Church of England

In defence of church pews: God save us from white plastic, stackable stainless steel and bright blue upholstery

There is “no theological basis” for the retention of church pews, declared John Gallagher, Chancellor for the Diocese of Rochester, as he dismissed the view of conservationists who wanted to retain the austere wooden pews in the 14th-century Grade I listed St Margaret’s Church in Rainham, Kent. And so a Church of England court has decreed that these Victorian pews may be replaced with tubular steel chairs upholstered in royal blue, which are light and easy to stack, not to mention a little easier on the posterior than hard wood.

History and architectural congruity must give way to the need for “comfortable seating” and the preference for “colour and brightness”. The change is apparently “popular among their congregation”, and they believe it “would encourage more people to attend”.

St Mary’s vicar, the Rev’d Judy Henning, is supported in this decision by church wardens Janet Garnons-Williams and Desiree Willis. This is… O, it’s probably best not to comment further.

Why should there been a need for “relief from the timber interior”? Is any of the congregation suffering from hylophobia? Are they a registered or protected minority? What about the need for relief from grey stonework and stained glass? What happens to the character of a medieval building when you fill it with IKEA and drape it in Laura Ashley? Why is it permissible to inflict an apocalypse of modernity upon a 14th-century Grade I listed parish church, but not (say) Canterbury Cathedral or St Paul’s Cathedral? Or are they next?

Should we put beanbags around the site of Thomas Becket’s tomb, to make it “more comfortable” for pilgrims to meditate and pray? How about gutting the interior of Westminster Abbey and filling it with brown leather armchairs and comfy sofas and coffee tables? That would certainly be popular with visitors, if not quite with the Dean. Why not model every cathedral on Costa? Wouldn’t that be cool and trendy and “encourage more people to attend”?

There may be “no theological basis” for the retention of pews, but John Gallagher might consider that there’s no theological basis for church buildings at all. But since we have them, and many represent a thousand years of cultural religiosity and Christian order, we really ought to respect their historic interiors as much as we seek to preserve their Early English Perpendicular. Is there no theological basis for a sense of aesthetics?

See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship (Ex 31:2-5).

God clearly cares about the quality of the art by which He is glorified. So much so that He fills the artist’s mind with beauty, and gift his hands with great skill and dexterity. There is no space for shoddy and second-rate. It is the vocation of the Christian artist to create excellence, and that creation, being to God’s glory, must be superlative. As TS Eliot expressed it in The Rock:

LORD, shall we not bring these gifts to Your service?
Shall we not bring to Your service all our powers
For life, for dignity, grace and order,
And intellectual pleasures of the senses?
The LORD who created must wish us to create
And employ our creation again in His service
Which is already His service in creating.

White plastic chairs may be lighter, and stainless steel tubes upholstered in bright blue fabric might be brighter, but church furniture is not made for detached comfort or portable convenience: it is designed for huddled collectivity and corporate communion. Church pews facilitate a shoulder-to-shoulder way of doing church, and a knee-to-knee way of approaching the presence of God together. We shuffle and nudge, glance awkwardly over shoulders to find our place in the order of service, and can’t escape the hymns of tuneless droning of the guy on the left. You touch him all the time. Or her. You can’t escape proximity, space-invasion, body odour, breath.

The church pews which St Mary’s in Rainham is chopping up for firewood were lovingly carved and crafted by our Victoria forebears in works of divine devotion, so that their community might sit side by side, infected and affected one by the other. When we replace these fashioned, shared benches with individual, machine-moulded chairs, we move toward the church of individualism, where every man becomes a comfortable island.

But it looks a lot brighter, and it’s certainly much easier on the posterior.

  • Meet Vicar Judy, devoted Guardianista.

    • Little Black Censored

      Oh! I wish you had given a warning about that picture.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        and what is she wearing????

        • Dreadnaught

          looks like its curtains for her.

        • David

          Don’t look at Johnny’s second link to a perhaps, even worse travesty. Talk about drawing attention to oneself !

      • Martin

        NSFW

    • Inspector General

      What a bloody awful sight, sir. Women vicars? Absolutely not!

        • Inspector General

          Oh good grief! The sheer narcissism of it. The saints would turn in their graves….

        • David

          Who is she serving, God or herself ?
          You appear to run a photo-library of vestments of horror ?

          • @ David—They don’t come much more horrific than this. I presume it was run up by the diocesan lesbian collective.

          • Inspector General

            {SHRIEK!}

          • Sarky

            Anyone for punch and judy???

          • David

            Oh that’s the arch-druid of the US Episcopalians isn’t it ?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Yes. An awful woman thing.

          • David

            The traditional Biblically observant Episcopalians left of course. But after some hardships, are flourishing I understand. Whereas the ever more “reforming”, quasi-Christian apostates will, bereft of the Holy Spirit, inevitably face decline.

        • The Explorer

          If you want to get rid of pews, she’ll certainly help empty them!

    • David

      A frightening sight – it gave me a shock !
      Her scarf appears to feature cartoon characters – ugghh !

      • @ David—In today’s church, I guess you have to wear your love of multiculturalism on your sleeve… or round your neck.

        • Inspector General

          Seems to be the least you can do for the shame of having white skin…

      • Mike Stallard

        It is what the kiddies want though!

        • David

          “Want” or need ?

    • The Explorer

      The most disturbing thing I’ve seen since Meret Oppenheim’s cup and saucer covered in rabbit fur.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Ugh…

  • len

    Perhaps deckchairs would be a more fitting seating arrangement for the state church today?.
    The Bishops could entertain themselves re- arranging them whilst discussing almost anything except the Gospel of Jesus Christ?.

  • jaundicedi

    When a wave of nostalgia tempts me to revisit the faith of my youth and perhaps rediscover some belief, I realise there is less and less within the CoE to revisit, after all the acts of vandalism visited upon the church. The loss of pews for kneeling, solid enough to assist raising my aging self, is a small deprivation compared with the loss of Cranmer’s dignified language, the replacement of boring but serious vicars with relentlessly on-message priestoids caring more for political correctness than theological soundness; there is no church I recognise to return to.

