An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Reading Pew

A small pew used by the officiant who led Morning or Evening Prayer. It was also known as the reading desk. Historically, it was also used for reading the litany, and the decalogue, the epistle, and the gospel at the eucharist. It was typically located in the nave so that the people could hear the officiant at Morning and Evening Prayer, as called for by Prayer Book rubrics after 1552. The reading pew was combined in various ways with the clerk's pew and the pulpit in different churches. One arrangement was the well-known “three-Decker” pulpit, in which the clerk's pew was on the lowest level, the reading pew was on the middle level, and the pulpit was on the highest level. The “three-Decker” pulpit came into use in England and America during the eighteenth century.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.