Parish ‘shocked’ as church seats are sold

by Gazette Reporter
0 comment

Members of St Sylvester’s Parish in Malahide have said they are “shocked” to learn that seats belonging to a local church have been sold.
The church pews were sold earlier this year, in an effort to raise money for the redevelopment project at St Sylvester’s Church in Malahide. For members of the local parish however, the seats had sentimental value and locals have this week voiced their disappointment at the seats being “discarded”.
“Coming from one of the oldest and original families in Malahide, we are simply shocked to learn that the church seats have been discarded. It is incomprehensible how this could have come about,” one member of the local community explained.
“We love our church. The seats are part and parcel of the original building. They are beautifully carved and imbued with the prayers of generations. They are essential to the authentic ambience of the church,” she said.
According to the parishioner, the decision to sell the pews was one that belonged to the whole community.
“It is appalling that a small group of people could make such a momentous decision. Such a decision belongs to the people,” she said.
The project currently underway at St Sylvester’s Church includes a programme of refurbishment of the church itself, in addition to the construction of a new parish pastoral centre, a new prayer chapel and a new mortuary chapel. The project is being overseen by the Parish Building Committee – a committee of parishioners who have worked since 2004 to bring the project to fruition.
Earlier in the year, advertisements selling the pews described the opportunity to purchase the unusual furniture as “unique”, with prices ranging between €50 and €170.
Speaking to the Malahide Gazette, chairman of the Parish Building Committee John Lynch said the refurbishment of the church pews was a highly desirable aspect of the overall refurbishment, but would have been a “bad expenditure of parishioners’ money”.
“The pews were badly marked and gouged from years of wear and tear. The gable ends of most of the pews were badly split. In May 2010, in order to help in their consideration of the right course of action, the committee had one of the pews refurbished by a company experienced in the restoration and manufacture of church furniture,” he said.
The refurbishment of the pew consisted of disassembling the pew, stripping it down to bare wood, sanding it to remove marks and indents, reassembling it and finishing it in a colour that was somewhat lighter than the original.
“When in late 2012 the committee came to make its ultimate decision on refurbishment of the pews, it was obvious that the pew refurbished in 2010 was very badly marked and had stood up very poorly to wear and tear since its refurbishment,” Lynch explained.
“The reason for this is that the pews are made of a soft poor quality pine. The committee concluded that it would be a bad expenditure of parishioners’ money to repeat this on all the pews. For a modest extra amount of money it was decided instead to have exact replicas of the pews made in ash – a harder wood that would stand up better to wear and tear.
“The new pews will be ready for the reopening of the church prior to Easter,” he concluded.

Related Articles