    • David

      Traditional services using Cranmer’s wonderful language, with conservative theology, are still available, but you have to search them out.

    • Peasant Farmer

      I think Peter Hitchens discusses this in one of his books. He is self aware enough to accept though, that if he turned his back on the church through most of his adult life, he has to take some responsibility for the vandalism done to it whilst he wasn’t there to defend it.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The pews in the old church building which we have just sold (Victorian heap, sending us to bankruptcy faster that you can imagine) were so close together that no-one above 5′ 4″ could kneel.

  • IanCad

    Plastic chairs go very well with plastic theology.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Brilliant remark!

      • IanCad

        Thank you very much!

    • chefofsinners

      You prefer wooden pews and wooden theology?

      • Darach Conneely

        As long as it’s not Woden theology.

      • IanCad

        To put it another way – Sound timber and Sound theology.

  • There is probably “no theological basis” for much of the furnishings and decoration in the church; other than the alter and a cross, what else is actually needed?
    The main case against individual chairs is that they get moved by the congregation, they are noisy as they are moved when the congregation stands, sits or kneels; extra chairs are moved to rows so a family or friends can sit together and of course there is no shelf on the chair in front of you for your hymn book or service sheet. At the end of a service, the seating is a shambles providing yet more work for the volunteers who try to keep the church presentable.
    After ten years or so of plastic chairs, one local church is is slowly replacing them with pews; unfortunately they are nothing like the beautiful pews which were discarded. As for comfort, at least half the pews in my parish church have cushions, a good incentive to get to church early!

    • Martin

      EP

      There’s certainly no sound theological basis for altars or crosses.

      • If that is so, there is no need for churches; why not sell them off, many would be prime building sites?

        • Martin

          EP

          The buildings are for the people of God to meet, to be taught and praise God. None of that requires altars or crosses since for Christians there was one sacrifice, never to be repeated.

          • True, but do they need their present expensive to maintain buildings which their congregations can’t afford to maintain properly.
            The local Methodist church just has a simple hall in a back street but seems to have a thriving congregation.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You are quite right. However, they would have to sell what they have, having already found an alternative site and put a suitable building onto it. Not easy in cities – and probably not in the ‘protected’ countryside either. The price they got would have to be enough to do all this, and frankly, it won;t be.

          • I agree, but I was just being the devil’s advocate as the Church seems so keen on getting rid of it’s heritage.

          • Martin

            EP

            A lot of the old nonconformist chapels are simple buildings and cost much less than the parish church to maintain.

          • Exactly, my point is that if the CofE starts getting rid if pews, how long before they start getting rid of all ornamentation and then getting rid of the churches?
            I prefer the traditional church furnishings and preferably pews with doors at their ends. Keeps the kids from running riot which seems to be all the vogue!

          • Martin

            EP

            I’d not want the children to run around during the service, but I don’t like the ornamentation either.

  • Darach Conneely

    There is a theological basis for reclining on couches. #LastSupper

    • chefofsinners

      #pewsforjesus

      • IanCad

        OK! Finally got it.

  • John Huggins

    There is no basis in contextual theology for freezing our church architecture in the period of (usually) the Victorians. Most of our churches were not constructed with pews and most of our historic churches show signs of change through the ages everywhere. This is part of their character. Theologically, change is a sign of life (of course there is good change and bad change, but rarely is there NO change). If (and only if!) individual chairs enable us to make our churches more suited to local mission then I am all for them. Yes- and reclining couches too!

    • Simon Platt

      What is contextual theology?

      • John Huggins

        My definition would be exploring ways to speak and act about the eternal truths of God that make sense in our particular context, and also to learn from that context so that we appreciate more fully the eternal truths of God.

  • Holger

    Plastic chairs under strip lighting and polystyrene ceiling tiles are your future in the schismatic ACACAC.

    A leading beacon of darkness and knee-jerk reaction in the Gafcon movement, the Arch-Conservative Anti-Compassionate Anglican Church has just approved its new motto :

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door,
    And slam it shut in their faces!”

    • IanCad

      Emma Lazarus was an earlier edition of the many bleeding heart actress types of today. Wealthy, opinionated, mighty good at telling others what to do – completely lacking even a modicum of common sense. Virtue signaling is nothing new.

  • Brixton_Dave

    I thought churches normally had church halls to deploy plastic chairs and tea urns etc in the comfortable warmth of modenity. I sympathise with the Archbishop’s nostalgic righteous indignation here – though normally don’t agreed with much he says!

  • Rip ’em out … and the organ while they’re at it. Hideous Victorian carbuncles.

    • IanCad

      Philistine!

    • betteroffoutofit

      Right. And as for all that MEDIAEVAL stained glass ….

      In fact – all those stupid hand-made ‘gargoyles’ and things — Primitive garbage. Just knock all the buildings down. Then the money-changers who buy the land can put up either mosques or something wonderful from China.

      • The things you mention are either original features of the building, not centuries later appendages, and/or facilitate worship rather than hinder it.

        The best thing that ever happened for to the life of my inner-city Anglican church was when some glue sniffers (…that dates me … who does that any more?!) managed to set fire to the building. For several years the Church were forced to meet in the local school hall whilst refurbishment took place. All the adherents of the religion known as churchianity disappeared, whilst the real Church grew deeper & stronger. When they returned to their beautifully refurbished church building (sans pews) it was with a fresh appreciation of the building as a place of worship not as an object of worship, with wonderful, comfortable & adaptable seating; light & spacious layout; decent acoustics; flexible space; decent toilets, kitchen, storage facilities etc all in an amazing container (including gargoyles, stained glass windows and – sadly – a refurbished organ!). Those glue sniffers helped achieve in 3 years what 133 years of PCC meetings never would have.

        • betteroffoutofit

          Sigh. I don’t know anything about glue or similar aids to escape – nor do I want to.
          The thing is – I also can’t bring myself to attend the religious parties or party-rooms they’ve heralded in. They’re horrible.

