“One of the first things we did when we started in ministry was give our church building a loving ‘makeover.’ We saw the church as an extension of our home and wanted people to feel as comfortable as they would be sitting in their own living rooms. This meant we ditched a lot of the more austere ‘religious’ furniture, replacing it with sofas, cushions, art and the like, softening the space and making it feel more welcoming… We soon discovered that a more relaxed church environment helps people feel more relaxed. Given the backgrounds of many of our people, this was really important… This was one place at least where they could be real… Isn’t that what we all long for?”
“The change to comfortable chairs in the sanctuary helped give us a multipurpose use in the sanctuary and we were enabled to reach more people. And the comfortable chairs did not take away from the beauty of the sanctuary, but only added to it. Visitors who had previously been in our church were very positive about the change. They said that the church looked even better.”
"We took the pews out of the Miller Lane facility (former Beardshear UMC). We never regretted the decision. I'm all for chairs...they are much more comfortable and adaptable. If your attendance is going up, add a few chairs. If it's summer time and it's light, subtract a few. Use them in other spaces, use the sanctuary for a seminar with round tables, etc.
-Jon Ferguson, Pastor, Stillwater United Methodist Church
“Our church had limited space and the pews were restrictive. We also wanted a space where all would feel welcome, both the newcomers and the current members. We know that attracting and retaining new members meant that we needed a space that was comfortable. Today, many young people look for acceptance and comfort when they visit churches.”
-Valarie Willis, a lay leader from Gains UMC in Cincinnati
April-Salvage companies will be contacted to start planning for pew removal
May-Carpet vendor and mitigation specialists will be contacted to start planning for asbestos removal and carpet installation
June-Chairs will be ordered
Mid-October- Work begins. Pew removal will happen first, following by mitigation, new carpet installation, and arrival of chairs
Mid-November- Deadline for project completion. First services held in refurbished sanctuary.*
Various fundraisers will occur over the next several months through the fall.
Though this schedule is still flexible regarding exact dates and is therefore tentative, the deadline for the work is not. The grant we received to cover mitigation ($25,000) stipulates that the project must be completed this year.
We plan to comply with that request and be done in time to be back in the sanctuary for the holidays, giving us our deadline of mid-November.
Artist rendering of sanctuary facing altar
Looking out to congregation