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Transition From Pews To Padded Chairs

by Tim Knapp on December 05, 2020

Transitioning from Pews to Padded Chairs

A message from PNC’s Church Board

 For the past few months, the church board has been discussing a significant enhancement to our Sanctuary and has made the decision to transition from pews to padded chairs.

During the COVID pandemic, the PNC staff has faced the logistical challenges of how to safely accommodate those wishing to return to in-person worship services, while also abiding by health and safety guidelines. They quickly realized that the pews significantly limit our ability to be flexible and meet evolving needs. With these reasons in mind, the board reached a consensus that timing for the transition to chairs is optimal.

Chairs provide the flexibility to address current capacity restrictions by allowing us to provide better seating configurations, with adequate spacing and a more efficient cleaning process. This will enable PNC to safely accommodate more people on a continual basis.  

 This increased flexibility will also serve us in the future, as we consider Sanctuary use for new events, teaching opportunities and worship gatherings, previously not an option for PNC. We envision multiple seating configurations, used to create a more welcoming space for families and provide better accessibility to people who are mobility challenged.  

 The Sanctuary pews served a great purpose for the past twenty years. We understand many will feel this transition deeply and change can be difficult. If you would like to talk with church board representatives to better understand this decision, we’re available and happy to talk with you. Please contact the church office ( ) and we’ll set up a meeting.  

 Q&A

Why Are We Prioritizing Chairs Over Other Maintenance Projects? 
There are several priority projects identified by the board and these remain a priority. However, the urgent need at this time is increased flexibility. This flexibility will help us in returning to safe, socially distanced services in greater capacity, and general flexibility in the future. As funds become available, we’ll proceed with the deferred maintenance projects (e.g. carpeting, painting and repairs to the parking lot). 

What Will Be Done With the Pews Once They’re Removed 
At this time, the intention is to find a solution where they will continue to be used. However, the market for these pews is almost non-existent, since they are not the old, classic, wooden ones. Most churches seem to be moving away from the use of padded pews. If you’re aware of a need, or have interest in a pew yourself, please contact the church office ( ).  

How Are We Paying for This?
God continues to bless PNC through the faithfulness of regular tithes and offerings. Along with meeting our budget, we’ve seen an amazing outpouring of love and support for Compassionate Ministries, in response to the urgent needs in our community during these turbulent days. Over the past few months, we’ve established a funding margin due to some lower expenditures during COVID. This margin, plus consistent giving from the congregation opens the way to pay for the chairs. This is the decision of the PNC Church Board and Finance Committee.  

When Will the New Chairs Arrive?
The chairs will arrive sometime the end of January. We are ordering 400 chairs, creating space for more room between the rows for better maneuverability for those in the middle of the rows 

And Some May Be Asking, “How Can We Have A Church Sanctuary Without Pews?!” 
The Sanctuary pews served a great purpose for the past twenty years. We understand many will feel this transition deeply. The pews are what we’re used to seeing when we enter the Sanctuary. Change can be difficult. While some may feel the loss, there is also a gain. The board and Pastoral staff believe the transition to chairs not only addresses an urgent need, it significantly assists expanding ministry options in the Sanctuary space. The pews have been restrictive in arrangement and use of space. Chairs will also help create better movement flow. This decision puts us in a better position for replacing the 21 year-old Sanctuary flooring in the future.  

If you would like to talk with church board representatives to better understand this decision, we’re available and happy to talk with you. Please contact the church office ( ) and we’ll set up a meeting.