You may have spent time in or around churches in the past, but how much do you know about their own history? Here are three things you might not know that have changed about churches over the years:
1. It Wasn’t Always a Public Thing
Today people often practice their faith completely openly in grand buildings called churches, but it wasn’t always that way. Until the fourth century, this public display of faith wasn’t a very common thing. It was exceedingly more common to practice one’s faith at home and in secret. What a stark contrast to today!
2. It Wasn’t Always a Formal Thing
Today, it is very common for people’s worship to seem very orderly. You arrive and spend a great deal of the time seated in some sort of antique church pews, but those church pews used to be a lot less common than you would think. Church furniture generally did not include pews at all, in fact; people were free to stand and mingle with other congregations in the room for almost one thousand years of early church history. Perhaps it was in deference to the cost of furnishings — church steeples prices have always been steep, even though the church as a whole could probably afford any sorts of church steeples prices — but even so, it is interesting to compare to today’s standard!
3. Church Pews Still Aren’t Exclusive
While church pews became much more popular over the years, they have not come to exclusively occupy the seating spot for churches. In some churches where kneeling prayer was prevalent originally, they have kept their kneelers happy with “kneelers” in front of the pews. It’s interesting to see how church interior design has evolved over the years. How does your church work?