          One of my great sadnesses occurred near Wakefield Cathedral (over a decade ago) after the death of my last aunt. I walked down to the ancient place, and sat as long as I could trying to put up with all the changes in liturgy, sermonizing, etc. Then I decided to walk out, but couldn’t miss the ‘shop’ setup before the exit.

          Although horrified at the ‘counting house’ effect accompanying the service, I stopped to look for a cross as souvenir. The snotty female offered me something from euroland — all in foreign wood and style. “I want something English,” I said. She sneered, and showed me a rough, mis-shapen cross in plain wood – indicating that the English know nothing of craftsmanship. On closer inspection, the package explained that the cross was carved from old pews which had been removed from Wakefield C. as ‘not good enough.’

          Of course I bought it. It remains one of my dearest possessions.

          • What a wonderfully sentimental story. I do sincerely hope the cross you speak of remains one of your dearest possessions because it reminds you of your sin & the great price Christ paid to redeem you from it, and not because it reminds you of some Victorian ecclesiastical furniture.

          • betteroffoutofit

            I should have offered you an irony alert earlier – it seems I mistook your own purpose. I’m sorry, also, that you judge me too thick to appreciate the significance of Christ’s cross.

            I’m also sorry that you don’t share my appreciation of Wakefield (and my homeland/area) as wonderfully ancient and traditionally Christian (since the early days of Anglo-Saxonism, if not before with some of the Romans). It is now deeply beset and besieged by alien pagans – and unprotected by our native people.

            Personally, I like pews – whether they’re Victorian or older (13th-15th century). I don’t understand what anyone’s complaining about. Indeed, I like to have somewhere to kneel … which pews have afforded all through my long days.

            I also have no hatred of Victorianism, and I don’t understand why anyone would. What I can’t abide is the here and now: the Darkest of all Ages . . . Ever.

    • Martin

      Yep, singing should be unaccompanied.

      • IanCad

        No Way!!

        • Martin

          Ian

          Why ever not? I recall a service where I was forced to give the note. I managed to start each verse slightly lower than the previous one.

          • IanCad

            The only reason I can think of for not having a piano or organ leading out would be absence of instrument or musician.
            Disorganized singing can be dreadful.

          • Martin

            Ian

            Why would it be disorganised?

          • IanCad

            Sure would be if I didn’t have a piano to set the pace.

          • Martin

            Ian

            I’m sure you could find others to aid you.

      • carl jacobs

        Martin, you can be a little six-sigma on some subjects. There is no scriptural reason that singing can’t be accompanied.

        • Martin

          Carl

          I’ll accept that singing can be accompanied, but by an instrument suitable for that accompaniment. Guitars are not suitable, nor are most instruments, especially drums. Organs are marginally acceptable but lack the cleanness of attack that a piano provides. It’s fun to sing unaccompanied tho’

          • carl jacobs

            What is the scriptural definition of “suitable accompaniment”?

          • It’s a protestant thing, Carl.

            No scholar says early Christians used instruments. No Bible verse records it. Instruments were available and widely used in pagan worship and theatres, as well as the Jewish temple, but they were not used by the early Christian church.

            At the time of the Reformation, instruments were opposed and all other “extras” – too Romanist, you see. Martin Luther called the instruments “an ensign of Baal”. John Calvin wrote, “Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law”. John Wesley said: “I have no objection to instruments of music, in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen”. Adam Clarke wrote: “Music as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor”. Charles Spurgeon said: “We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it”.

          • carl jacobs

            Never trust a Catholic who quotes John Calvin.

          • Dominic Stockford

            dignified.

          • carl jacobs

            That isn’t a definition. That is a preference. Martin will say that guitars are not dignified, and I will say that they are. He is free to do as he pleases but he is not free to bind my conscience without authority.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I think the general tone of Bible teaching is that we should be dignified in all things, especially worship. I can safely say that waving you arms about in the air isn’t dignified, thumping drums are headache inducing (which isn’t dignified), and guitars always end up being an excuse to bring the world into the church and an excuse to allow non-believers to lead music in the mistaken belief that this will make them Christian. But you’re welcome to have them, just don’t bring them into mine. 🙂

          • CliveM

            Martin has a great many requirements that are culturally, as opposed to theologically defined.

          • CliveM

            Also psalm 150.

          • Martin

            Carl

            I was referring to suitability wrt singing, not Scripture.

          • Scripture does not prohibit musical instruments in Christian services.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, but when it becomes a performance the attention is on the musician, not God. The music in a service should come from the assembled people of God.

          • Do you always think the worse of people? Scripture does have something to say about that.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Scripture indeed has something to say about that.

            as it is written:
            None is righteous, no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            Their throat is an open grave;
            they use their tongues to deceive.
            The venom of asps is under their lips.
            Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
            Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            in their paths are ruin and misery,
            and the way of peace they have not known.
            There is no fear of God before their eyes.
            (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV])

          • But what about your predisposition to always think the worse of other people, Martin?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I suggest you read the passage I posted.

          • Experiencing joy should be a part of every Christian’s life. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, produced by God’s work in us, and it is part of God’s will for us.

            Philippians 4:4–8: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! . . . The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            What has that to do with anything? The Bible is describing Man in his natural state.

          • Where’s your joy, Martin?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’ve plenty of joy, but that isn’t the matter under discussion.

          • Then you never, never, ever show any. And it is the matter under discussion, though you don’t recognise it.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Perhaps you read the wrong posts. There’s plenty of joy when the people of God sing in His praise, less so when they ape pop singers.

          • …. and what about when they live their lives?

          • Martin

            HJ

            The people of God know a joy others cannot understand.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Piano is excellent.

          • Anton

            Nothing wrong with guitars, the problem is the people who play them today.

          • Martin

            Anton

            They’re not a good instrument to lead congregational singing.

          • Anton

            I’m more interested in what’s sung.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Your comment was about guitars in part. I’m also concerned over the pop idiom being so prevalent.

          • Anton

            Yes; so am I.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        Before the coming of the church organ, signing was done or lead by people with some skill & experience and often accompanied by instruments. That was the case for well over a century. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_gallery_music

        There has been something of a revival in this style. My wife sings in a west gallery choir (actually a quire).

