so unpopular that the parishioners locked their pews and refused to attend church services. His preaching eventually attracted crowds of undergraduates and other residents of Cambridge. They, however, had to stand in the alleys of the church.