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Picton pitches pews.

CHURCH PEWS are a thing of the past at St. Andrew's, Picton, Ont. As part of a $70,000 sanctuary renovation that was completed this Easter, the congregation opted to sell off their pews--raising $3,000 in the process--and create a versatile, open-concept space.

We were looking at everything, including furniture and architecture, and asking, does this serve God right now Does it serve the community said Rev. Lynne Donovan. Everything in your church sends a message. And churches usually err on the side of clutter.

The congregation engaged an architect for the redesign, aiming to preserve the beauty of a building Donovan describes as a grey brick church that looks like it was built on the moors, while adapting it to modern tastes and making it more useful for the community. The former chancel area became a stage, chairs have replaced pews, glass doors have replaced wooden ones, and some traditional sanctuary features--such as hymn boards--have been removed.

The bulk of the funds for the renovation came from a bequest left to the church in April 2008; the congregation raised an additional $7,000 over and above the $3,000 provided through the pew sales.

The church is set to premiere a new one-act Christmas Eve opera by composer Victor Davies; it was chosen predominantly because of the versatility of its sanctuary. The church also hosts concerts, a glee club and an afterschool program for girls at risk.

--C. Purvis

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Title Annotation:Community News
Author:Purvis, C.
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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