  • Hugh Campbell

    Considering the greek for wood is “xylos” not “hylos”, it really should be xylophobia. Hylophobia means a fear of copses.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Hylomorphism (or hylemorphism) is a philosophical theory developed by Aristotle, which conceives being (ousia) as a compound of matter and form. The word is a 19th-century term formed from the Greek words ὕλη hyle, “wood, matter” and μορφή, morphē, “form.”
      . . . . . . .
      Medieval theologians, newly exposed to Aristotle’s philosophy, applied hylomorphism to Christian doctrines such as the transubstantiation of the Eucharist’s bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. Theologians such as Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas developed Christian applications of hylomorphism.(Wikipedia)

  • David

    Horses for courses !
    There is a very sound argument for retaining traditional, beautifully crafted wooden pews in those church buildings that, unusually, possess great architectural merit. But such cases should be few. For a church is ultimately not its buildings, but the assembled faithful gathered to hear the gospel and worship God; for as we live in an age that expects comfort and warmth, church growth requires us to offer, in welcome, a modicum of modern conveniences. For what use is it to have a land full of beautiful heritage church buildings, emptied of all believers ?
    A parallel argument exists regarding the language used for services. Should it always be the beautiful but sometimes obscure English of Cranmer’s ancient Prayer Book, or contemporary language easily understood by all, including those who do not yet believe ? Yes of course, we must retain a few services employing Cranmer’s soaring beautiful prose; but to attract new believers, out of the as yet unchurched, more modern expressions are needed.
    Horses for courses.

    • Mike Stallard

      And do not forget the kiddies who are often a little bored so they like to run around a bit!

      • Martin

        Mike

        Hence pews are required to corral them.

        • Rhoda

          No their parents should control them.

          • Martin

            Rhoda

            Should of course, but pews make it so much easier.

        • Dominic Stockford

          You need box pews with doors on to do that…

          • Martin

            Dominic

            And shackles, but the umbrella stands could be used for that purpose I suppose.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You don’t see many of those any more. We have a free standing Victorian one, never had them stuck to the ends of pews in order to injure people waling past….

          • Martin

            Dominic

            I was thinking of those attached to the ends of pews, rather like folding handles. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/10/09/a1/1009a18709d82ff182949da05018e424.jpg

          • Dominic Stockford

            Yup.They can do a nasty to your thigh – especially with a brolly in them.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Excellent.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Oh for goodness sake – if the priestesses at Rainham think comfortable seating will bring the crowds flocking back they are sadly, sadly deluded. This is the Gospel according to St. Ikea, flat-pack furnishings for flat-pack theology…i.e. make of it wht you will. Urgh!

    • Holger

      Silly! Not St. Ikea. St. Ronald McDonald.

      Once they’ve installed the La-Z-Boy recliners, burger deliveries via drone will begin.

      This is the future of your church. Et j’en suis ravi de chez ravi …

      • Sarky

        Burger deliveries?? In a couple of years the only thing you’ll hear in there is “do you wanna go large”, don’t know where they’ll put the drive through though??

  • Inspector General

    Pews are nonsense things. Their introduction allowed the length of services to be expanded beyond the half hour of normal human endurance into the hourly misery of today. Outrageous!

    We should stand before the Almighty or kneel. Though one has no objection if the church council provides a selection of crutches, wheelchairs and baskets available at the back of the church for the infirm, aged or otherwise incapacitated to relieve their physical suffering.

    Pews, indeed. Pah!

    • Manfarang

      In the old days there were seats along the wall for the old and infirm hence the phrase, “to go to the wall.”

      • IanCad

        I know you’re on the other side of the world and can only suppose it is April 1st where you are, and are having us on.
        When a ship was laid up it would “go to the wall” Sixteenth century or about.

        • Martin

          Ian

          I’ve heard Manfarang’s meaning as well. It would date to the mediaeval period when seating was not generally present in churches.

        • Manfarang

          The ship might go to the wharf.
          Burn Holy Fire: Religion in Lewes Since the Reformation by Jeremy Goring is I think where I read about pewless churches and going to the wall. The phrase is mostly used about business failures now so the notion of old and infirm which it embodies..

    • Anton

      You have no time for the protestant preaching tradition?

      • Inspector General

        The protestants now have no time for their preaching tradition, my dear fellow. Have you seem the awfuls Mr Rottenborough has provided below for our delectation and education? Man born of woman is supposed to be preached at by them, of all things!

        • Anton

          Inspector, I went 37 minutes in my sermon this morning.

          • Sarky

            Was there a power cut??

          • Inspector General

            That makes a fellow think. As the Progressives exercise total control over the CoE, sermons are going to cause them a conundrum. You see, you can’t have just anyone knocking up a sermon. Not now. They will need approval from a bishop-feminist to write them. After all, their struggle was long and hard, and they can’t be doing with any off message reaching the congregation.

          • Anton

            Sadly Inspector this wasn’t the CoE, although their hierarchy might have needed the message more.

            John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, the most popular Christian book after the Bible, while in prison for unlicensed preaching – which is what I did today.

          • Inspector General

            Do rest assured Anton, that one instinctively knew it was not an Anglican church you were preaching in…

          • Anton

            During my Anglican days I looked into becoming a lay reader, but I found it took even longer than to become a vicar. When that congregation was in an inter-regnum between vicars and I was on the PCC I tried to get some multi-member ministry in place to greet the new vicar with, but the liberals on the PCC stomped on all my suggestions. With liberals wrecking the local congregations and the hierarchy too, I quit.

      • Martin

        Anton

        Seems to me it was Paul who started it, as Eutychus testifies.

  • Simon Platt

    A few years ago a fellow I knew, curate at a church where the clergy wanted to remove some pews and reorder the nave, used the phrase “nice stacking chairs” without a hint of irony. I heard it with my own ears. If I had ever thought about it, which I’m sure I should not have were it not for that particular conversation, I should have thought it inconceivable that those words could be used together except in an attempt, as I am attempting now, at ridicule.

