This Week at St. Stephen’s–February 19, 2012

TO KNEEL OR NOT TO KNEEL

To kneel or not to kneel, that is the question. At least, that’s one of them, as we prepare to put our renovation plans out to tender.

The issue is not whether we have kneelers for the new chairs that will replace the pews: that is a given. Nor does it affect the chapel, where things will stay more or less the same. The issue is whether or not to make provision for those who prefer to kneel to receive their communion at the main service.

For over a year and a half now, since moving the altar forward from the east wall, we have been receiving communion standing. Two lines form up the main aisle, come forward to receive communion, then return by the side aisles. It seems to have been going well. It is efficient and removes the awkwardness for those for whom kneeling, or climbing stairs, is a physical challenge. In all this time not one complaint has come forward about this practice.

But before we take anything for granted we need to ask: are there those who would wish us to make provision for kneeling? This would involve constructing a broad semi-circular platform—an apron stage—at the foot of the chancel steps, and placing removable altar rails around the edge of that platform. It is completely doable. The question is, is it necessary?

Think about this, discuss it, and let us know. Placing a comment on our web site would include others in the conversation.

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