otherwise and have the further fault of dividing the assembly into two or more
parts. When galleries must be supplied, access to them should be from within
the principal space.
Ambience. The chapel room is not a shrine, implying a divine
presence associated with a material object. It is not a "House of God" a place
separated in character from the "real world" because of the divine presence.
It is rather to be seen as a "house of God's people". asserting that the
encounter with God is in the real world, and that God's presence is associated
with the presence of God's people rather than the presence of a thing.
The implications of this distinction run in two directions. First,
the chapel should be earthy, real and secular, associating itself with this
world and this age. Second, because the concept of people as mediators of the
divine presence gives them immeasurable worth, the place of assembly should be
gracious, hospitable, dignified, and noble.
Seating. In planning the seating for worship spaces, a module of 20
inches (500 mm), shoulder to shoulder, and 36 inches (900 mm), back to back,
is proper. Row lengths and aisle widths must follow requirements of NFPA 101.
The configuration of seating should avoid characteristic of theater, cinema,
or arena. These imply an audience/performer circumstance and are to be avoided
because they fail to enhance participatory worship and the sense of community.
Since flexibility is desired, seating may best use the time-honored
system of chairs. The chairs should be interlockable, stackable, comfortable,
durable, and handsome. Wooden chairs are preferable to metal; fabric
upholstery is preferable to plastic surfaces, partly because of its comfort
and aesthetic virtue, partly because it best contributes to stable room
acoustics. Book racks or boxes, under or between the chairs should be
provided. Hassocks or bolsters should be provided for kneeling.
In some instances, such as remodelling, the situation may not allow the
full flexibility of chair seating; benches may be used.
Heavy, box-type pews
should be avoided because they are inconsistent with movable liturgical
Provisions for Music. The spaces for choirs and musical instruments
must be close together and located with respect to acoustic advantage. A piano
is a sufficient instrument in many situations and is considered by many people
to be preferable to an electronic organ. Pipe organs may sometimes be possible
and need not be elaborate instruments, but electronic organs are a more usual
provision. In addition, space must provide for the possible presence of other
instrumentalists. Clearly the size and composition of musical groups