  • Anton

    The pews should go, so that a good-sized open space can be available. But let them be replaced by decent wooden chairs, not plastic trash.

    • Mike Stallard

      This is getting just like the Methodists – and look what happened to them!

      • Anton

        To my knowledge most Methodist chapels retain pews. The problem with Methodism is deviation from scripture, and where are pews in scripture?

        • ” …. where are pews in scripture?”

          *Rolls eyes*

          • Anton

            Holy rolling?

          • It’s a protestant led innovation. They first came into common use because of the practice of lengthy Puritan sermons.

          • Anton

            Can’t have people knowing the Bible for themselves, can we? What discrepancies in church practice might they see then?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Yes, they do seem to keep/replace with new, the pews.

    • IanCad

      Why the open space Anton? Planning a dance? Or giving the Holy Rollers enough room?

      • Anton

        One Anglican church within 10 miles of me was dead on its feet a decade ago and the new vicar, who is basically evangelical, got rid of the pews for chairs and now has a growing and faithful (ie, not liberal-theological) congregation which uses the open space for Christmas Day dinners for the community, an evangelistic Christmas fair, and week-long holiday Bible clubs for local children during half-term holidays.

        • IanCad

          Good for him! A rare success story – a growing church. But, was it due to the removal of the pews or the vigour of this one vicar?

          • Anton

            The latter, of course, but how many of those activities would have been possible with the pews in place?

          • Pubcrawler

            No church/village hall available?

          • Anton

            No, see reply to Ian please.

          • Martin

            Anton

            None, one hopes.

          • Anton

            That church was a Victorian foundation on a small plot of land in a growing town and has no alternative Hall.

          • IanCad

            I see your point. Removable pews! There you go. A few brackets, bolts, and some Rawlplugs. A couple of evenings work – problem solved. Save some money as well.

          • IanCad

            I see your point. Removable pews! There you go. A few brackets, bolts, and some Rawlplugs. A couple of evenings work – problem solved. Save some money as well.

          • betteroffoutofit

            No … it was due to the parties.

        • betteroffoutofit

          Yes – an American church near me does the same thing. If you want prayer and worship, beautiful Biblical and Cranmerian language — then I really don’t know where to suggest you find it (except in your own traditional books.)

        • Little Black Censored

          There you are, all problems solved!

  • The Explorer

    In some churches, radiators seem to be pipe running the lengths of the pews. Get rid of the pews, and you have a heating issue. Not sure how big an issue this is.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It is a big issue. But replacing the heating is probably less than buying decent chairs to replace the pews!

    • Anton

      I stuffed my goretex anorak under a pew with a concealed heating pipe once and it was an expensive mistake.

  • Merchantman

    One of the most interesting things about the Gospel’s is that (apart from perhaps Isaiah 52:14) there is no description of what Our Lord looked like. As he is risen and likens himself to the New Temple maybe we should consider those things rather than dressing it all up in trendy fabrics. The indications are the Upper Room was probably a Pub Meeting room.

  • chefofsinners

    Pews are, of course, deeply scriptural. Moses devotes an entire book to their effect on the buttocks: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus…
    Numbers.

    • betteroffoutofit

      I’m a bit disgusted at all this focus on rear ends. Never. Ever. In the whole history of this benighted race (all colours included) – have so many vast, ugly fat, wobbling, immodest hindquarters been thrust upon the view of all and sundry. These overfed (or misfed) generations have more than enough padding. They don’t need any more, be it of chinese made plastic or hot air.

      • chefofsinners

        Every church has its Mrs Wobblebottom. The main argument for upholstery is the line of sweat which she leaves on wooden or plastic seating.

      • Anton

        Western capitalism has proven so successful at generating wealth that today we have a problem of obesity – and a problem most acute among the poor. Obesity may be a distressing problem for the individual but at the level of society it is a triumph, because for thousands of years the poor would often starve to death.

    • carl jacobs

      ??

      • chefofsinners

        Numbers. Those which numb.

        • carl jacobs

          OK. That joke was last seen orbiting Neptune. In fact, that joke is so far out, it might even be the undiscovered tenth planet of the solar system.

          And, yes, Pluto is still a planet.

          • chefofsinners

            I will try to bear in mind the gravity of the situation.

          • Jon of GSG

            Ouch!!

  • Mike Stallard

    “St Mary’s vicar, the Rev’d Judy Henning, is supported in this decision by church wardens Janet Garnons-Williams and Desiree Willis. ”
    There’s the clue…
    Grannies like to make a home for the kiddies…

    • bluedog

      Great name, Desiree. If she isn’t/wasn’t a hairdresser or a beautician, she should have been. Nothing wrong with a jumping castle for the kiddies either.

  • chiaramonti

    Hilaire Belloc always followed the French tradition of standing throughout services. On one occasion, in Westminster Cathedral, he was approached by an usher as the words of consecration were about to be intoned. The usher informed him that people generally knelt at this point. ‘Go to Hell,’ replied Belloc. “Sorry sir,’ replied the usher. ‘I didn’t realise you were a Catholic!”

    • Inspector General

      This man stands when he can. At the back. It’s the natural thing to do before God Almighty in his house.

      • chefofsinners

        In scripture men are seen in three postures before the Almighty: standing, kneeling and prostrated. The one missing is… sitting down. What might this tell us about pews?

        • Sermon on the Mount springs to mind ….

          • chefofsinners

            You are somewhat missing the point of the incarnation.

          • And you’re rather missing the point of Jack’s comment.

          • chefofsinners

            How?

      • Sarky

        Is that code for “nobody will sit next to me” ?

  • Martin

    In my experience most chairs used in churches are too small and have inadequate padding. For a half hour sermon they are painful and allow no readjusting of the seating position. Pews, while they may be hard, are generally adequately sized and allow a certain amount of fidgeting to alleviate the numbness.

    Maybe it is the ladies, who already have considerable padding, who prefer the chairs.

