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Comfort pews luring Americans to Protestant church services

Chairs with cup holders and space and padding are finding their way into some American churches where clergy say the seat can be as important as the message.

"For many first-timers, the only way they make contact with the church is on their behind," said Steve Korn, a teaching pastor at CedarCreek, a nondenominational Christian church. "If they're comfortable, like the service and the building, they'll probably come back."

"Who wants to sit in church if you're uncomfortable," said Laurie Wuerfel as she sat in the burgundy theatre-style seats at CedarCreek Church in Perrysburg outside Toledo. "I grew up in a Catholic church, and I hated sitting on those benches."

Theatre-style seats are popular in large, new Christian churches, Southern Baptist churches and synagogues, said Les Lundberg, worship sales manager for Irwin Seating Co.

Still, some denominations - such as the Roman Catholic Church - prefer traditional pews, said Lundberg and other seat makers.

In early churches through medieval times, worshippers stood throughout services, said Duncan Stroik, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame. Pews began appearing as sermons lengthened.


Garnett Church Furnishings
Irwin Seating Co | Worship seating

6 Nov 2002