A long bench, typically with a back, for congregational seating in church. Seats were not provided for the congregation in the early church, and this practice continues today in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The use of pews in the naves of churches has been dated from the thirteenth century. Some pews have been elaborately carved, and some have served to separate the occupants from others in the church. Chairs are now used for seating in some churches because chairs allow greater flexibility in the arrangement of liturgical space. Chairs also may present less of an obstacle than pews for the gathering and uniting of the community for worship.
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.