    • IanCad

      Not only that but when kneeling for prayer chairs tend to get pushed around. Not so the solid pew. If a bum/sq.ft. analysis were to be made I would venture to suggest that the pews would prove to be the most efficient means of seating.
      I most sincerely hope the distaff members of your congregation don’t frequent this blog.

      • Martin

        Ian

        Kneeling?

        • IanCad

          Most certainly.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Quite unnecessary, very showy.

          • IanCad

            I don’t believe that is quite what the Bible teaches Dominic.

            “—- he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven” ” 2 Chron. 6:13

            “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” Psalm 95:6

            “—–he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:10

            “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Luke 22:41

            “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me—” Romans 14:11

            “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” Ephesians 3:14

            “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Acts 7:60

            “–Then Peter sent them all out of the room. He knelt down, prayed–“ Acts 9:40

            “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” Acts 20:36

            Several more from where those came from.

          • Dominic Stockford

            None of them are a command to kneel. But kneel if you want. Most of the elderly in my congregation would require ambulances if we did kneeling. Not a practical thing for many people.

          • IanCad

            True Dominic, no specific command is evident in any of those words. However, if we hold Christ as our pattern then His example, as in Luke 22:41 would be worthy of following, as and if we are able.

  • “God clearly cares about the quality of the art by which He is glorified. So much so that He fills the artist’s mind with beauty, and gift his hands with great skill and dexterity. There is no space for shoddy and second-rate. It is the vocation of the Christian artist to create excellence, and that creation, being to God’s glory, must be superlative.”

    Jack completely agrees. The same applies to sacred liturgy, as we express our beliefs with our worship – or should.

    • chefofsinners

      the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

      • Urgleboo

        Not only will a devout artist desire to create the superlative (at least, to their ability), but his creation will inevitably embody his devotion, and so perpetuate something of his religious faith and tradition to those who experience the work.

        So that verse does not really fit in the context of art. With religious art, the outward appearance owes something to the heart and, furthermore, the hearts of many will end up owing something to the outward appearance. There is no hypocrisy here.

        • chefofsinners

          The point is: we have no way of telling whether the maker of a beautiful pew had any love for God in his heart as he created it. He was paid the going rate for his level of skill and might just as well have spent the cash on prostitutes or put it back onto the collection plate.
          Are we not over trying to buy salvation by bringing the fruits of our bodies for the sins of our souls? Do we not yet know that the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands?

          • Lucius

            “Are we not over trying to buy salvation by bringing the fruits of our bodies for the sins of our souls? Do we not yet know that the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands?”
            ********************************************************************************************
            Yet, the Lord anointed Solomon to build His Temple. 1 Chronicles 22:10. He commanded the construction of an Ark for His Testimony. Exodus 25:16. He called upon the best artisans and craftsman in gold, stone, and wood to construct the Ark. Exodus 31. Even Christ referred to the physical Temple as his Father’s House. Matthew 12:13; Luke 2:49.

            Clearly, the Lord understands that we are physical creatures that live in a physical world and that beautiful physical constructions are an acceptable means of honoring Him. The construction of a physically beautiful Church, Icons, and a beauty of worship can be and are God-inspired. I believe your comment , “trying to buy salvation,” is a bit too cynical.

          • Well said.

            This will not compute with our more dour Protestant brethren who see churches as spaces for preaching and reading scripture and whatever. Orthodoxy and Catholicism (and some Anglicans and Lutherans) believe that Christ is physically present, in His Body and Blood,in our churches.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes. Christ is spiritually present in our bodies, not physically present in our churches.

          • chefofsinners

            What you are missing is the essential difference between the Old Testament and the New. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

      • Pubcrawler

        Of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man?

        • chefofsinners

          Thus spake the eunuch.
          Of David’s brethren in this instance.

      • The beauty of Christian churches move us to the contemplation of the Word of God and His majesty. God declared He was pleased with the construction of King Solomon’s Temple: “I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually.” (1 Kgs. 9:3).

        Gazing at a sunset, or a great painting of a sunset, or contemplating the greatness of God through the beauty of his creation, is worship; it directs us to Him. Why not beauty in liturgy and in the physical setting for worship? God commanded both Moses and Solomon to build an Ark and a Temple. God created man as a being who is both spiritual and physical. In order to draw us to Himself, God uses both spiritual and physical means. He will use beauty and creation itself to guide us to Him.

  • Inspector General

    Darcus Howe has died. The Inspector followed this man’s antics for many years. Early on, Howe was among those who realised that mass immigration from the West Indies could only be accommodated by a lowering of policing standards and an acceptance of harmful unsocial behaviour to a degree. That is his legacy as he was, of course, highly successful. We live with the fruit of that ‘success’ today…

  • Peasant Farmer

    And yet though, on a recent visit to Hull we attended an evangelical Anglican Church which had replaced its pews with seats, installed speakers to correct the acoustics and the place was packed.

    Better to keep the odd pew as a museum piece and make the building as useful as possible to its current inhabitants I feel.

    Excellent sermon tackling the issue of wives submitting to their husbands without waffling around the subject, clearly the appetite for good teaching remains, despite the best efforts of the feminists.

    • Martin

      PF

      It’d probably be better to pull down the building and put one up where the acoustics were suitable for preaching than fitting a PA system.

      • Peasant Farmer

        They’d turned the seating side on if that makes sense, and arranged the chairs in a semi circle around the lecturn. So everyone was close to the preacher. Three speakers above his head projected his voice loud and clear.

        A much cheaper and more pleasing option than the vandalism of flattening the place and erecting some hideous community centre style building on the site.

        • Martin

          PF

          Why is it vandalism to pull down a building that no longer has a purpose. The maintenance costs on such buildings are always high.

          • Peasant Farmer

            A few £ks to upgrade a building for another 30 years, plus running costs vs legal costs, demolition, rebuilding and still paying (possibly reduced) running costs?

            I suspect they don’t let you run the finances at your church?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Not a Victorian building then, to which a few £ks will do no more than replace an electric socket.

          • Peasant Farmer

            Probably right actually, but an internal refit has still got to be more cost effective than a new build.

