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?$1@'1=$'$#(*#$/AAA' I was excited by David’s letter in the March magazine regarding maximising the potential for flexibility of space in All Saints Church. I have long been an advocate of removing pews in churches after experiencing several years of worship in the Russian Orthodox Church in Ennismore Gardens in Kensington. There, people gather for the Liturgy and stand throughout their worship which continues often for two hours or more. Chairs are scattered about the periphery of the interior and are used by those who are unable to stand for any length of time. I found that children standing with their parents were less likely to feel hemmed in and felt able to move about more easily without their parents feeling they had to “rein” them in or feel over-conscious of others around them. With the emphasis on liturgy and mystery, of silences, candles, icons and incense etc, I found an air of holiness and sanctity exuding throughout the church and the worship, and the lack of pews was positively enhancing and freeing. I read David’s letter following a particularly well attended parish Eucharist when I needed to search for a pew space in both north and south aisles. I am not always comfortable asking people to “move along” bearing in mind that some will be expecting their children to join them later and others are saving a place for sides-people, etc. Once people are in their pew it can give the impression to others that it is now their “space” for the duration of the service, although I have no doubt this is certainly not what is intended by the incumbents of the pew who clearly got there earlier than me! I accept this discomfort is my “problem” and not theirs! The removal of pews would free up space for people to gather for worship. It would allow more “psychological space” around people and

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ASPM April 2010  

The monthly magazine of the Parish of All Saints in Wokingham

ASPM April 2010  

The monthly magazine of the Parish of All Saints in Wokingham

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