Rita Ferrone over at Pray Tell Blog posed the question to several teachers of liturgy:

Teaching liturgy today is both a wonderful opportunity and a challenge. There are so many possibilities! Where does one begin?
Here was one response that caught my attention. Richard Giles, a teacher in the U.K., says:

I always begin with how the assembly is seated. This wasn’t always so, as parishes usually have an idea for a new piece of liturgical furniture – often a new altar- and at first I was happy to go along with that (I love doodling new designs!).

Gradually however I came to realise that unless we can help a congregation to become a liturgical assembly – i.e. to gather in a configuration which gets them out of audience mode and into full and active participation — all the new furniture in the world won’t do much good.

A congregation seated in straight rows looking ahead to a liturgical ’stage’ up front is a group of people waiting to be informed or entertained, not an active community of faith about to do together the work of the people of God. Let’s get them looking as though they mean business, and the rest will follow.
What do you think about the significance of seating arrangements in worship?

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