            Also, I think it is easier to get the public into a c of e building, as opposed to a non-conformist one, so it could be said to help with outreach. A sweeping generalisation I’ll admit.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Maybe.

            Our old building will cost the developer £1,000,000 to prop up. Then it will cost more to replace the electrics. To get it back into a state to use safely as a church it would have cost as much as he paid us for it – and we didn’t have that, nor would anyone give it to us. This one is not cost effective – especially as it will include 20%VAT. Our current (1974) building is to be refurbished as well – this will cost more than putting up another (admittedly smaller) one in its place – but is far easier in getting planning permission.

          • Martin

            PF

            You mean you haven’t seen the appeals for £M outside churches? It’s just like pouring money into the sea.

          • Peasant Farmer

            We’ll run churches with good congregations will more or less be able to finance their own building.

            If the task is beyond them then I agree they would be wise to move somewhere more suitable.

      • CliveM

        Eh explain the logic of that?

        • Martin

          Clive

          I thought I had. PA systems are never fully effective in such circumstances and the build is for preaching.

          • CliveM

            You can get a very effective PA for tens of thousands less then a new building!

          • Martin

            Clive

            But you need to factor in the maintenance of the building.

  • chefofsinners

    Tell you what else, that veil in the temple being torn in two. Dreadful act of vandalism. Lovely bit of cloth, that; all manner of cunning workmanship.

    • Dominic Stockford

      4 inches thick… unique… and he went and did that to it….

  • John

    Churches are not museums. No one is asking for orange plastic bucket seats. Let local churches move into the 21st Century and be set free from the tyranny of heritage as an end in itself.

    • Aran’Gar

      Why is ugly and lazy always viewed as the epitome of the 21st century?

      Given that I can’t see many wanting it, I don’t think it is what will last.

      • 1649again

        Haven’t you seen modern architecture and art?

    • Little Black Censored

      Stirring stuff!

  • Coming soon to the modernised church near you: designated smoking areas (for those longish sermons); wide screen television with Sky Sport; a minibar filled with a selection of alcoholic beverages and holy water; solariums for the winter evenings; and a Jacuzzis for baptisms and for the arthritic.

    • Sarky

      Crikey, that might tempt me back!

    • Anton

      You’ve had a preview of Pope Francis’ next Encyclical?

  • Two words, women clergy. Say no more.
    It’s sinful the destruction of the pews. Why don’t they have dark red velvet cushions to tone with the lovely wooden pews for those who have sensitive posteriors.
    Church needs to feel divine,awe inspiring and connected to God not IKEA.
    Those ghastly women are downgrading and trivialising the church.

    • Aran’Gar

      Don’t all churches have cushions (or allow one to bring cushions) whenever parishioners want or need them?

      Mind you, that solution is both too cheap and does not leave sufficient room to destroy things.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Bring a cushion? Really? Next thing people will be expected to own a Bible so that they can bring that too. Whatever next.

  • So practically where would one put one’s hymn book, Bible and prayer books? Where would one rest one’s elbows when kneeling in prayer? Pews are designed for purpose, light weight stacking chairs are made for another purpose entirely.

    • chefofsinners

      Get with it, Marie. The words are on the plasma screen along with the sermon PowerPoint. The bible is on your iPhone, not that you’ll need it. Prayers are said standing up with your arms in the air while the worship leader does her guitar solo.

    • Little Black Censored

      Kneeling is not customary in churches containing light stacking chairs. You even read or hear the instruction “sit or kneel”, meaning “we know you are not going to kneel”.

      • Dominic Stockford

        You will find, in some churches, very low chairs. You sit on them, then for the kneeling part, turn them round and kneel on them. It is a sheltered life that has never come across those.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Light weight stacking chairs won’t be found in any thoughtful church. They will either have, or be seeking to have, nice solid wood chairs with hymn book pockets on the back – remember them? They’ve been around for many many decades.

      • I’ve always had wooden pews with kneeling cushions/pads where ever I’ve been, even in the crematorium!

  • bluedog

    One recalls as a child being taken to worship at a beautiful country parish a way away from home. Apparently the vicar of the local village church was considered unsound for some unexplained reason and we never trod his aisle. In any event, the chosen church had central heating with the boiler in the crypt, below an iron grating. The dim flickering of the boiler’s flames sent an unmistakeable message to those tempted to trespass.

  • The chairs may be moved to the side and stacked when the vicaress decides to have a special event like a barn dance.
    Very biblical, by the way: “I have come that they may have life, and have it in a barn dance.”

    • ChaucerChronicle

      ‘vicaress’ – that brought a smile to my face!

    • Dominic Stockford

      It would also allow the local muslims to make use of the space……

  • Lucius

    My Church has no pews. Problem solved.

    • Jack understands Greek Orthodoxy and others have generally adopted pews as mainstream in their churches, whereas Russian and Serbian Orthodoxy have generally maintained a “no pew” position, apart from a few chairs or stalls along the walls and back of the church for those who need them. It is a matter of custom, not theology or doctrine.

      • CliveM

        Last few times I have been in Greek Orthodox churches (in Greece), they were all standing (not that that is conclusive proof).

        • Dominic Stockford

          Same thing in Poland, Remember the pictures of Lech Walesa etcetera? All standing. (‘The weak go to the wall’ where there are some stone benches for them so sit on).

      • Lucius

        I believe the “no pews” position is a matter of custom as you say, but as I understand it, fixed pews did not become prevalent until about the 16th century, and for the first 1,000 years of the Church, “no pews” was the norm. Although my Church keeps with this ancient (small “t”) tradition, many Orthodox Churches feature fixed pews. I personally prefer no pews, as I think it contributes to a sense of closeness and togetherness during services, but reasonable minds can and do differ. And although I prefer no pews, I disagree with dumping existing pews in favor of plastic chairs or the like. It seems to me to be another step toward making Church more about OUR convenience and less about HIS Glory.

  • CherryPie

    The old wooden pews were carved for the glory of God in the same that churches/cathedrals were built for the glory of God.

