Devout Christians: I Miss The Pew.

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( I absolutely love technology and gadgets. I love seeing the evolution of such, in proper context, and how it betters our everyday lives. There are more people using tablets and 2-in-1 devices to write verses paper; though I think it will be a very long time before I can give up my love for handwritten journaling, I can see the coolness of writing with a pen on a screen. It kind of reminds me of being that kid at school that was thrilled anytime I had the opportunity to approach the overhead projector and write on the surface. There are so many things we can do from our phone, and yes it can be a serious distraction, but imagine…technically you don’t have to be without a bible anywhere you go. Forgetting my bible at home when rushing to church use to be the worse, but I can now pull out my phone and even take notes there. When we go into service more there are projection screens also that flash the scriptures so even if your phone is not an option…you can read along.

Devout Christians: I Miss The Pew.

Many of us pay our tithes and offerings online now as it is convenient, and we don’t have to wait until Sunday to get it done. There are just so many advancements, and they are making their way into our church as the younger generations assist in keeping us current. Even with the excitement I feel for the technological advances I see at church, there are times when I miss the pew. There are Sundays that I miss church as I knew it growing up…I realize I miss the atmosphere of that sanctuary. I tend to wonder if we will ever see it again.

With the upgrades of church and the buildings itself, and the rise of more mega churches are watching the pew disappear. If might not be something we pay close attention to, but there are situations that will remind you the environment has change…and you might even begin to wonder if all are still welcomed. Our children are now occupied by children’s church which is taking place in another part of the church…or in another building on the church campus. For many spaces, long gone are the days of Sunday school…then the children having to sit quietly and behave in the main sanctuary. The toddler stretched out on the pew sleep is a memory.

Now the main sanctuary looks like an auditorium…built to fit many more people with those uncomfortable size restricted chairs. If a person deals with weight issues, regardless of why…we don’t know them so let’s not judge, it may be difficult for them to feel comfortable coming to church. It’s simple, they can’t sit in the chairs. This might not seem like a huge deal if it’s not your struggle, but if you get injured you might get introduced to it…or it may be low key why some members of your family opt to just watch church online. I will never say this is the intention, but it does seem to draw a dividing line in many of our congregations.

We all know covid demanded we have space from each other and understandably so. However, the pews began disappearing well before covid. We were no longer next to each other in the same way. We no longer shared the space in the same way…and it made service feel a bit different. I never tended to call a classroom home. Yes, we make friends and have bonds in that space but it is not a space I would call home as in most classrooms I don’t tend to feel vulnerable. Do you?  Think about it. We do call church our “church home”, we have bonds with church members that make them family. When we are praising through a situation…and I mean an ugly crying you don’t care who sees you kind of praise you are vulnerable and at home. Others are praising with you, praying for you, and embracing. Church is personal in that way.

The pew felt more personal than what we experience now. There is more of an impersonal position in some congregations…and in many of those spaces the pew is gone. I once remember being in such a low space, and feeling so much better after an elder let me cry…she prayed for me and with me. My memory of her is she took a grandmotherly approach with me, and I spent most of the service sitting on the pew next to this elder as I rested my head on her shoulder. God knew I needed to just sit with her…and she did too. I wonder if there is a way to merge the joy, excitement and efficiency of technology, with the warmth and togetherness of the pew. I just know when I visit a church and see a pew…I feel just a little more at home and a bit closer to ancestors that kept me while in my church home.

Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

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