Sitting in Church

At some point during my husband’s field work years, I got used to sitting by myself in church.  At first it was lonely feeling isolated in a sanctuary full of people, but then I got used to it.  I found that while people mean well by asking if you would like to sit with them, nothing can replace the comfort of having your family beside you in church.  Sitting by family is natural.  You don’t have to ask if you can join them, it’s just expected that you will.  Sitting by well-meaning congregation members isn’t instinctive and there are many variables that can affect possible seating arrangements.  What if they are gone on a Sunday and forget to tell you they won’t be there?  What if their extended family is visiting and there isn’t any room for you in the pew?  What if they choose to sit in a part of a church that you don’t like?

No, after sitting by myself on and off for the last three years, I have found it’s less awkward to simply find my own pew section and sit on my own.  Plus, I don’t have to worry about sharing the hymnal with others or keeping my things organized.  I can stretch out.  I can fidget.  It’s become my preferred way of attending services.

happy pew

However, some weeks this plan doesn’t work.  Some weeks church is full.  And some weeks, for no apparent reason, people decide that my pew is the perfect place to worship and sit right beside me.  Gone is the freedom to fidget.  Gone is the space to stretch.  And thus begins the awkward jerks and leans as we try to figure out who gets what hymnal.

I don’t like it.

sad pew

Tada, another example of me being antisocial! Usually I’m okay with people sitting beside me if I know them on a more personal level, but sitting next to strangers and distant acquaintances? *shudders*

How do you figure out where to sit in church when you are on your own?  Do you prefer to sit by others or keep to yourself?

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7 Comments on “Sitting in Church”

  1. Melissa says:

    1. I strategically place myself as close to an end as possible. Gretchen’s antics are becoming more and more heinous.
    2. I prefer to sit by myself as well. See #1 as to why I never do.
    3. If a miracle were to occur and I would have a chance to sit by myself, I believe that I would sit waaaay up front. On the whole, Lutherans avoid those rows at all costs. (Thus, I could take my pick of a hymnal.)

    • Katrina says:

      *Gasp* Good Lutherans only sit in the back! But maybe you’re onto something with sitting up front and not needing to share a hymnal. . . 🙂

  2. RPW says:

    Ditto on the front for what Melissa said. It helps with kids, too when that happens. You feel like everyone can see you, but the kids see more and behave better, and in actuality, people see less. I wasn’t up front because I’m pious (actually I had the 3rd row a few years ago, but newcomers took my row, and i went forward instead of back because those pews were taken). But I also used it as an opportunity to pray for those coming up to the rail. That helped me. When I do sit with others, I tell myself they are family. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ. It helps me bring any of the social anxiety levels down some.

    • Katrina says:

      Hmmm. . . I don’t think I’m ready to make the switch to the front–I really don’t like the feeling of a hundred people sitting behind me! But I have heard other families say the same thing about having their kids up front where they can see. I also try to remind myself that despite my desire for a huge personal bubble, it’s a good thing when church is full and someone has to sit next to me.

  3. dakotapam says:

    Front row. It helps with the kiddos, and unless there is a baptism, nobody, I mean nobody wants that seat! (we have chairs, not pews, and there is no barrier in front of the row separating from the chancel!)

    • Katrina says:

      As of right now kids aren’t the issue, but I will definitely keep the front in mind when the stork starts making his deliveries here. 🙂

  4. […] the liturgy, the pastor’s wife offered to sit with me during the service (who, I might add, sat in the back.  🙂 ).  She explained to me before the service started that she would go to the rail with her […]


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