Westbank United Church abandoning not-so-ancient tradition | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Westbank United Church abandoning not-so-ancient tradition

A couple dozen of these oak pews are being sold off by Westbank United Church.
Image Credit: Submitted/Westbank United Church
September 28, 2019 - 8:00 AM

KELOWNA - It may be a sign of the times that the Westbank United Church is selling off its traditional pews in favour of chairs.

It became more practical to have movable chairs as opposed to “damn heavy” pews, Gary Groff, a volunteer at the church told iNFOnews.ca.

“We had a flood in our church so parts of our church, which we used to use for people to rent,  became unavailable,” he told iNFOnews.ca. “We had to get the pews out so they could use the sanctuary because chairs, you can move. The pews you cannot. They’re 12 feet long, they’re made of oak and they’re very, very heavy.”

There are about 20 pews that are 12 feet long and another four that are 10 feet. It takes two “strong young men” to carry them. They’re also cushioned, which adds to the weight.

They were put into storage after the flood at a facility that offered free rent for the first six months.

The church is now paying to store them and has decided to never put them back into the sanctuary.

Groff estimates they’re at least 15 to 20 years old and expects they will most likely be bought by woodworkers and taken apart for the oak.

While some churches still have pews, Groff said, others have converted to chairs for the same reason as Westbank United.

In the old days – back in the 1500s - church-going was a much more active event with the priest giving a very brief homely, according to Aletia, a Christian web site.

It wasn’t until the Protestant Reformation changed the focus to longer sermons that wealthier parishioners started buying – and guarding – their own pews.

So, what may appear to be an ancient tradition is relatively new and has now evolved into its latest and more practical phase.

Anyone interested in the pews can call 250-768-4426. They’re on offer for $100 each, or best offer.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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