Church Interior Development Committee Discussions on the replacement of the pews with chairs
Seating Update (August 2016)
Ed Boyden and Mark Lynds presented an update to the church on the outcome of visits to other churches, the research questionaire and further discussions from their presentation to the last PPC meeting.
These are some of the topics discussed at this meeting.
Linking (types, ease of use etc)? All chairs can be linked together. Linking methods vary, some have metal brackets fitted along the base, others have plastic clips that can fit along the base or on front legs. If the chairs might be used in a curved line or circle the front leg links allow this but the base links do not.
Noise from chairs if wooden floor (when getting up/down)? This has been discussed during our research and no churches have reported a problem with it. If chairs are linked together (likely on a Sunday morning) they would not move/scrape the floor and so would not be able to make a noise.
Setting up and putting away (stacks, how many, where stored?) All chairs stack (one type up to 25, the rest up to 40 high). All have purpose-made trolleys that can be wheeled to a storage place (probably the library corner in the case of St Paul’s).
Who will move the chairs? This is a good question and one which will need to be discussed further. At some churches they have a caretaker or team of people who arrange the chairs as necessary after a booking or before the next service. At others the users/hirers of the church who move the chairs are required to put them back as they found them as part of the usage agreement. This is a topic which the PCC will consider in due course.
Durability of fabric vs wood? As mentioned in our handout, wood is easier to clean and will probably last longer but quickly shows scratches. Fabric seats/backs are easier and cheaper to replace, and are cleanable in most cases but can be replaced if necessary.
Book racks? Some churches have bought chairs with book racks but have found that these are seldom used and/or become messy. We have decided that we will not have book racks but bibles and hymn books will be available for those who wish to use them.
Tables for cafe church/extended coffee lounge? We have some tables that can be used for the present time. We felt it wiser to see what our needs and buy appropriate tables in due course rather than buying now something that might not suit us in the longer term.
Other types of flooring e.g ceramic or ‘machined wood/laminate)? The option of ‘machined wood’ was considered by the PCC. It is cheaper than real wood but the veneer is thin. This means it can only be sanded and re-coated a couple of times giving it a much shorter life than wood. We did not see any other churches with ceramic flooring, the Committee did not investigate it fully but wondered whether it would suit the style of our building at St Paul’s. We will however run the suggestion of a ceramic floor past the DAC for their views to make sure all options have been fully considered.