Dick Hunt's Blog

July 8, 2012

Pews; Are for Worship and Praise.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 9:16 pm

Pews; Are for Worship and Praise.
by Dick Hunt, Sunday, July 8th, 2012.
Pews are not always the same. Uncomfortable pews are sometimes “counter productive”, for one of two principal reasons.

The first is a matter of physical comfort.  They are best when they are reasonably ‘comfortable’ but not so comfortable that those who occupy them are inclined to  want to sleep.

The second is when the sermon is so boring that it fails to stir the people into being challenged – changed –  transformed – bothered.  The story has emerged about two little white haired Ladies who were talking on the way to their car after ‘Church’ when one said,  “I wish the preacher would bang on the Bible, at least once”.  If we can’t  get excited about the Gospel, the sermon has been lacking in what is essential.

That said, it takes two essentials to produce a good sermon. The first is that the Preacher needs to be deeply committed to the Lord of the Church, Jesus the Saviour. People are not normally in Church because they want to be entertained. That sort of titilation ought to be for the marketplace.

The second is that the people who occupy the pews need to be hungry to learn and expecting to be fed Spiritual food, from the Bible. A certain ‘preacher’ in a certain ‘church’ in Alberta years ago seemed to be locked in to talking about his extended family and the flock was wasting away. One lady said to her neighbor in a loud voice  during the sermon one Sunday, “he hasn’t said anything about his Aunt Myrtle”.  Everyone laughed and he wondered which joke they were laughing at.
When in 1964 I began my ministry in my second  Parish in the B.C interior, I quickly learned the pews were in bad shape, very uncomfortable  and in need of replacement. In my spare moments I built myself a workshop.  Then I bought some power tools, suitable lumber and over time I managed to furnish the entire church with new pews, at no cost to the Parish. The last time Ruth and I were in that Church about five years ago, they were still in good condition – and still reasonably comfortable, and well occupied.

I have tried to keep track of the ‘fortunes’ of the various Parishes I have been privileged to serve in.  My first one in Alberta has recently become re-invigorated and brought to life when the Congregation decided to make a deep commitment to Christ, even though they had not had a full time resident Priest for four years. They now have a full time resident and deeply committed ordained Priest and I am so happy for them. I was there seven  years.

My second Parish, where I built the pews has languished under the direction and leadership of liberal Bishops and a string of liberal ministers and now does not have a resident Minister.  I was there nine years. I am very unhappy for them.

My third Parish, on Vancouver Island is thriving under the leadership of a deeply committed Priest who preaches good, challenging sermons, is a good teacher, reaches out, with his people, to the wider community, and they make good use of the fairly new Building week by week. They undertake a wide ministry, keep the books in the black and even rack up a surplus by the year end. I was in that Parish for twelve  years, retiring in 1985  and I am very happy for them.

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