While the completion of the renovation is months away, when we move back into the sanctuary we will have new pews to enhance the beauty of our worship space. The pews will be made by Ratigan-Schottler Manufacturing and while they are the nation’s leading supplier of solid oak pews, chairs, and chancel furniture, they are also Nebraska based. The company is located in Beatrice and they have proudly been in business for over 75 years. In fact, when we met with the company’s president he told us that his company had done business with St. Mark before because they had manufactured our original pews decades earlier. Since our pews were solidly built, the renovation committee gave serious consideration to having Ratigan-Schottler refinish them instead of buying new pews. However, with the labor involved in refinishing and the extensive resizing needed for all the pews to fit the fan layout, this option ended up being considerably more expensive than purchasing new pews.
Our renovated sanctuary will feature a combination of chairs and pews for the congregation seating. With chairs instead of pews in the first two rows, St. Mark will have the ability to easily rearrange the front area to accommodate music groups, dramas, large wedding parties, etc. Ratigan-Schottler will manufacture the oak chairs as well as the pews and they will closely coordinate in style. We are also currently working with Ratigan-Schottler on chancel furnishings. By using one company for the pews, chairs, and chancel furniture, similar stain colors, finishes, and level of workmanship will help provide a unifying look for these major elements in our sanctuary.
So what will our new pews be like? They will be constructed of solid oak and will have a rich medium dark stain color. The acoustical consultant recommended against having cushioned backs, but the pews will have built-in upholstered seat cushions, hymnal racks, and card/pencil racks. One of our architects worked with Mr. Ratigan to customize a pew end to coordinate with our sanctuary and it will be a cantilever style end similar to the one in the picture. Our committee had a chance to see and sit in sample pews and chairs from Ratigan-Schottler and we found them to be comfortable and well made. We look forward to having these beautiful additions in our renovated sanctuary!