Is Your Church Getting New Pews?
When it was all over, it was one of those volunteer events you should not have missed.
After all, how often do you get a chance to use a sledge hammer in a sanctuary?
The social media post showing a picture of the empty sanctuary was circulated a full two hours earlier than anyone expected. The fact that the pew removal took place in two, not four, hours, had everything to do with the sledge hammers.
The church bulletin and emails announced for weeks this was the Sunday when help was needed to remove all of the pews in the main sanctuary. Although the majority of the congregation had no clue that the pews were in need of replacement, anyone who spent any amount of time on the alter looking toward the congregation could not help but notice the wear. From sagging spots in the longest pews to the lack of stain on the ends of the most used rows, the pastors had known for months that this was a high priority need. The evening when one of the pews actually cracked and came unbolted from the floor during an Advent service was the final indicator that something needed to be done. The group of high schoolers who were sitting in the pew that evening could not help but laugh at the sounds the pew was making, but by the end of the service even the teenagers knew that this was not really a laughing matter.
Fortunately, by that time the church council had already made the decision to buy church pews and the contractor had already been out to take measurements.
On the Sunday when the church pews were removed, many of the same high schoolers were helping and were part of the team that laboriously removed all of the difficult to access floor bolts. When it was discovered that only a very few of the smallest pews that were located in the front of the sanctuary could ever be used again, however, the adults made the decision to bring out the sledge hammers. By breaking off the supporting pieces first, the bolts were much easier to remove and the whole sanctuary was cleared by 2:00 pm, a full two hours earlier than originally expected.
The fact that the wooden pews contained a cushioned seating area was another reason that very few of these pews would have been salvageable, so the rather exciting demolition project was a rather chaotic event. Two jokes made the rounds on both social media sites and in person over the next week. One was that the raucous teenagers had literally destroyed the sanctuary, the other was that the space now smelled great, with no more pews in site!
Second Hand Church Pews and Church Steeple Plans Sometimes Serve a Bigger Purpose
In churches across the country that are much older, there is often a sentimental attachment to any kind of church furniture and architecture. Some of the more recently built churches, however, have modern designs with angled seating that does not lend itself well to any further use. In the case of worship spaces with antique church pews, however, there is often a long line of people who are willing to pay for these benches once they are removed from a sanctuary.
Likewise, there is often a sentimental attachment to church steeple plans that have served as an identifying factor for decades, sometimes centuries. As a result, in addition to companies that will help create new church steeple plans for a new church or a church renovation project, there are also companies that will help preserve a steeple once it has been removed. From finding a new home after it has been refurbished to moving it as is to a historical museum, many antique church steeples across the country, and the world, can be found.
Antique church pews are popular in private homes, and often serve as bench seating in an entryway or a dining area. The most classic church steeple plans are also preserved by many communities. Within any small town, large city, or parish, the local churches are often the oldest buildings, and they are larger than any pre-19th century structures except perhaps barns. It makes sense then that most church remodeling projects do not turn into demolition projects using sledge hammers.