    Plastic replacements don’t make the grade in that respect…

  • Interesting history behind the pew:

    http://anglicanhistory.org/misc/freechurch/fowler_pews1844.html

    The history of its introduction into English churches, and the circumstances attending it, are involved in some obscurity. There is no doubt, however, that before the Reformation parish-churches were not pewed, that is to say, the floor of the nave or body of the building was never covered, as at present, with close boxes. On the contrary, no exclusive seats, with very few exceptions, were allowed; and if there were any seats, they were generally such as were moveable, and the personal property of the incumbent.

    Persons who have visited Roman Catholic countries, can easily imagine that this would be the case so long as England formed part of the Romish communion. For whatever may be the errors and corruptions of that Church, respect of persons within the walls of her sacred buildings, and indulgence of personal ease and accommodation there, are certainly not to be laid to her charge. The services of that Church indeed make accommodation for sitting of much less consequence to her members than to ourselves. Chaunting and prayer, with short selections from the Scripture, form the chief features of those services; and accordingly Roman Catholic congregations will be generally observed to be either standing or kneeling. Nor was the practice of preaching lengthy sermons, or rather (as it should now be called) of reading long essays, so much in vogue as it was afterwards under the reign of the Puritans, who carried it to a ludicrous extent, or as it is at present in a more moderate degree amongst ourselves. Under these circumstances, therefore, we should not expect to find general and luxurious accommodation for sitting in the early English churches, even if there were nothing but mere conjecture to rely upon ….

    [T]he Reformation, with its lengthened services, and sermons, rendered accommodation for sitting of much more importance than before, and pews became rather more common than before: bye and bye the old open seats and chairs required reparation or renewal; and when a general new seating was determined upon, the privileges of the pew were imitated throughout, and the old fashion of moveable or open seats almost entirely discarded

    • Richard Hill

      I read that pews were introduced to stop the congregation dancing. Did the original temple have seats?

    • IanCad

      Interesting Jack, but according to Mark 12:38,39, seats – perhaps even in the style of pews – were around during the time of Christ.

      “And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:”

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Interesting discussion.

    But if things look like geting out of hand, one might think of inviting Pepé Le Pew along.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Given that there aren’t likely to be many there anyway, he won’t be frightening many away…

  • Dominic Stockford

    Grade One listed? I do hope English heritage won’t play.

    Chairs in general not a bad thing in church (most cathedrals and abbeys have never had anything except chairs), but not where the building is such a whole as this is. This’ll be the first step to a complete redo of the whole thing, turning it into some modernistic monstrosity inside.

    • Anton

      Come on Dominic, the pews are Victorian and if the church building is 14th century then it was never designed for pews at all. Please see my comments below about how an evangelical vicar near me turned a congregation round and part of how he did so was to remove pews so that the inner space could be used for various things that facilitated outreach. Plastic seats are fit only for toilets, but St Mary’s Rainham can perfectly well get decent wooden ones.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Its grade one listed – that’s innards and outerds protected. That means something, whether we like the architecture or not (and I’m not keen on it, either Victorian or 14th C). You and I both know what is likely to happen at this building, and it won’t be a pretty sight. I don’t think that St Helen’s Bishopsgate has got it right, nor several others that have gone this way.

        We use chairs.

        • Anton

          In 10 years time St Mary’s Rainham will probably have neither pews nor the Rev Judy and I would not grumble about the absence of either.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I won’t argue with that.

  • Lucius

    This is off topic, but I am hoping to get a sanity check on an article referenced by Breitbart from my British friends. Can this article be described as “fair and accurate” or does the author engage in more than a bit of hyperbole? I am merely curious. Thank you in advance.

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10124/london-mosques-churches

    • Dominic Stockford

      It is accurate, but possibly not entirely fair. There is a massive rise in mosques, allowed and not allowed ones. Many church buildings have closed. However, the congregations have not necessarily closed. Our building was closed as a worship building because of its Victorian expenses which were bankrupting us, but we now have two other far more suitable buildings.

      • Lucius

        What is your opinion on British sentiment with regard to the purported Islamization of Britain? Is on-going Islamization significant and real? Is it a real fear among the great majority of British or are the British divided on this topic?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Hmmm. Various points there.

          I would say that most people are living in a la-la land where, because they see nothing, nothing is therefore happening (even though many of them are choosing to see nothing!). However, many people are beginning to understand the nature of the changes being forced upon us. Comments on the Guardian website articles (a VERY leftwing newspaper) are even beginning to show some comprehension of the problem facing us, and the amount of deceit/ostrichland that the Government are living in.

          Islamisation is real. Many communities have completely changed. There are, despite the government saying otherwise, no-go areas for the police. There are also places where I’d be very uncomfortable about entering – mostly in cities. In London there is only one borough where there is no mosque (Richmond Upon Thames) – most of the rest have several.

          For more information Barnabas Fund are the people to go to. Their research is excellent. https://barnabasfund.org/

          Christian Concern also provide a good level of research as well. Tim Dieppe, their specialist in this area is excellent. http://www.christianconcern.com/

          • Lucius

            Thank you for the thoughtful response.

      • Martin

        FWIW a local Methodist church was closed (they closed a number and moved into the remaining one) and has been bought by the local Moslems. Currently it’s boarded up and has been for some time. Presumably they plan to build a mosque when finances are available. Currently they’re meeting in a converted house.

        • Dominic Stockford

          That is a shocking dereliction of the Christian faith by those concerned. We sold our old building, including a clause preventing it being used either for worship (by anyone else) or for weddings (can’t think why!!!). This reminds me why I do not go to Methodist churches, ever.

          I guess they’ve moved into the middle of Exmouth.

  • chefofsinners

    “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Proverbs 22:28.
    This is a fiendish plot to re-establish the Ottoman Empire.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Seems a bit ‘knight’s move thinking’ there!

  • DPJ

    Ah, let’s stick our finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing….that’ll bring people to church for sure! Yet another example of how church’s are caving in to the popular culture, and still failing. If one can’t sit in a wooden pew for one hour a week, they have more problems than a numb rear end.