After more than fifty years of usage, the pews of Christ Lutheran Church have reached the end of their lifespan. Torn fabric, damaged cushioning, and structural damage to several of the pews themselves have made them unsightly, uncomfortable, and unsafe. To address our obvious seating needs, the Pew Ministry Team was created with the task of recommending comfortable, durable seating that would meet our needs both now and as we move forward with our various ministries. Over the course of several months, the team researched and reviewed options for seating, flooring, and overall use of the worship space. The team’s final recommendation to Council takes a more comprehensive approach that dramatically changes Christ Lutheran’s worship space by providing flexibility and innovation in that space while retaining or reintroducing traditional elements.
The most significant of the recommended changes will be to the chancel in the front of the sanctuary, where the current design limits flexibility of worship opportunities. Our current circular altar space with fixed pews for the choir hinders the acoustics of musical presentations and complicates the movements of worship leaders. Additional use of this space is confined to its current structure restricting broader use of the space.
Chancel and Altar
The team has recommended the construction of a platform that will extend across the entire front of the sanctuary. This platform would be the same height as the current lower level in the altar space. Tiered levels in the back corners will accommodate the choir and other musicians, allowing them to face the congregation to improve the audio quality of the musical offerings. This space will also accommodate the organ and piano as well as both the pulpit and lectern. The altar will remain in a raised position on the platform with the added functionality of being moveable. Removable communion rails across the front of the platform will allow more flexibility and will open at the center and ends of the rail. Chairs will replace the current stationary pews in the chancel. The entire redesign allows for far more worship flexibility by giving music and worship planning the ability to adjust the space for a variety of musical presentations, Christmas pageants, plays, and other programs, as well as providing flexibility to create a more intimate worship space when desired. Engineered flooring designed for high traffic and noise reduction has been selected to provide quality over the long term.
Congregational Seating Area
In the congregational seating area new pews of more solid construction will include fabric covered cushions for comfort. While the actual number of pews in this area will be reduced, seating is expected to accommodate about 175 persons, depending on the final sizing of the rows. Pews on either side of the baptismal font will be sized to provide easy access around the font. The side aisles along the walls will remain unchanged. Stationary pews will provide secure seating that will accommodate congregants’ varying needs, allowing families with young children to have an easier time watching over them. Also, pews provide stability for those who might need support as they kneel or rise. Wheelchair seating areas will continue to be provided. The flooring in this space will be the same as in the chancel to provide cohesiveness and more durability. The Chi Rho and the baptismal font will be relocated to the middle of the main aisle so that baptisms will be performed amid the congregation, which also brings the font into the line of sight for those viewing via streaming.
Commons and Hallway Flooring
As the flooring in the Commons area and down the hallway to the pastor’s office stopping at the entrance to the classroom hallway is showing its age as well, it is also addressed. The flooring in those areas will be replaced by the same flooring as in the worship space.
Pricing based on estimates from firms building and installing pews, chairs, and flooring follow. Specific costs may rise or fall based on the price of materials and labor costs that occur before we are under contract. It is anticipated that labor for the sanctuary platform and minimal electrical work can be done inhouse.
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