Friday, March 30, 2007

Programmatic Benefits of Chairs

Hello! Perhaps all of you have heard by now that we are exploring a remodel of our church sanctuary. One of the potentially contentious points in a church remodel is the discussion about removing pews in favor of more modern, padded chairs. Rather than discussing the differences in style, I want to focus for a moment on the difference in function. What possibilities are open to us if we have flexible seating? I have put together a partial list of the benefits our church would have as a result of bringing in chairs. After reading through, I'd encourage you to add some of your own at the end!

*Chairs allow for curved seating; better site lines for people towards the end of a row.

*Chairs may be placed around tables
-Discussion Groups
-Prayer Circles

*Chairs may be placed around longer tables, or one side of a circular table
-Conferences, seminars and workshops

*Chairs may be rearranged for worship purposes
-Worship event in center of room with chairs in circles

*Chairs may be removed from the front of the room
-Allows more room for dramas, mimes, or large wedding parties

*Chairs may be removed from the back of the room
-Providing greater space for socializing and fellowship

*Room may be completely cleared out
-Light-impact events (such as a ballet practice)
-Concerts or standing room only events
-Youth events

*Chairs will make the room more functional not only for our church family, but equally as important, it will make the room more available to our community. (Right now our sanctuary, the largest room in our building, is used around 6 to 7 hours per week.)
-Community seminars, practices, events, etc.

*Single chairs may be removed and replaced in case of damage
*Chairs may be removed for great wheelchair accessibility
*Chairs provide greater comfort
*Chairs are more familiar seating for unchurched people. Hard-backed benches are primarily found at sporting events- where people take "bleacher seats" with them!
*Chairs are a "defined space", giving people a greater feel of personal space. This will actually allow for a greater room capacity.

What do you think?

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