St Helens Church, High Street, Wheathampstead, St Albans, AL4 8AA. Worship Times: 10am every Sunday

Virtual Guide: The Pews and the People of God

July 2023: This page contains placeholder text for a proof of concept trial. We intend to refine this information at a later date.

In the New Testament, most references to the ‘church’ uses the greek word ekklēsia which means a gathering of people. Our understanding is that the Church is not just the building, but also the people of God, gathered together in community, in learning, and in witness to God’s gracious providence.

See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them. Revelation 21.3

The Pews, or long seats, allow for many to sit and listen, and to kneel and pray. 

Sitting, the congregation listens to anthems and sermons, and in particular to the readings of the Bible. These are taken from the Old Testament of Jewish history, wisdom, poetry and prophesy and from the New Testament of the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the letters of St. Paul and the other Apostles, and the Book of Revelation.

Kneeling or sitting, the church offers up thanksgiving for God’s bountiful gifts, which in turn brings the desire to confess the sins of thought, word and deed – through negligence, weakness and deliberate fault. Prayers are offered for the Church and for the World, holding before God, people and leaders afar, in our country, and in the local community.

Remembered are those who suffer in body, mind and spirit. Also those who have died, and their loved ones. And the Intercessions end asking God to accept our prayers for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Being fixed to the floor the Pews provide a firm and comfortable support for those who kneel, and being continuous they can accommodate extra numbers when the church is crowded on the great occasions such as the candlelit Carol Service. Stackable chairs provide more flexible seating, needed at busy services and in our community café ‘Coffee in the Chancel.’

The wooden platforms which carry the pews were renewed in 1991 when the church was also generally redecorated, and at that time the ground underneath was revealed and the foundations of walls in quite different places from now were exposed.

Former Pews for the choir in the Chancel were made of oak from the roof of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and were put here during the restoration of the church by Canon Owen Davys in 1865. Canon Davys was rector of St. Helen’s for some 55 years, from 1859 to the outbreak of the first world war. The design was taken from an old poppy-head pew that was found in the church at the time of the restoration. Eventually they were taken out and burnt when found to be full of woodworm.

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.   1 Thessalonians 5.17