Part of the congregation

This is a picture that John Lampers took of the inside of St M’s.  I’ve posted it so that you can see the boxed pews. This is our worship space.

Today was a fifth Sunday in the month.  A time when the whole benefice joins together, except the congregations that are not hosting the service tend to treat it as a Sunday of!!

The draw today was that we had our mission partner (from the Sudan) here to preach and afterwards there was a bring and share lunch in the village hall.

When I lead a service here I stand at the reading desk of the three decker pulpit and look down upon everyone in the box pews. As I was redundant this morning (there really in no room up at the tiny altar for a priest, two chalice assistants and a deacon) I decided to see what it is like to sit trapped in a boxed pew.

It is horrible!  For a start you feel separated from your neighbours so you might as well be worshipping on your own. It was freezing again. There are very few places where you can see the altar. It’s too far away anyway and God felt miles away too.  No wonder everyone looks thoroughly miserable in church. It is such a lonely experience.

This is a beautiful historic building.  One of a few that hasn’t been vandaliseded by the Victorians but it is a very difficult space in which to meet God.

Update. (for those who fear we may have ideas about removing the pews)

We couldn’t move the box pews so our response has been to build a room in the church yard.  We only wish we had built it a bit larger.  There is just about space to hold family services in it but the space has become self limiting.

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4 Responses to Part of the congregation

  1. David Keen says:

    Next time you have an all age service, ask the men to bring their screwdrivers, then they can do ‘dismantling box pews’ as a prayer activity and meditation on the work of the cross. Some slight problems with legality, but hey.

  2. gloriousthings says:

    We cant’ get past the historic churches trust let alone the DAC.

  3. David Keen says:

    as long as it’s ‘temporary’, you can get away with a surprising amount. An old vicar of mine once got rid of about 4 pews without anybody noticing, simply by sneaking in and unscrewing them at dead of night, and enlisting a couple of burly gents to help him relocate them. As it happened, we had some empty space at the back of the church, so the pews became the boundary of a new creche area.

    Sounds ideally set up for discussion groups to chat through the sermon together…..!!!

    Like you say, beautiful historic building. But a monument isn’t always the best gathering place for a living community.

  4. gloriousthings says:

    Lovely arch deacon can’t even give us a temporay licence for this one. Our answer was to build a church room in the church yard. that caused world war 3. Second coming will happen before we can touch the inside of church.

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