Choosing a church seating layout goes beyond cramming as many members as you can into the space. You also need to focus on something even more important, which is the health and safety of your members.
Understanding the Importance of Proper Seating Arrangements
Poorly planned seating arrangements and placement of your worship chairs can lead to health and safety risks for your members.
Arrangement misplacement can lead to:
- Higher exposure to germs
- Trip and fall hazards
- Potential fire safety concerns
You also don’t want your members to be too cramped and tightly packed together because that can cause a variety of aches and pains.
Instead, follow the recommendations below to create a space that your members will love and also offers them the best health and safety.
Maintaining Cleanliness and Hygiene in Church Chairs
You can have the best church seating layout but if you don’t focus on cleanliness and hygiene, it can put your members’ health at risk. The seating that you choose should:
- Allow for easy cleaning of all chairs and flooring
- Promote an easy way to disinfect the area
Churches should clean the sanctuary after each service to promote cleanliness. You’ll want to choose seating layouts that allow for ample space to walk and clean, but you also don’t want furniture or hidden areas near seating where guests can throw garbage.
On top of just hygiene, also spend this time inspecting all of the chairs for any potential defects. A weekly review of the chair frame and rapid repairs, when there are issues, will help you keep your members safe.
Boosting Health and Well-Being with Ergonomic Features
Your seating can hurt church members. Long hours of sitting can lead to aches and pains, especially back pain. If you want your congregation to attend every week, you need to think of their health.
Ergonomic seating is the best option.
Ergonomic chairs offer:
- Better sitting posture to promote back health – not hurt it
- Comfortable seating for hours without discomfort
- Support to the spine and neck
Lower back pain is the main concern when choosing church seating. If you choose chairs that are ergonomically designed, you’ll reduce the risk of members sitting with their backs misaligned and in poor posture.
Once you have chosen the right chairs, you’ll also need to consider creating a safe and accessible environment for your members.
Creating a Safe and Accessible Environment for All
Safety in churches is only possible with a layout that considers:
- Adequate spacing between aisles
- Ample spacing between chairs
If you want church members to stand up, shake hands and so on, you’ll want to keep a minimum of one foot of space in front of each row of seats. However, most congregations expand this space to two feet because it allows members to sit comfortably in their chairs.
Aisles should allow for four feet of space between them and the group sitting next to them.
Remember, some congregation members may be using mobility aids to get around the church, including wheelchairs, canes, walkers and even crutches. You’ll want to offer enough room for a wheelchair to fit in the space or, at the very least, create a disability-friendly space for these guests.
Many churches designate an area for these members at the back of the church to make worship as stress- and hassle-free as possible.
Choosing Sustainable and Non-Toxic Materials for Church Chairs
One important way to ensure safety and health in your church seating is to choose materials that are:
The biggest issue with conventional chairs is that they contain harmful finishes that release volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the air over time.
Look for chairs that contain either zero-VOC or low-VOC finishes to protect the indoor air quality of your sanctuary. Non-toxic options include (but are not limited to):
- Natural oils and waxes for finishes
- Water-based polyurethane
Fabric options that are non-toxic and low- or no-VOC include:
- Organic cotton
Chairs that have CertiPUR-US certified foam will be the best option if your focus is health and safety.
Safety in churches starts with a well-planned layout. Church leaders must spend time on their seating arrangements to allow for a safe place for members to worship. Work with leaders in the sanctuary and even with the local fire department to design the perfect place to worship.
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